There’s a moment when you hit your late-20s when the reality that your friends are dividing into two groups – the ones who are settling down, buying a house, having children, and the ones who … well the ones who aren’t, comes to light.
The ones who aren’t (myself included) are all doing well for themselves in other ways. Whether that’s being single and learning to love themselves, in a strong relationship, getting promoted at work or saving for a long-term goal. Despite this, we have probably all experienced moments where our day-to-day lives may seem slightly more redundant than those who are hitting those ‘life milestones’.
This year in particular has probably caused more of a divide than normal. Some are trailblazing ahead with life-changing decisions where as others are, understandably, just trying to survive. But whether you’re putting down a deposit or just trying to hold down a job, wherever you’re at in life, it’s okay.
Despite the fact that the stigma around the traditional lifestyle is decreasing, why do we feel so pressured to go at the same pace as others? Is it because we all have similar goals and we aren’t achieving them within the same time-frame, or perhaps we feel that our own goals aren’t seen to be as important? One thing I’ve learnt over the years is that at one point or another all of my friends have taken a different path than expected, and guess what – they’re all doing well for themselves!
So how do you stop criticising yourself and your own achievements just because they’re not the same as others?
First of all it’s important to remember that whilst everything may look perfect, there are always sacrifices to get to where you’re going. We all know that social media is the picture perfect version of someone’s life and not everything is as plain sailing as some make it out to be. Because of this, it’s so important that we all hold each other up, celebrate the good times, make a point of telling each other how proud we are, but also ask ‘how are you doing?’
Secondly, work out what YOU want – not what you think you want, or what the ‘ideal’ scenario looks like. Your goals don’t have to be part of a five year plan, or even a one year plan. Look at where you want to be in a month’s time, whether that’s learning a new skill, getting through that book that’s taking longer than normal to read or starting a small savings fund.
Finally, life doesn’t end when you turn 30. In your late-20s you still have time to achieve anything you want, in your 30s you have time, and the same for your 40s, 50s… do you see where I’m going with this? Stop stressing over a number.
Aspirations and goals don’t have to be set in stone, and there’s no linear path to get to them. Yes it’s good to plan ahead for the future but I think this past year has taught us to appreciate the little things, live in the moment, and just do what makes you happy.
So go on, stop focusing on what everyone else is doing and focus on you.