When Downtown in Business invited me to write a guest blog, I knew straight away what I want to write about. A short while back I shared post on our social media titled ‘Stop with the YOYO mentality’ that seem to strike a chord with much of my young audience. I’d used YOYO as an abbreviation for ‘You’re Only Young Once’ and it’s a mindset that many will be familiar with. As a result of the pandemic, many young people have been feeling sad and anxious that they’re missing out on ‘the best years of their life’. Instead of being young, wild and free, they’ve been young, sensible and confined. Not how many of us pictured our twenties.
Many young people also feel the pressure to have it all figured out in their twenties. The perfect career, perfect friendship group, perfect bank balance and a perfect work-life balance. Anyone who is 30+ will tell you that the world doesn’t work like that, but it doesn’t stop us twenty-somethings comparing ourselves to everyone else’s filtered lives on social media.
There’s a huge jump between university and adult life and often it can feel like you’re the only one struggling with the transition. I wanted to change that. To tell you a little more about me, my name is Gaby Mendes. I am an award-winning blogger, former teacher, event professional and founder of Talk Twenties. I founded Talk Twenties to bridge the gap between full time education and the big wide world of adult life. The business helps twenty-somethings with a podcast, online courses, workshops and a supportive community. In just one year since launching, the Talk Twenties Podcast was named Best Education Podcast at the Podcasting for Business Awards, A Top 50 UK Education Podcast by Spotify Wrapped and as an individual, I was named in Liverpool Echo’s 30 Under 30 which exists to recognise the young people changing the face of the Liverpool.
Despite the pandemic, I’ve experienced so much growth in the past 12 months, both personally and professionally. The initial plan when I launched Talk Twenties was to create 1-day festival-style conferences that would not only be a fun day out for twenty-somethings but educational and maybe even life changing for some! The events would showcase experts talking about a range of pertinent issues faced by twenty-somethings and a marketplace of businesses looking to specifically reach out and support twenty-somethings. Our first event was booked for June 2020 but then (yep, you guess it) the world was hit by coronavirus and quickly those plans and dreams were dashed. Starting an event-focused company in 2020, probably wasn’t the best timing.
Whilst initially I felt upset by the non-viability of my original idea, my passion to change the support twenty-somethings receive in their transition to the working world was not something I could sit back and let go of. So, in the early outbreak of coronavirus I launched a weekly podcast interviewing people on various topics relevant to twenty-somethings. We now have more than 30 episodes of the podcast and over 13,000 listeners with topics ranging from networking to body image, buying a house to crisis money management. It’s been a challenging first year in business, but one that has taught me a great deal. With the challenges young people are facing in this new post-pandemic world, I feel more determined than ever to grow this platform.
Returning back to my original note of ditching the ‘You’re Only Young Once’ mentality, it’s something we’re all going have to work on. If you’re a young person telling yourself you’ve missed out on a whole load of opportunities due to the pandemic, try reframing your mindset to focus on the road ahead of you and the new opportunities that have opened up as a result of the pandemic. That’s what has got me through this tough time. But of course, I cannot wait for the day we can host in-person events and I can hug every listener of my podcast and tell them face to face how much their support has meant in this past year.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this blog and want to hear more from me and my personal journey through my twenties you can follow me on Instagram @iamgabymendes.
If you’re a twenty-something looking to join a supportive online community, join our Private Facebook Group ‘The Talk Twenties Hub’.