UNSETTLED – adjective: 1. Lacking order or stability; 2. Not yet resolved; 3. Agitated, confused, perturbed, unnerved.

23 years old. How the fuck did that happen?

I spent the latter part of my teen years desperate to be older than I truly was. At 16, when I was told I looked 18 I was extremely chuffed. I hated being seen as young and to be told I looked and acted beyond my years (even a mere two) was bliss. Now however, I would LOVE to revert back to being 16 again.

I also thought I was sorted. I had it in my heart I wanted to be a Journalist from the tender age of nine, so I had no qualms on finishing school and going to Uni. Year off to work, a further three to get my degree, travel a bit then be a high flying print and TV Journalist, earning oodles of cash and going on fantastically exotic annual holidays. I thought I skipped the don’t-know-what-I’m-doing-with-my-life breakdown that comes at the conclusion of college – I knew, didn’t I? It was all set. Easy.

How wrong was I?

Here I am, approaching my mid-20s (eek!) with no bloody clue what I’m doing with myself. I often get people saying to me, “Your life looks so incredible! I love seeing your photos. You’re doing it right, travelling and being so chilled and spontaneous.” I always agree, giving a good hearty chortle and making out I’m this cool, carefree character that books flights to colourful locations willy-nilly. But Facebook is like a filter, only showing a highlight reel and hiding the mundanity and insecurities of real life. In truth? You know how there’s that saying, “So laid back she’s horizontal”? Mate, I’m as rigidly vertical as the most deeply rooted (and not that way) concrete pole.

As the days tick by to my ever-approaching 24th celebrations, I find myself waking up in cold sweats in the night. Ok, not actual a cold sweat, it just sound good (what does it even mean?), but in a sheer fluster and panic. My peers are getting married, having kids, climbing the career ladder, and I just can’t decide which road I want to take. I feel like everyone else knows what they want and where they’re going, and I have no clue whatsoever.

But the self-pity and doubt is going to stop. I don’t want to be this worrying, panicky, anxiety-ridden basket case, squandering away my minutes, hours and days stressing about the unknown. From this day forth, (Ok, maybe from tomorrow morning but I MEAN IT), I am going to conduct my day-to-day doings by the thought and action provoking mantra: If I died right now, would I be happy – not just content or satisfied, happy – with where I am and how I am? Right now, the answer is an overwhelming response of NO – and it’s time to change this in every way. The daily seemingly mundane decisions, the way I handle myself in a vast array of situations, my reactions to events and circumstances. I may not know where I’m going in a figurative sense, but I am going to make sure I am a good, honest, genuine and happy person on my way there.

So in this light, the trip to India and Nepal has been booked. A month in an ashram doing a Yoga Teacher’s Training Course and hopefully to “find myself”, a week or so traipsing around Northern India, then onto Nepal to try my luck at Everest Base Camp. All on my own. Here comes Pop!

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