Arddun Rhiannon
15 May 2024


Arddun Rhiannon

15 May 2024 | Minute read

My eyes open and my heart instantly feels heavy. I’m hyperventilating and my mind is racing. Ah, strap yourself in – it’s going to be one of *those* days.

I stare at the ceiling for a good fifteen minutes before reaching for the phone. The overenthusiastic message to my Tinder date last night has been left on ‘read’; and half an hour’s flown by as I scroll countless milestones crammed into 1080x1080 squares.

A new relationship is launched. A luxurious holiday flaunted. An engagement ring. Keys to a new house. A baby on the way. A baby’s arrived. Another engagement. And the odd dinner picture of course, jazzed up with a Valencia filter.

I throw aside the tool that holds the cyber world in my hand, and I’m back to reality.

Sound the trumpet. Here comes the klaxon. A huge wave coming my way in 3, 2, ...

‘You’re never going to afford a sensible home. You’ll be lucky to buy a shed in this economy!

Look at what everyone else has compared with you. You’re way behind.

The clock’s ticking if you want a baby.

Remember that time you messed up in 2011?

You’re embarrassing.

You’re useless.

You’re not meant to be happy.’


People claim that your 20s are the best days of your life. Do they count post-turning 25 in that? Because nobody warned me that I’d feel geriatric before turning 30. Actually, no, that’s wrong. Simon Cowell did! You see, if I was a contestant on the The X Factor today, I’d be put in the eldest category. The category that nobody wanted. The one with Wagner and Tesco Mary. The category where 27 year old contestants would panic that this was their last chance to succeed in life.

I used to laugh and think that they were being over the top. I now look back and I can relate with the dramatics. Did I ever think I’d get excited about ordering a new steamer on Facebook Marketplace or start to complain that Love Island is on so late? No, but here we are!

I do feel old, but I still feel like a child too. A child who’s lost their parent in a supermarket, and running around like a headless chicken trying to find them. It feels like only yesterday I was at primary school and the biggest life worries were making sure I remembered my lines in the correct orders for the Christmas concert, and having to choose between having a bouncy castle or a roller-skates themed birthday party. (Reader, with hindsight, and for health and safety’s sake, I should’ve gone for the bouncy castle.)

I’ve always been an indecisive person really - if you ask me where I want to go for dinner, it'll be breakfast time before the decision is made - but my twenties indecisiveness is next level.

I want to travel, and meet people from all over the world, and tell my future grandchildren the stories of my wild adventures. I want to buy a house and settle down. I want to move, to live and work in another country. I want to change career every minute. I want to live on a remote island with a small cute dog. I want to bump into the love of my life in the middle of a busy street and live happily ever after.

(Admittedly maybe I’ve watched too many Disney films, but hey, a girl can dream, right?)

My loved ones aren’t getting any younger. I need to treasure the time I have with them. I can’t just pack a suitcase and leave them. That’d be selfish, but if I try to settle down now, will I regret it?

Come to think of it, being a philosopher could well my be calling - because I question everything. Where am I supposed to be? Who am I? What is the true meaning of life - is there one? Is happiness a state or just a fleeting moment?

As I stumble my way through the ebb and flow of young adult life, and feeling the constant paradox of being numb yet feeling absolutely everything, I’m slowly starting to realise that perhaps all of this isn’t necessarily about being in your 20’s – it’s about being human, and I’ll never truly have the answer to anything. We all appear content and at ease, but we’re sure as heck paddling at full speed underneath the water.

This piece is in response to Lisa Barnard's Still Life IV.

Arddun Rhiannon hails from the village of Dinas, Llanwnda not far from Caernarfon, and now lives in Cardiff and works in communications. After a period of regularly writing blogs for (a Welsh language mental health charity), Arddun became a voluntary member of the management team in 2019. Arddun also runs a personal Instagram page @HelMeddyliau where she discusses anything connected with wellbeing and mental health. Her interests are creative writing, baking, going to the theatre and photography.

Updated: 22/05/2024

BARNARD, Lisa, Still Life IV © Lisa Barnard/Amgueddfa Cymru - Museum Wales


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