Where, at 16-years-old, do I see myself in 10 years?
“So, where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?”
Here we go again. Every teacher, parent-of-a-friend or distant relative continues to ask me the same question. I smile through the obvious annoyance, “Hopefully with a bit more money than is in my bank account now!” - cue small, cute giggle that detracts away from the fact I have no idea what I’m talking about. I’ve never seemed to figure out why this particular question has perplexed me so much. And on sitting down to truly think, for the first time, about an answer, I have realised why it causes my irritation: because, to tell you the truth, Mrs Ryan, I really don’t have a clue.
I’d like to think I’m living in a city comfortably paying the rent. I’d like to think I’m in a job that I enjoy and find new challenges in every day. I’d like to think I feel respected whatever path I choose to take. But in the midst of all my daydreaming about some healthy, happy, successful lifestyle, I have to ask myself: is all of this realistic?
In all honesty, I am excited. Any question of the future can never be answered until I just go on and get out there, I suppose. To see the world for myself as an independent young woman is an exciting prospect. I look around me today and see women on the TV and Internet who have made wonderful lives for themselves. Yet with each gleaming example of a woman, I see 20 less-deserving men (let’s not get onto the subject of the men in our government, *cough, Nigel Farage, cough*, for I don’t think the keys on my laptop could handle it). I am fully aware of the negative connotations of being a ‘feminist’, but I think those that adopt these idiotic thoughts towards feminism about women fighting for basic rights are simply afraid. Afraid of a different world, perhaps. And I, a teenage girl embarking on her A-Levels, see a new era of women in society. As far as I know from various history lessons and the media, we’ve really not had a great run so far. In the past 10 or 20 years though I am aware there has been a shift; a shift in attitude that allows women to feel more in control of their own futures – exactly the way I do. I’ve truly never really thought about it in this much detail before, but right now I realise I’ve always felt so relaxed upon entering the working world as a female. Now, I can see it is the society I’ve been raised in that has enabled me this relaxation towards my future – a great example of the work that women have done over the past century.
In many girls my age, I see a naivety. I see a naivety in the belief that some handsome man will come bounding along with an expensive car and rich parents prior to him sweeping us off our feet. The reality is that 99.9% of the time, life isn’t that considerate. And it doesn’t need to be, because what these girls don’t realise is that you can buy that expensive car for yourself one day, it just takes some hard work. I truly believe that with every successful woman comes a tale of sweat, tears and determination. This all sounds a little cheesy, but it’s true. Girls my age need to unglue themselves from Instagram where Kendall and Kylie continue to boast their wealthy lives. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I love a good Instagram stalk as much as the next person, but these people are not the right source of inspiration for girls my age. Kendall and Kylie are beautiful – why should I judge them on the lifestyle they were born into or any selfie they post? My point is that whilst Victoria’s Secret models continue to be the #womancrushwednesdays of the world, brave, diligent women like Malala Yousafzai are not thought of as much as they could be by fellow females my age. It is websites like these that restore my faith in this generation; the recognition of hard-working women.
So, Jenny’s mum, in reply to where I see myself in 5 or 10 years: I’m not too sure. What I can tell you though, is that with the belief in myself and empowerment from women around me, I am optimistic.