Are we actually losing our ‘best years? by Sarah Garner

The following post, I am delighted to say, has been written by the exceptionally talented Sarah Garner. One of the best people I’ve met during my time at Durham University!! Like myself Sarah is currently a final year student at Durham University studying for a degree in English Literature and Education Studies. After reading this post, evaluating the last year of life during a pandemic, you will see why Sarah is such a positive influence in my life. Sarah constantly finds the good, the success and the positive in any negative that exists.

If you enjoy this post be sure to leave a comment below saying so that we can convince Sarah to start her own blog !!

Our twenties are widely regarded as our best years. We have little or no responsibilities or commitments, we’re young and we’ve got our whole lives ahead of us. The twenties are also thought of as the decade where we meet our soulmate, get married, have children, buy our first house and settle into a career that will see us through the next fifty years. Now, if you are not in your twenties, this might sound like the ideal situation- to quote Wiz Khalifa, we are young, wild, and free.

However, this is an incredibly damaging mindset to have regarding this period of our lives; it puts unnecessary pressure on our twenties to be this perfect time. This probably explains why, when the pandemic hit and we were all confined to our homes with our laptops for company, our generation panicked and there was a general discourse going round about how we are ‘losing our best years’. But, I disagree, and here’s why.

This time last year (before the pandemic took its full effect), I was working 40+ hours at my job in a pub, studying for my degree at Durham University, playing football twice a week with a team and working on my role at Cygnet. Essentially, I was juggling too many balls, and something was going to drop.

When the pandemic hit, I suddenly found myself with no job and no hobbies which, as you can imagine, was incredibly confusing and stressful at the time, but slowly I learnt to make the most of this time that I had been given, and use it to have a long-overdue rest, reset and evaluate.

Because I was so busy with everyday life, I was yet to think about what I was going to do after university- I had no idea what job I wanted, or what I wanted out of my life. Following my little re-evaluate, I’ve got a stable plan for the next two years which includes working overseas, studying for a postgraduate qualification and getting my own flat (hopefully)! Now if it wasn’t for the pandemic, I don’t think this level of reflection would have been possible, I was far too busy to think about the upcoming week, never mind the next couple of years.

You may notice that even though i’ll be 22 once i’ve completed these goals, there is no mention of marriage, children or long-term careers. Now this isn’t because these things aren’t on my radar, having children is my ultimate life goal, but the pandemic has helped me realise that there is no strict timeline to life, we never know what is going to happen and I might as well make the most of this time whilst i’ve got it- the rest will come with time.

So, although it may feel like we’ve just lost eighteen months of the ‘best times of our lives’, I think it’s simply given us a well-needed chance for evaluation. I no longer feel I’m blindly stumbling my way through my twenties, I’ve got a stable plan to keep me on track to achieve my goals and this would. not have happened if we hadn’t been locked inside for the past year.

So yes, it might be disappointing that we’re not in the pub every other night and clubbing all weekend, but you’ve got to ask the question- was that really the best use of your twenties?

This means that despite all the fuss, I don’t think we’ve lost out on our twenties, it’s just taken a different path- not necessarily a bad thing if you grab it with both hands and make the most of what you’ve been given.

Doesn’t sound like a waste of time to me.

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