Vote Left, Swipe Right – Life in the 18-24 age bracket

Wow, the young people have had a tough time lately. We’ve just come out of a big fuck-off election that seemed to rest solely on our shoulders. It was down to us to fix the world. The Young People changed the future of British government. Just us. BOOM.

Us 18-24 year olds are facing a future of no money, no savings, no mortgages, no jobs, no guaranteed job market, with £50,000 worth of student debt and a never-recovered housing market – it is hard being one of these avocado-scoffing millennials.

If that wasn’t quite enough, the 18-24 year old box tick puts us at the tipping point of life as it is.

I’m 23. I’m in a position where half of my friends are buying houses and getting married, and the other half are still at uni or travelling the world with no job, no money and no CV. Some 23 year olds are out getting pissed every night, whether it be the old ‘Spoons or they’ve branched into cocktail bars on the Southbank, some 23 year olds are parents, some 23 year olds are working £40,000 jobs, some 23 year olds are unemployed. As you get towards the end of the Young Person bracket, some have their life totally in order, while others haven’t even looked at the menu.

On top of all that, what are you supposed to do about dating?

Again, some of my friends are engaged with the love of their life. Other friends are making the most of the free days with endless one-night-stands and drunken fun at aforementioned cocktail bars.

Personally, I’ve always dated older men. Since being 19, I’ve only dated guys between 29 and 33. (Okay maybe let’s visit Daddy Issues in another blog). I like my men like I like Theresa May – Worthless. (No that’s a joke.) Strong and stable, I mean.

I like a man who can encourage my life, educate me in the world a bit, teach me things, help with my career, everything. Someone inspiring who I look up to. Someone who can help me through life. Someone who has dealt with the shitty young person existence and is there to show me that it’ll all be alright coming out the other end. Don’t get me wrong – I’m standing by my Strong Independent Black Woman Who Don’t Need No Man status. I can do all those things myself. But if I’m going to give up singledom for a man, it might as well be someone who can inspire me to be an even better version of myself.

Similarly, I’m not looking for an engagement, but I’m not looking for a fling either. I’m not planning on kids just yet, but if Mr Right came along, it wouldn’t be off the table. I’m not dead cert on any plans or locations or timescales. I’m really just down to a See How It Goes way of living. Think of all the possibilities and all the excitement that could come with that.

“I like my men like I like Theresa May – Worthless”

And yet these 30 year old men obviously don’t see it like this. When they’re swiping on women 10 years younger than them, it’s a bit of a fantasy. A 30 year old bloke dating a 22 year old girl, that’s what everyone wants, right? So they can show off to their mates their new hot young girlfriend with their nose ring and fun social media and cool hip slang.

It’s backed up with the whole “Women my age only want to settle down and only care about babies.” The fact that “dating you keeps me young” and “ooh I feel a bit like your Sugar Daddy” (I fucking wish.) A joke about pert breasts blah blah blah. I mean I find it all incredibly flattering, naturally, which is why I get sucked in so easily.

But then give it a month, and suddenly it becomes, “You’re too young”, “We’re at different stages in life”, “I’m looking for more that what you’re after.” I’ve even had the “Why do you want to date an old guy like me, I have baggage, go find yourself someone young and free!”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I can see their point. I’ve dated divorced men, I’ve dated men about to buy a house and expecting a housewife to move in, I’ve dated those who miraculously realise 6 weeks into dating me that marriage and babies is all they want in life, and yet there’s never any possibility of it being with me.

“We live in an unequal society” – Jeremy Corbyn (bae)

It’s always women that are chastised for chasing the “Where is this going” and always wanting to jump to the next stage. I broke up with someone because he was adamant he didn’t want kids, and I didn’t want to create that future knowing that I’d never be happy with what he could offer. So it’s good that men are realising that they’re at that stage in life and starting to look for something more.

It just sucks that I’m the person that helps them decide they want these beautiful things, and yet not the person they want these beautiful things with. I am the one before The One.

It’s ended the same way with four of my more mature exes. They decide on their future and disregarded me from it simply because of my age. Which, technically, I can understand. But I don’t know where I’m headed in life, so how can you second guess that for me?

There’s so much uncertainty in life. I’m struggling with it just as much as everyone else. So why not embrace that all together. Why not face the future with someone else as clueless as you. Don’t disregard me just because I’m younger. Because these possibilities and decisions and future desires are just as relevant to me, too. I know 30 year olds who still live at home with their parents, 30 year olds with no mortgages, 30 year olds with no long-term relationships, just as much as I do divorced men with their third home. Everyone’s just as all over the place as everyone else.

Age shouldn’t be the deciding factor. I know that’s a cliche, but nowadays, there are so little rules as to how life should be, you can make it whatever you bloody want, however old you are.

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