I desperately wanted to do a blog on this subject because things are changing so rapidly nowadays that its almost as if the human conventions can’t keep up. I’ve seen a lot of people get bogged down by what others are doing and achieving on social media and the negative effects of envy.
Does this look familiar?
From day dot we are led to believe that the standard trajectory of life goes as follows – Qualifications, meet someone, buy a house together, get married, have a child or children – job done. Obviously, in between there are purchases and trips and many other conventional things, however as a staple, these tend to be the things, we base the progress of our lives on.
Now it’s always good to have aims and as someone who pretty much lives off a checklist, aims are very important to me, but these life aims seem to hinder me more than they motivate. We don’t take into consideration economy, lifespan or fertility when we start out on the journey of life and even now, we know they are there but we don’t amend the life goals because of them we simply punish ourselves for still not achieving them!
Let's look into a bit more detail…
Money makes the world go round right? But how many of us rely on money to determine our personal achievement or let it drive our mood?
Let’s narrow it right now…we need money to achieve the life goal of owning a home, right no problem- understood. We don’t stop to think about what the state of unemployment is, we don’t look at the economy and work out whether this is feasible. My parents could afford a home at 18 years old, my nana brought her house for thousands, not tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands and that was the norm, it is not the norm now! It's not the cost of living and pounds and pence I’m looking at here, simply that what used to be normal now isn’t, for many complex reasons and yet we don’t give ourselves a break! We are still trying to reach those goals in the same time scale.
That's about the size of house I can afford! >
We spend time looking at generations above us thinking “why am I still living at home?” you feel like a failure because you can’t achieve that one thing that makes you an adult. You could argue that people of your own generation have managed to achieve it “why haven’t I?”, well I’m in that boat too, but those friends of mine have either buddied up with a friend on a mortgage, been gifted a home by parents, gifted a deposit or a substantial contribution or they have married and combined higher earning jobs. The trajectory of life has changed and instead of measuring our achievements on them we need to accept the change for what it is, keep working towards a goal but not let it dictate our lives. We haven’t failed the economy has failed us and remember…People only see what they want you to see on social media.
I just want to make it clear before I start that I am not anti-marriage I’m pro realism. When I was a child, I just assumed I would meet someone falls in love and that would be it. I never even questioned it, because that was just what was meant to happen. Over the years my thoughts have been altered as suddenly the reality of life set in. I learnt the concept of marriage was initially to combine 2 powerful or important households, to produce ayres and exchange titles and land. Men were often paid by the means of a dowry to marry a woman – so why not? Payday! And couples did stay together their entire lives…. because their entire lives often got them to 40- or 50-years old right?
As time has moved on, we haven’t moved with it, in fact, we’ve created a fantasy in which you met, you fall in love and you still stay in love until the day you die. Now I’ve written it down, it seems even more absurd (and yet I still want that for myself, of course, I do! Who wouldn’t?) It can happen for some and it does but I think we marry these days to fit into life’s trajectory, it’s what we are meant to do and even though divorce is naturally higher these days we still fight against it, it’s still taboo.
We need to stop punishing ourselves for moving on, accepting change in ourselves and in our relationships. Humans are naturally evolving creatures, we are living longer and experiencing more of what the world has to offer. It’s okay to change and choose a different path, just like it’s ok to be alone.
If you are female, it’s still naturally assumed that you want children or will have children at some stage. It’s unfortunate that even though public thought is changing answering “no” to “are you having children” is still greeted with an “oh why?” and a confused face. The trajectory of life tells us that this is something we should want and once that decision is made the path becomes clearer?
For some, this goal can’t be achieved for other reasons, but we aren’t told this when we start out, we don’t have time to digest these issues, we are often stunted there and then, whether we are ready or not.
Stop piling on the pressure!
I wanted to write this blog, in hopes to maybe reassure some other people that the path they are on can be the right one for them, but to also remind myself not to measure my achievements and skill on the money I make, the place I live or who I’m with.
When you reach a “certain age” I think you start spending a little more time looking backwards in your life rather than forwards. I often think of what my younger self would make of how far I’ve come, and remind myself of conversations I had which friends about where I would be at 30! I tend to get disappointed by these thoughts because that trajectory of life isn’t a reality anymore and it wasn’t a reality when I had those conversations, to begin with.
You choose different paths from your family and your friends for a reason and when I look at the lives my friends have I always think….If that was my life, what would I be missing out on? And you know what, they probably look at me and think the same things.
"Every minute you spend wishing you had someone else's life, is a minute spent wasting yours."
Comparing myself to others is a sense of pressure I just don’t need in my life.