Postcard from a twentysomething

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Indy Lifestyle Online
I'd like to make an announcement to those readers in their mid to late-twenties - summer is here. I know, it came as a surprise to me, too, and the weather has certainly been doing its best to throw me off the scent, but I'm sure of it. It's summer. If you don't believe me, just count the number of colour-supplement features about which drink or book or petty crime will help you "while away those lazy days". When exactly those lazy days are supposed to make an appearance is never covered.

A few years ago, at school or college, we wouldn't have needed to be told. Work would wind down. There would be end-of-term parties, projects to be turned in, exams. Now, say what you like about exams - and they are without doubt the most vile and sadistic form of torture one human has ever visited upon another - but they do serve one purpose. When they finish, summer starts. That final "Stop writing now, please" means that it's time to go on holiday - or at least to spend three months washing dishes in a Chinese restaurant for pounds 2 an hour.

Once you are out in the exam-free world, those demarcations disappear. No matter how many hints you drop, your boss is unlikely to let you hand in whatever you're doing and take it easy until the autumn. Every now and then a colleague may sneak off for a week (remember when you would lounge at home for a fortnight, just to recover from your six weeks of travelling?), but the chances are it'll be in May or October. Gone forever is the compulsory diaspora entitled The Holidays.

So, work keeps going, one day follows the next. For we twentysomethings, just getting used to the absence of academic terms, life as a whole can seem like this. We're renowned as a generation adrift, unmotivated and disorientated, but if someone would just chop the calendar into easy-to- manage chunks, they'd be amazed by how high our job satisfaction would soar. As it is, whole years can slip by as we wait for the end of term to come along.

And this is the way it's going to be from now on, I'm afraid. Short of persuading everyone you know to take time off work at once, or petitioning the Government to collect up the year's bank holidays and clump them together in July, there's nothing you can do about it. You'll be invited to a couple of barbecues and you'll get burnt one Sunday in the park, and then the shops will be selling Hallowe'en masks, and you'll have no idea what happened to your season in the sun - until you have children, at any rate. Then the school holidays will make it absolutely clear when summer is, and you'll be counting the days until it's over.

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