There’s this girl. She went through school having no idea what she wanted to be. No clue. She should’ve probably gone to the meeting with the Careers advisor because as everybody knows, that’s where you choose your career. At 16/17, she was expected to have it all figured out. She had to pick her strengths and apply them to a career. Simple enough, right? But not for this girl. Her strengths lay in sociology and she was bullied in her younger years, so putting two and two together - she should probably be a police officer, right? But she still wasn’t quite sure. Sticking to the norms, going to university was seen as a given, otherwise, she wouldn’t be deemed as successful. So the summer post sixth form, with her bags and teary parents in tow, she left for freshers. Little did she know she’d be sharing a house with 3 Chinese students that barely spoke English as their second language and she’d only be staying at university for the freshers.
Freshers over and bag repacked (excluding the cutlery she couldn’t be bothered to wash) back over the bridge she went to the land of freshly baked welsh cakes. She spent the entire car journey explaining to her dad “It’s not the course, I loved the course, it’s just Bristol - I really don’t like it’. This wasn’t the tune she was singing at 3am staggering up Gloucester Road covered in glow paint just nights earlier. There was something she found comforting about being back under her parents’ roof with a full fridge and the heating on. Unemployment never felt so good.
There had been boys on the scene previously, but she was never really fussed. Let’s say she didn’t have the romantic life of a freshers student - a drunken kiss was as about as wild as her freshers’ life got. A non-serious ex-boyfriend from school who was a few years older than she was actually sat in her first lecture, weird. She had a 5-year boyfriend that floated round in her teens, you know the type that everyone has, the one who you think you’ll spend the rest of your life with and then you don’t and you realise how naive you were. What she didn’t expect was to be caught off guard.
“You’ve got to get a job, you’ve got two weeks or I’m dropping you back to Uni” She wondered when her dad got so serious. It was probably when she used the last of the coffee and the milk. And maybe the orange juice. A few days later, after she’d peppered her botched CV around the entirety of TotalJobs, she had an interview. Obviously, her parents dropped her to the interview and she’d told them to ensure they stayed close by because she’d never had an interview before and was sure that she’d be leaving promptly, possibly halfway through the interview as a sweaty mess having not been able to answer any questions. She’d put some effort into this interview. A nice blow dry, a bodycon dress, bit of eyeliner - she looked the part if she was applying to be a shot girl. It was from here, she was caught off guard.
A guy, 5ft 9 (and a bit), casually dressed and a tad too smiley came to get her from reception and conduct the interview with one of his colleagues. She survived the interview and a few days later was offered the job, thankfully. She couldn’t face going back to Bristol and be forced to wash the cutlery she’d left. Time went on and she settled into her new job fine but every so often 5ft 9 (and a bit) smiley man would appear in the office and she’d share a smile as appreciation for giving her a chance after such a flimsy interview.
Fast forward a few months and it was Christmas party time. She’d never experienced a works Christmas party. Oh, the excitement. Obviously, it went to her head and being 3 prosecco bottles deep meant that across the dance floor she saw 5ft 9 (and a bit) smiley guy had come to life and for once he wasn’t walking around carrying his laptop in his hand. Since the interview, he’d bought her the odd coffee in work but she didn’t know that it was from here, she caught herself off guard.
They danced, they did some shots, they danced some more, he helped her find her shoes and they kissed. What a millennial fairytale. They courted. They ate out a lot. They spent months worth of wages on elaborate holidays and they became best friends. She never stopped to realise how quickly everything had moved. How after 3 months they’d been on a holiday to the Maldives and after 10 months, she’d moved in with him. She put it down to time flies when you’re having fun.
The fun continued, their young age meant they didn’t get hangovers and their hardest decision of the day was where to go for brunch. The first big commitment came soon after she got a set of keys to the apartment. Their furry child. A sh*t advert on a well-known puppy website for “Cavapoo puppies, Birmingham, £600, call now”. Just 8 weeks later, they were in the midst of puppy pads and training classes.
First comes a puppy, then comes a house, then comes a baby in a golden carriage. Who doesn’t love a remix except for their first non-furry born did not come in a golden carriage, he was by caesarian section. Their lives have changed forever. They’re no longer working together (she’s sure the relationship wouldn’t have lasted if they were), she’s convinced him to try all manner of seafood and their living room is covered in baby toys.
She got caught off guard. A 20-minute interview, a coffee from the work canteen, a drunken dance (she wouldn’t call it dancing) to Bruno Mars at a Christmas party resulted in her having a plan. She now has more of a purpose, she has her own dreams and dreams for her family too but she remembers back to her teenage days and she laughs. She had absolutely no clue what she was doing and where she was going. She literally followed the crowd. Oh, you’re going to sit on the top of a big hill and drink white lightning? Cool, see you there. Oh, you’re skipping school to go to the local post office to buy a chicken tikka pasty? Off she skipped. She was never really a rebel and she has absolutely no regrets about skipping school for a pasty but what has become apparent is how much of a follower she was in her younger years and how she was obsessed with wanting to fit in. But had she not dropped out of uni and for her broken what was at the time a social norm, her life would be completely different. So, she learnt a lesson and reflected on it often. Don’t go with the crowd, take a chance and step out of your comfort zone because nothing ever grows there.