Em Clarkson is here to solve all your problems.
Well, sort of.
As Metro’s new agony aunt the influencer, author and content creator (busy much?) is primed and ready to be a sympathetic ear, an oracle of wisdom or, quite simply, a stand-in for that girl in the nightclub bathroom you share your thoughts and dreams with while waiting in line.
While she stresses she’s no alternative for therapy, Em is keen to talk through any quandary.
This week, she’s helping Metro readers to navigate parties with an ex, whether to travel or settle down, and *checks notes* bad neighbours.
Read on for this week’s musings…
Q: Me and my ex were together eight years. We broke up earlier in the year (amicably), but now there are lots of social events coming up within our friendship circle and I’m really nervous about going – especially to one at his house with his parents! How do I get over myself?
Em: I was also in a relationship from a teenager to adulthood and I completely understand how enveloped you can become in someone’s life in that time.
It’s beautiful and intense to grow up with someone; where you share boring responsibilities as adults, you share dreams, potential, and, critically, families, as teenagers.
So while there’ll be inevitable discomfort (since you’ve seen each other naked and everybody knows it and humans inexplicably get really weird about stuff like that), these people have watched you become the woman you are today – and I don’t think you need to change any part of yourself for them now.
If you can be friends with him there’s nothing to say you can’t be friends with them. Although it’s all too easy to fall back into feeling young and hopeless in the eyes of those who knew us when we are young, remember that’s not who you are anymore. You’re a grown-up and this doesn’t have to be weird.
Just don’t bring a date.
Q: I turn 30 this year and have a younger partner. We have been travelling together a few times and haven’t really established our careers. I currently have a job that isn’t inspiring and doesn’t have much room for growth. Our options are to settle down in this area and buy a house; move elsewhere, find a new job; or go travelling again and face it all when we come back. I’m in two minds about travelling as I feel as though I’m at an age where I should be settling down and I feel bad about not having a career, but my heart isn’t in it and there’s so much more I want to see. What should I do?
Em: It sounds to me like your heart knows exactly what’s best. It’s such a cruel pressure that society puts on women to feel like we have to be established and ready to reproduce by 30, no matter the sacrifice that entails.
So many of us get put on trajectories as teenagers that we don’t often have the opportunity to stop and question. And it strikes me as really exciting that you’re in a position right now to make an informed decision for your life based on what you actually want.
And just in case no one’s reminded you recently: it is OK to do what you want, just because you want to do it. I like shopping too much to credibly denounce capitalism, but it is wild the chokehold that it has us all in.
Your life purpose might not be professional, and if that works for you, then it works for you. You don’t need to explain yourself to anyone.
If you’re not ready to settle now then I worry you’ll be plagued with thoughts of ‘what if?’ if you do – and life’s too short for that. So go and see the world. Like you say, it will all be here when you get back. And it’s OK if you don’t want it then either, too.
Q: How do you ask people not to do gardening after 8pm at night?
Em: Awkwardly. It strikes me that a better idea might be to move house. Or perhaps mock up a leaflet promoting the benefits of wildflowers to local nature and subsequently the tragically dwindling bee population, which you could print off and slip through their letterbox in the hope they make selfless environmental decisions and retire the lawnmower.
But if they won’t do it for the bees (b*stards), then maybe write them a little note, acknowledging the difficulty of finding the time to garden in this modern world, but begging them to please find another gap in their schedules as you’re very tired and very busy and you very much need your evening peace.
Want to ask Em Clarkson a question?
With more than 300,000 followers and a reputation as one of the more honest influencers out there, Em is often asked for advice in her DMs. Now, she wants to do the same in Metro, as our newest columnist.
No topic is off limits. So if you’ve a question for her agony aunt series, email [email protected].
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