Is it me, or does life feel a bit too competitive sometimes?
I wrote about ‘comparison-itis’ on the blog not too long ago – when you compare yourself to others and wonder if you’re doing enough yet.
But what about the pressure to reach certain milestones by a certain age?
This week, I read an amazing article on Stylist about why 30 doesn’t have to be a benchmark – and why we damn well shouldn’t stress if we don’t have our lives worked out by then. It hit home.
Now, anyone reading this over the age of 30 definitely has permission to laugh and leave now – I know this will sound mad.
But I guarantee that anyone in their mid-twenties will know full well what I’m talking about here.
At 27 years old, I now have a network where everyone is doing very different things.
Some friends are married or engaged, some have babies on the way and others are happily single.
Some friends are bossing it with their careers while others are considering quitting, retraining and shaking everything up.
Some friends own property, some rent, and some still live with their parents…
Does any of this matter?
In essence, no. Not if each of them are happy with where they are.
But sadly, there does seem to be a societal expectation that we have everything ship-shape and sorted by the time we’re 30.
I have no idea where that benchmark has come from, but it just seems to be there.
Personally, I often feel the need to prove and push myself but I’m also aware that a lot of that comes from the expectations I set on myself.
But this benchmark of 30, stretches far beyond just the workplace.
Over the last few weeks we’ve had a pregnancy and an engagement announced. While I was absolutely thrilled in both those cases, what wasn’t so thrilling was the sideways glance in my direction, to determine if I’d be following suit anytime soon…
With the pregnancy one, someone even had the audacity to say, ‘pressure’s off you then’ to my boyfriend. (I mean, if there was pressure in the first place, it was news to us…)
Age, in my humble opinion, is simply just a number. There is no ‘perfect age’ to do anything – it varies from person to person.
I have my own little goals of things I want to achieve in the next few years, and I have longer, life goals (although they often shift and that’s okay!)
But putting ages like a deadline on every goal, and expecting others to do the same, is not okay.
Remember the lyrics from Baz Luhman’s Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen? Firstly, ‘don’t worry about the future’ and secondly, ‘Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know, didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.’