There’s no getting away from it – it’s a tough moment in time for young people. The life landmarks our parents ticked off in their twenties are being swept aside thanks to economic crises much bigger than ourselves, and the choices we make for ourselves in reaction to these circumstances are laughed at or criticised by the media.
In many ways mine is a very lucky generation. Nearly everyone in my friendship group went to university (this was not so in my mum’s), and our early introduction to the internet has opened up opportunities that have never existed before. Thanks to our digital native status, we have a different, flexible way of looking at the world. With the wonders of the internet in our pockets, it should feel like anything’s possible.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t really played out that way. I’m 25 now, and I’ve flipped from job to job, mouldy rented flat to mouldy rented flat and place to place, trying to find a steady foothold as the world wobbles around me. Some might see this as just a part of growing up, but I feel pretty bloody old already. I’m craving stability, and my friends tell me they do too. My thirties are on the horizon and the things I’ve seen my parents achieve (a house, kids, long-term job) will require a serious rethink and lots more time to save for. I have to admit to myself that my life will look very different to theirs, and start to create my own timeline without trying to measure up to theirs.
This new blurry map of landmarks applies to a lot of younger people. We’re doing things that have never been done before, yet we’ll never do some things that have always been done. So, when my co-editor Nikesh Shukla told me about the book he was creating that would aim to give amazing young people’s voices a platform, I knew I had to be involved.
Rife Magazine, which has appeared on The Writing Platform already, is a Watershed project, made by young people for young people, supported by Bristol Youth Links in partnership with Bristol City Council. Through the six-month paid content creator roles at Rife, they have produced scores of filmmakers, youth facilitators, writers and more (including me) who have been supported with work and advice ever since. The same idea is at the core of this project – supporting, amplifying and providing room for voices that need to be heard and usually aren’t.
We’ve already commissioned ten amazing essays from UK under-24s that cover mental health, social media, race, the future, technolo