Thursday, 13 August 2009

Quarter-life Crisis! :-(

My name's Julie and I'm suffering from a quarter-life crisis. I've suspected it for a while, and I suppose the best thing to do is just get it down in writing so I can begin to work through it.

My first problem is the lack of a meaningful relationship in my life over the past few years. At the start of my 20s, I was engaged, living with my fiance in our own house and I thought my future was all mapped out. Now in my mid 20s, I'm a long term singleton and it feels like my dreams of marriage and babies by the time I'm 30 are getting further and further away. It also doesn't help that I feel less mature now than I did when I was in my late teens/early 20s! It's not that I don't love having the freedom to do what I want, whenever I want and the knowledge that I only have to look out for Number One, because this is a part of singledom I have really come to appreciate...but I just feel like I'm drifting somehow and that my life, although fun, and even fulfilling, at times, doesn't really have much meaning at the moment. I look at people I know (and bloggers!) who are settled and/or have children and I yearn to be in their shoes. I worry that my years on my own have made me too selfish and too picky and that there will never be anyone who meets up to the image of the man I have in my mind. Although I dislike being single, I have been this way for so long that it has become strangely comforting and I think that the man who makes me want to let go of my security blanket will have to be pretty special.

Secondly, and in a related-ish vein to the previous paragraph, is the fact that I am still living at home with my parents and siblings. I love my family dearly, although I often find myself snapping at them (especially my Mum) and being resentful when they ask me to do even minor things. I don't know if this is because I feel that I'm an adult and I should be able to live my own life without interference, but it's not right. I used to have a fantastic relationship with my Mum, and I don't want it to be ruined by my petty moaning. I know I should be grateful for the million and one things my Mum and Dad do for me...washing, ironing, cooking my meals, acting as my taxi service etc , etc, especially as I disliked housework when I lived in my own place, but I can honestly say that I normally forget how lucky I am. Due to my job situation (which will be explained in the next paragraph), I am unable to even consider moving out of home yet and this also frustrates me. I think that even if I had the slightest possibility of being able to move out in the next few years, I would feel like my life was moving in the right direction.

Third, and finally, is my job situation. Since about the age of 14, all I ever wanted to be was a primary school teacher. To be on the safe side however, I did a non teaching degree and studied for a BA in Language, Literacy and Communication, which I then followed up with post grad primary teacher training. The year I spent doing my teacher training was honestly one of the hardest, but most fulfilling, years of my life and I went through it really looking forward to the next stage in my career. Then the problems started. Despite the fact that the country is apparently crying out for teachers, it isn't crying out for female primary teachers in the North West! I qualified over 2 years ago and still haven't had a job that has lasted longer than a term and a half. My time has been spent doing a mix of day-to-day and pre-booked supply (substitute) teaching and a maternity cover (the term and a half) where I was employed by the local authority. There are some things I love about supply...the fact I don't have to stay behind for parents' evenings or staff meetings, the opportunity to go to new schools, meet new people and try new things, no evenings or weekends spent planning and preparing resources, having the freedom to say no to work if I feel ill, don't like the school/age group or simply just can't be bothered! But this isn't why I went into teaching. I entered the profession so I could become an excellent teacher, so I could build a relationship with a group of children and hopefully be able to make a difference to them, maybe even give them something that would stay with them for the rest of their lives. Supply teaching allows me none of this, and in addition, I never know how much work I am going to get over a given period of time, meaning it would be impossible for me to get a mortgage as I would be unable to say how much money I would have left at the end of it. I often walk away from classrooms feeling like I am a bad teacher and my continued job search only serves to reinforce this suspicion, leaving me demotivated and demoralised. Since I qualified, there have been two further classes of NQTs entering the job market, so there is even more competition for the few jobs that are out there. At the moment, I am not in a position to relocate to an area where there are more vacancies, so I guess it's almost a vicious circle. Phew...and breathe!

Anyway, enough of the ranting! I suppose people reading this may see me as a spoilt and self indulgent 20something with no real problems and they may well be right. But they're real enough to me, even though they are probably mere inconveniences in the grand scheme of things, and so I need to do something about them. So what am I doing? Well, firstly, I've written this down. It's nice to know I can vent in (relative) anonymity and it has helped to clear my head, even if I am feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment. Secondly, I am making changes in my life, even if they are quite minor. I have joined a dating website. I'm not sure if I'm in the mood for dating right now, but it's nice to know the possibility is there. I'm taking driving lessons, and hope to pass my test by the end of the year. Not only will this give me some of the independence I crave,but it will also mean I can cast my net a little wider when job hunting as I'll be able to get to so many more places without having to rely on public transport. I'm taking opportunities to go on free professional development courses. These will obviously be personally beneficial to me, but also will hopefully also enhance my CV/application forms and give them a bit of an edge. Finally, I think I should start making a list of things I'm thankful for...which will make these problems seem less important. I'll kick off with 5 for now:
  1. My fantastic family and friends - love you all!
  2. My good health (even if I do have a cold at the moment)
  3. My fabulous new optimism on Monday was well founded!
  4. My intelligence...I'm not being bigheaded but my brain has opened quite a few doors for me.
  5. Blogging...I'm really enjoying writing, and am especially happy today as I've been approved as a member of 20something bloggers!

And that's finally it for now...definitely the longest post I've ever written, and probably the most heartfelt too!


  1. Don't worry too much :) It sounds like you are very aware of what you what, you just have to let it happen naturally.

  2. The feeling that you are "drifting" in life is not a nice one. I sympathize; but the universe has a strange way of making you learn certain life lessons before granting you access to the next level.

    Chin up, young grasshopper.