A question I hear a lot amongst my friends (ranging from mid-20s to early 30s) it’s a question I never really knew the answer to until now…
Why? Because in the past, my goals always seemed to change, I was always found myself changing my goals because of my peers otherwise I wouldn't feel included, a lot of people I have grown up with have followed a similar life goal path, a path that was weirdly created by society that everyone seems to naturally follow…
- Find a ‘good’ job
- Find a boyfriend/girlfriend
- Move in together
- Have a child
- Work to till you have enough of a pension to ‘enjoy the rest of your life’
Now, this is very vague, as over time your jobs can change, relationships can make or break etc but in general it seems like a pretty natural flow that people follow and seem to aim for. It’s something I’ve noticed from a personal perspective and admiring all of my friend's current situations which follows this list of achievements. There is nothing that I love more than seeing the people I love happy in general and if this is the path they have chosen, it’s completely fine. But I’ve always wondered why I never fell into that pattern?
Why am I the odd one out? I find myself getting more invites to weddings than dates nowadays (which is great because of all the bloody dresses I've accumulated over lockdown that need to be worn — ridiculous!) as well as a the boom of pregnancy posts that have sprung up on my timeline! I can’t help but think my life will end up like one of those ‘late bloomer’ rom-coms, even my own friends have told me that ill meet someone in the most unconventional way because my life is pretty much that, unconventional to some! But at the same time, what’s the rush?
As I’ve got older I've realised this is ok, it’s ok to be single, unmarried, still trying to navigate through life and figure out what your goals really are in your early 30s, heck! Even your late 30s and beyond! Why do we allow ourselves to feel so much pressure? Maybe it's subconscious ‘FOMO’, seeing everyone else around you at a stage that you’re nowhere near can really play on your mind and effectively your mental health even if you don’t think it does. It’s a thought that’s always there for me, knocking at my door at times when I least expect it, like an annoying neighbour who you wish you could politely tell to f*** off but you dread the karma that might come with your reaction.
Now, im no guru, I don’t have some overpriced lecture on the ‘meaning of life & how to get through it’ but if you’re reading this feeling the same way I do, there are some thoughts that I’ve had recently that might help you rethink/help your potentially negative or worried outlook on life…
- We’re all different — it’s that simple, there are things in life that affect us differently, we don’t all open up as quickly as others, some of us will always have our walls up until someone tall enough (mentally, emotionally and physically if you like) comes along to scale them and find out who you really are and that's ok, don’t rush it, good things come in time, use that time to maybe find out what you really like, what makes you tick so you can communicate that to someone new. Also don’t feel the pressure of ‘finding the one’ either, you might like your own company so much that you forget about everything else! Your current job could be your dream job and that might not be someone else’s idea of a ‘dream job’, which brings me to my next point…
- Not everyone wants the same thing — probably on the same line as number 1 but again, it’s simple, lots of women don’t want kids, lots of men don’t want them either, many women dread the idea of marriage as do some men too and some people are hopeless romantics who love the idea of a fairytale life and marriage. That’s the beauty of it all, everyone has different opinions and dreams and I think it's great that there is such a variety of outlooks on life, I just wish more people would realise that not everyone wants the ‘generalised’ life path that most people follow or are pushed to follow within their culture (which is an entirely different conversation but I hope you understand my point) Some want to settle, some people don’t. Both are ok!
- Don’t stress about what you cannot control — We spend so much of our lives worrying about the future, we forget to live in the present moment. Now we obviously have control over our future depending on what we do now but, personally, I think it’s all about balance. Don’t forget to do something for you, your present will become your past in a matter of seconds. Yes, I know we hardly have much control at the moment being in a p@andemic / lockdowns and all, but think about what you could achieve now. Turn off the news for a while and look into something that sparks joy in your life. You have the power to control what you consume in life.
- Be selfish — yep be absolutely selfish. My favourite thing to say right now? No. No, I don’t really fancy going for a walk, no, I don’t want to facetime you right now, nope, I'm ok being single at the moment. I spent a lot of time saying yes to things in the past and a lot of those things really amounted to nothing, however, I don’t regret this, I learnt from it, it’s something new for me and so far it’s working. I mean think of it this way, if time were a currency, would you give it away so freely as you do naturally? Think about something you really want to do (safely during a p@ndemic) and think about the amount of time it may take, how much time are you willing to give to yourself to master it? You deserve your time.
So taking all this into consideration, goals are what you make it, you don’t have to be pressured to follow the list above or feel like you’re the odd one out for not wanting kids or a mortgage in the country you currently reside in or maybe you realised that you don’t want the career you studied for! If you do want these things however, that’s perfectly fine too, we’re human, we’re always changing.
My goal, is to be completely content with the decisions I make in life to ensure I’m at peace as much as possible. No rushing, no feeling like I need to keep up, just doing what feels right and doing what I can.
What’s your goal?