Time is on my side

Sophie explores many of the issues young people face - from finding work to obsessing about social media - and the importance of reclaiming time as your own

True Stories

My name is Sophie. I’m 23 years old and live in Lytham St Annes, in Lancashire. I currently work as a part time sales assistant in a department store and as a freelance journalist.

‘This generation has it too easy’

This is a phrase that many millennials will have heard before. People roll their eyes when young adults discuss their problems, and call us ‘fragile’ snowflakes. They think we have no idea about any real struggle, but recent studies have shown that levels of happiness and confidence in young people are the lowest they have been since 2009.

Perhaps this is because a third of millennials will never own a home. Many of us take degrees which are simply seen as a necessity, and know that when we graduate we will be chained to a debt our parents never had, and struggle to find jobs. As a journalist, with a 2.1 degree and Masters qualification, I was told ‘there are no jobs in journalism’. But to me, if you don’t pursue your passions, life seems wasted.

My time sometimes feels erratic

I feel lucky that my time is mostly my own. I spend it browsing for jobs, enhancing my CV, at home walking my dogs or writing for my blog. However, if I break down my life further, I can see how much is dictated by erratic slots of time. This is the only way to balance what I want to achieve.

It was tough searching for Christmas jobs after my master’s degree. I had given four years of my life to university to try and make my dreams come true, and read so many rejection letters. The local shop wouldn’t even employ me. Eventually I got a zero hours contract, but this meant my ability to earn was dictated by random shift patterns, which played havoc with my relationship. I met my partner on Tinder four years ago, and we normally see each other twice a month at weekends. This became difficult after my working hours started to fall on these days.

It can be difficult to manage your time in the way that you want

With dating apps and social media, it might seem like we have a lot of freedom and choice, with dates on tap and sex on request. But the process of continuing things from there can be difficult due to the pressures of education, jobs, job seeking, family, friendships…it can be tiring and disappointing. When you have to travel further afield for employment or cheaper rent, it’s more difficult to manage your time in the way you want. I wish I had more time to reconnect with my partner, but it takes hours of train travel for us to spend time together. Social media does mean we can connect instantly by text or video chat, but sometimes the cold blue light of a screen just reminds me how many miles there are between us.

Social media is a lie

We are a generation who must document every moment to let others know how happy our lives are, instead of embracing every precious minute. No sunset goes un-photographed – there is no night out with the girls left untagged. Every day we are bombarded with news and images of the next big thing – a new vlogger, singer or actor who has achieved so much, and always at an earlier stage of life than you. We ask ourselves how can we possibly compete, when we should be asking why we should have to? We are a generation obsessed and depressed, always pining for the greener grass, when those same fields have been filtered too.

Going forward, I want to value my time more. I will enjoy the flowers, breathe in the fresh air and cherish moments with loved ones, without wasting minutes to make sure the social media monster is fed. Not everything must be achieved so young – for now, time is on my side.

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Updated on 30-Apr-2018