Happy bloody new year. It’s freezing, the Crimbo lights are down, and what’s more, I think I’m having a midlife crisis. Or is it just the January blues? Why does January make us question what we’re planning on doing for the next day, week or year? New diet, new career, new resolutions. New pressure more like! Everyone just calm down! It’s just another day, new year, same shit. Ok, ok, I’m not that down in the dumps, but the new year does always bring with it a certain amount of self analysis, a time to reflect on what we did last year, and to think about how we might want to improve on things this year. (Like writing more than 3 posts for my blog in one flaming year!). Things we never got round to last year, are hopefully going to be achieved this year.
I was talking to a good friend this week about how much I’d love to extend the house (exciting stuff, I know, bear with..), as every Tom, Dick and Harry was having an extended this, or an open-plan that, and our 3 bed semi had suddenly started to feel like we’d outgrown it. But without the financial means, there’s about as much chance of me getting an extended kitchen as there is Donald Trump becoming president….oh wait….The point being, it ain’t happening. Following this realisation comes the overwhelming feeling of disappointment. I might even be tempted to roll around on the floor, bang my fists and shout “not fair, want one!”. When did I suddenly become so entitled? Probably when I left university in 2001, with my degree and an overwhelming sense that I was now owed a living and a certain high flying salary to boot.
16 years on, and I’ve come to realise that I’m part of a generation that used to think “one day I’ll be rich, one day I’ll have the dream job, and the dream house”. The reality is that most people are just trying to make their way through life comfortably, i.e without mountains of debt. Any savings you manage to amount are a Brucey bonus.
There have been numerous books written about this so called “destination-happy” generation, that we’ll feel content once we get on holiday, once we get that 64″plasma screen TV, once we get that white, big, 4×4 type car that everyone seems to be driving. We are the generation who want it now, and we have the credit to get it. When I was younger I remember we didn’t have carpet on the stairs for a number of years, and I have the splinter scars on my bum to prove it! But never did my parents feel under pressure to buy carpet or embarrassed about the fact their house lacked carpet, because they couldn’t afford it, and that was that. It wasn’t that that they didn’t have aspirations, or indeed that consumerism didn’t exist, but the option to borrow wasn’t there, so you waited. And waited. I’m sure my parents didn’t feel they had failed in any way, and they always seemed happy with their lot.
For some reason our generation seems to be more guilty than ever for wanting to “keep up with the joneses”. We constantly compare ourselves to our peers, and measure ourselves against their success, rather than congratulating ourselves for achieving what really matters in life. Things like having a roof over our heads, a loving partner, and healthy, happy children. Instead of worrying about what car I’m driving this year, I’m going to focus on being the best mum I can be to my children, something that money can definitely not buy, and a resolution worth sticking to.