That’s the age you should have settled down with a partner. In a house, with a shared mortgage. You should have given each other a wedding ring. And you should be awaiting the birth of your first child. Oh, and I’m not done yet…
You should have excelled in your career. Money should be comfortable. At least comfortable enough that you can go on week-long holidays to nice resorts every summer. And that you’ve been able to buy a stylish but practical car…
Most of your friends will have had babies by now, or be expecting their first, or at least planning it. And the rest will be sad and single and angry and reminded constantly that they’re not getting any younger.
These expectations, whether they come from family, tradition, TV – wherever – is why aged 25, me and my friends are dealing with almost subconscious pressure about where we are in life, and what we should have achieved by now.
Pressure and expectations hang around us in the air like fog. People who are older tell us we have our whole lives ahead of us, laughing at us ‘playing grownup’, while in the same breath question why we haven’t moved in with our partner yet.
People younger than us think we’re ancient, finding it weird if we aren’t on Snapchat while simultaneously finding it creepy if we are.
For the record, some people want to be in a house, married and with children aged 21. Whatever you want, whatever you choose, is fine.
But for our own sanity it needs to be said that most of us are still trying to find our way in life, and probably will be doing just that for some time. If not forever. We’re just trying to balance how long we spend scrolling on our phones with getting our five a day and getting a gym workout in at least a couple of days a week. Oh, and also showing that we’re willing to learn at work but have our own brain.
All the while, ‘thirty’ looms ahead of us, a mysterious and daunting man-made milestone, as distant as it is close.
I think we have to ask ourselves, what are we scared of? What are we rushing for? Why are we so fixated on the birthday that makes us only one day older than the last?
The answer to most of these questions can be found in the portrayals of families and success we’ve grown up with, as well as the example our own upbringing has shown us. But we have to start to trust the path we ourselves are on.
Timing really isn’t everything. There is no perfect time for everything. And trusting the timing of your life is a gift you can give yourself to help break down the fears of failure and panic we’ve accumulated since birth.
Be kind to yourself, and wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, try to enjoy the ride.