Zoe, 25, British, Millennial
By Tolu Oshodi
What is your biggest struggle as a millennial?
Pressure…I was going to say pressure from myself but it’s also pressure from the outside. Pressure from everything: you just want to be better. Be a better person, get a better job, buy a house. Pressure from employers, from parents and family. I feel more pressure now than I did whilst I was doing exams! I don’t want to take it away from teenagers because they’re young and growing up is difficult and stuff, but I think after you’ve finished studying and you’re not into the job you want, that’s the limbo phase where you just feel the most unsettled.
It’s just like living in a headache. And I guess I don’t mind because I see it as a kind of ride, I realise that you’re gonna have to go through these struggles and learn. It’s all very cliché, but at the end of it it’s all gonna be something that you’ve worked for and it’s gonna be good.
But until then, there’s pressure coming from everywhere and that does kind of hold you back. It’s such a trying time and while you get older, you feel like you’re running out of time…
What do your parents say?
My parents don’t seem to understand that things don’t happen overnight. They’re just like “Oh, so what are you doing? How’s your job going?” but there’s something underlying. It’s not even spoken out and I feel the pressure. I can’t even answer them truthfully without feeling sick and anxious.
What did you study?
Professional Dance and Theatre, in Manchester.
I did my teaching qualifications as well while I was there, but I had to go straight home because I had some family stuff going on during my 2nd to last term which was probably the worst timing ever. I felt like I had no choice but to go back home. For me, moving home was going back to Jersey, which is completely leaving the whole “scene”. But I was really lucky to a job teaching at my old dance school. It was my first job and was really amazing. I didn’t realise how much I would end up loving teaching.
What’s the biggest difference between living in London compared to Jersey?
I don’t want to be negative but if someone didn’t know Jersey at all and they wanted to compare it to London, in a nutshell; it’s obviously a lot smaller which means it has less people and when there’s less people unfortunately it means there’s less room for diversity.
There are a lot of people who are quite narrow minded…I don’t know if that’s too negative but it’s very oldtowny, very traditional, it takes a long time to move forward and it is far behind London mentality-wise even though it’s like 45 mins away on the plane, if that. So, you have to get out. If you don’t get out of Jersey, you’re going to end up being just like that.
It’s a weird island where there’s no room for creativity, so if you do anything creative you have to leave, otherwise you’ll just end up working in finance.
However it’s actually a really beautiful place. They love to advertise it as the warmest place in the British Isles, and I think it’s probably like 2 degrees warmer than here! But there are beautiful beaches, it’s gorgeous. It was a really amazing place to grow up in, and would be an amazing place to raise kids and have a family.
What is your biggest regret?
It is one of those questions where you can be like “I don’t believe in regrets” because you are where you are because of everything that’s happened. But if where you are isn’t what you want and it isn’t perfect, then should you be regretting something? At the same time you can’t really change anything that happened. So yeah, I don’t think I have any massive regrets where I’ve done something that’s led me to where I am and it’s not where I want to be. I always see something as a journey (because it is) and even if things are the way they are now, you can’t control the past and you have a bit of control over the future.
If I really have to mention one, it would probably be not getting out of Jersey sooner.
What’s the goal?
The main thing I’ve done since I was a kid is dancing. I’m always involved in it in some way, and it’s one of my biggest interests. I do want to be dancing again, but I think because there are so many people doing so well and you’re so much further behind than where you want to be, you don’t want to pursue it so much because it sounds unrealistic.
It’s not like I wanna be in a West End show, that’s not my goal, my goal is to figure out what I want in that world. Once upon a time it was probably to be in Wicked but now I’m like no, maybe it’s not. Maybe I wanna be doing something behind the scenes but I don’t know what yet because I haven’t been able to explore it. I don’t know if this sounds really cheesy but the goal is to explore what I want and find it, because right now I don’t fully know. The goal is not to be working a job with no progression in London just to survive.
What would you say to yourself 5 years from now?
Probably, chill out.
But then, as someone who suffers from anxiety it’s probably the last thing I wanna hear as well. I’m hoping in 5 years’ time I’ll be over that and very much in control, thinking “why didn’t I just chill out?” But if I’m gonna say that to myself in 5 years’ time, I feel like I could just say it to myself now.
On a more practical side of things, I’d tell myself to be careful with money. I know we’re at this stage where it’s like “fuck it, I’m not gonna buy a house anyway, might as well buy that bottle of wine”, but realistically I still really wanna buy a house. So yeah, chill out and be better with your money.
What would your perfect scenario be?
Right now, as someone who’s got a creative disposition, I think my perfect scenario would be working a job that motivates and inspires me, and makes me want to learn more. At the moment I’m doing a job where I get home and I’m drained, and I’m too tired to do anything else. I’d like to be doing something in the day that doesn’t make me feel that way, obviously getting paid better too.
I do think I’d like to still be living in London, I don’t think my goal is to live in London forever, but I do want to enjoy it while I’m here. I don’t want to be pushed out of London. So while I feel like London’s a struggle at the moment, I don’t want to be at the stage where I can’t handle London anymore and have to go home or move somewhere else.
I love London as a city anyway. Obviously we all do, that’s why we’re here.