Level 27: Recapping the last 12 months and what I've learnt
My mother once said to me not to worry about my age or the weather, as I can’t do anything about it. That saying has always really stuck with me, and I don’t often wince at the thought of getting older or the weather not being what I want it to be. When it comes to age though, I don’t think it’s the number that frightens people; it’s what it represents. Social standards and norms start to put pressure on us to have reached certain milestones by certain ages. Are you financially where you thought you would be? How’s your career going? Are you in a serious relationship? Have you found a place to settle? On December 18th, I turned 27 (or as I announced on social media, “level 27”), and with New Years following closely after, it is always a time of reflection for me. So, here’s what I’ve learnt over the past 12 months…
Since my last birthday I’ve managed to complete my masters degree in marketing, and have continued to diligently work on my music which resulted in my most successful single to date. I also met many new people, forming invaluable new friendships and gained masses amount of knowledge during my masters degree. Personally, I know that I work hard on my music career, that I am proactive every day, but I also know that I am not living up to societal standards. My career choice means that I don’t have a regular 9-5 and I’ve chosen one of the most unforgiving and competitive industries to enter, but then again, isn’t every industry competitive in its own way? I don’t make money off of my music, and I am incredibly grateful that I have parents who support me as I try to carve my own way into the Danish music industry. However, it is not lost on me that I potentially look like a loser from the outside when you put the main facts next to each other: 27, single, struggling artist, financially dependent on her parents – not a great look, I’ll admit. But it doesn’t give you the whole picture of my life does it now? Since graduation I’ve spent most of my days on a plane, mostly to Copenhagen to work on music. I spend most of my day hatching plans for the music; preparing the promotions for the next release, getting contacts in order, organizing writing sessions, communicating with producers and writing new songs. A lot of unpaid hours go into this work, and I think it’s for that reason that many fail to see it as my career. I’m often asked what I plan to do with my life and, given the number of hours I dedicate to music, it’s a bit of a strange question to me. People also like to remind me that I need a plan B and that I shouldn’t wait too long because it’ll be harder for me to land a job. Luckily, music isn’t my only passion/interest in life, and I am completely open to other careers should songwriting not work out. It would, however, be nice if people didn’t inject me with the insecurity that 1. The music won’t work out and 2. I won’t be able to land a job in the future if I don’t act soon. I am fully aware that this financial loss can’t continue for much longer. But, with an EP set to release later this year and a few exciting meetings in the pipeline, I don’t feel now is the time to find a regular 9-5. Don’t get me wrong, I look at my friends who are settling into amazing careers and have regular working hours, and I envy them, but I also majorly enjoy this creative path. If the music has taught me anything, it is patience and endurance, and I just don’t feel that the time to call it quits has arrived. That said, I can’t help but compare my trajectory to others’, and I definitely feel I’m a little behind.
At 27 what do you expect from someone? If I think back to my teens, I imagined that a 27-year-old would have occupied a career for a while, be financially independent, and be in a serious relationship. I only tick one of those boxes: I’ve been pursuing music since I was 22, but with no financial gains from it…yet. I’ve been single for seven years as well. My older sister and I bond over the fact that we’re both single, and that we feel as though many of our friends are taking the next big step by entering serious relationships, getting married, getting pregnant. Should we be doing the same? My mum and dad have also noted their excitement at becoming grandparents sometime in the near future (it won’t be me giving them that title any time soon). Of course I would love to meet someone to spend the rest of my life with, but I just don’t feel like ever going on Tinder again, and because I’ve spent so much time travelling, I’m rarely out with friends on the weekends. Usually I’m with family, and they don’t exactly expose you to a dating environment. Bluntly put, I have absolutely no idea where to meet someone, how to meet someone and if I’m being honest, how to behave around someone I like. Whenever I’ve developed a crush on someone, it feels like torture, and when I remind myself of that, I am grateful for singledom. I am the definition of nonsense when it comes to flirting and dating – I don’t know how to do it. On top of that, I feel like I’m so busy with music right now, that that aspect of life can wait.
Living in Switzerland I at times also feel creatively stunted. As beautiful and functional as this place is, I find it clinically corporate. Being surrounded by people who fit so nicely into the corporate culture here, going to their office job five days a week, I definitely feel like an odd-ball. I’ve had to have some pretty serious pep-talks telling myself that it’s okay I’ve chosen a less traditional career for the moment. The thing with the music industry is that it moves slow, meaning I can have a lot of time to sit with my thoughts while I wait for projects to be wrapped up before I can make the next move. When I see people’s LinkedIn updates, and get notifications to congratulate whathisname on his new position, my initial feeling is panic. I feel as though I’m not moving fast enough. Then I breathe, tell myself comparison is the thief of joy and that as long as I’m consistently trying my best and at least making some movement, however small, I’m doing okay.
As you can see, I haven’t achieved certain milestones yet, but I’m excited about my future and honestly haven’t felt that my life has been lacking in quality and purpose. My growth goals for this year don’t differ hugely from last year’s:
1. Release another EP
2. Get a bigger network within the music industry
3. Read a book every month
4. Move back to Copenhagen
5. Blog once a week (this is the first one)
6. Be brave enough to take chances and continue to personally grow.
I have a lot to look forward to and I like getting up each day to mull over how to keep going forward whether it be with the music, where I’m living or with my relationships. If people fail to acknowledge that there exists alternative careers and that we don’t all fit into a cookie-cutter mold, that’s not my issue. Through this process, I’m learning to be more assertive, to stand my ground when my gut tells me to and that we all have our own timeline. I might not be living the norm, but I definitely feel that I am living and exploring life’s opportunities. So, for now, I’ll keep enjoying this more unconventional path, the obstacles that come with it and believe that whatever happens, I’ll be okay in the end. Prince Charming can continue riding in on his slow turtle, and I’ll continue knocking in the door to the music industry.