The Blog

Feeling Lost? You May be Part of Generation Somewhere Else

Around the time you graduated, the economy sunk into a depression so moody that it wouldn't roll out of bed to answer your calls - no matter how loudly you flagged up your Qualifications and (unpaid) Experience.

Here are six things which may or may not be true about you:

1. When you and your mates get drunk, you at some point reminisce about the good old days of Pogs, Tamigochis, the Backstreet Boys and Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

2. You have done three or more unpaid internships.

3. You are wondering how you'll afford to travel around the country in the nearer-than-you-wish future in which your Young Person's Rail Card expires and you are too old to renew it.

4. As a teenager, you spent a moderate to extreme proportion of your free time on MSN (and often found yourself secretly wishing to insert emoticons into offline conversations).

5. Since leaving school, you have spent one or more years doing shit jobs and travelling some 'edgy' part of the world accompanied by an overstuffed backpack and an under-filled notebook. The important thing to emphasise is that you are totally aware that the generations before you have already done this, you don't think you're being edgy or original, and in no way was this a 'gap yah.'

6. You now spend a moderate to extreme portion of your free time reading top 10 worst/best/funniest/scariest BuzzFeeds that people you don't really know, or know but don't really like, have posted on Facebook.

If any of this feels familiar, chances are, you're a member of Generation Somewhere Else. You were born around the same time as the World Wide Web; you helped one another through the rocky waves of childhood, puberty and young adulthood. You were the last of Thatcher's children, but your earliest political memories are of Blair's gurning face in the 1997 election, the TV full of people and flags that promised things could only get better.

You were promised that if you got the grades and got to Uni, you'd spend a happy few years getting drunk and getting involved with student journalism/activism/politics/club nights/day time TV schedules, and roll out the other side into a cushy yet meaningful job.

Except it didn't quite happen like that, did it?

Of course not. Because around the time you graduated, the economy sunk into a depression so moody that it wouldn't roll out of bed to answer your calls - no matter how loudly you flagged up your Qualifications and (unpaid) Experience.

You moved back with your parents and made tea in an arts organisation/publishers/creative agency for free. Or you lived in some shit hole in Zone 6 and waitressed in three different cafes whilst wondering why you hadn't 'made it' as an actor/writer/artist. Or you got out of here as soon as you could and TEFLed your life away abroad. Perhaps you elbowed your way onto a Grad Scheme, and although the money rolled in, although you had a neat and acceptable answer when people asked what you did, you felt, deep down, that living in an open plan office booth and getting really good at PowerPoint could no way be it - the meaningful thing you were born to do.

You have probably already opened several new tabs by the time you reach this paragraph. You are probably moderately to extremely insecure. Because you only have to glance at your phone to be reminded: there are so many more important things happening somewhere, everywhere, anywhere else. Everyone you ever knew or pretended to know is getting married, getting promoted, getting pregnant, getting published. Every few seconds, another person distils their soul into one hilarious, genius, outrageous 120-character Tweet.

Whatever your intention when you switch on your laptop, you end up hunch-backed, fuzzy-headed and angry-mouthed, wondering what happened to your Saturday afternoon. You open tab after tab until the machine shuts down (you were too busy updating your LinkedIn profile to postpone those anti-virus updates). You will not have finished that novel/application/article pitch/thesis/sensitive breakup email. You will be wondering why everything seems to be so much better everywhere you are not, and why this is always the case, no matter where you go. But don't worry, it's not you: it's just the downside of being part of Generation Somewhere Else.

(Disclaimer: if all this pisses you off, if you are reading this and thinking, well that is all about you, it has nothing to do with me, what can I say? Subject/object first/second you/me confusion is just another quirk of this generation - or is that people in general? Am I a typical young person thinking that everything they've ever done or thought or said is unique? (Btw, I don't). Feel free to reply/argue in any form you wish).