Here we are. The end of the first week of 2018. This is a time of self-reflection and possibilities. We feel it all around us. There is this sense of realizing that anything can happen within the span of the next 12 months. Anything at all. I hope that you have a wonderful year, full of learning and happiness and growth.
Before you embark any further into your own personal journeys, I want to remind you about something important: we are not constrained to anyone’s timeline. Your life is your own. The lessons you learn along the way are yours too. It is unique and different to mine or anyone else’s that you meet.
The Dangers of Comparisons
I know that I have touched upon this earlier, but just to reiterate, don’t worry about what people are accomplishing around you. This is particularly important when you see all of your friends getting married, having kids, finding amazing jobs. You are left to wonder “why not me?”.
If you haven’t reached these milestones yet, it doesn’t matter. Not one bit.
But what do I say to my family or my friends when they ask me questions about my life?
That will happen. Unfortunately, you can’t filter out what people say. The most important thing is that you are confident in your decisions. You can be honest, hear the general outcries of disapproval, but in the end, they will (eventually) realize that you know what you are doing. How? By telling them the honest to goodness truth. Explain your opinions, your reasoning, whatever they may be.
Communication is key. The aftermath settles. Sometimes it just takes a bit longer.
Forcing Yourself Into the Status Quo
Some people jump into things. I know I did. You probably have as well. There are pressures all around us – from family, friends, media – to get things done and get them done early in life.
“You’re 18! You should be going to university/college!”
“You’re almost 30! You should really settle down and have children!”
“You’re getting too old to be chasing after pipe dreams! Find a real job!”
Lies. All of them! I will not stand to hear comments like that.
What’s wrong with people saying that? I know that they are right. Everyone else is doing the same thing. Why am I so special to rebel?
These comments cause you to commit to things that you may not yet be ready for. You find yourself imprisoned in a marriage that you cannot stand, you find yourself unable to look after your children in the way you imagined, you find yourself in debt because you are enrolled in a program that you no longer care for.
Take your time. Some people are not ready to jump into things like this right away. Sometimes we aren’t ready or we aren’t prepared for the consequences. It’s not wrong, it doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you, … well, you!
Here’s the thing. Human beings, as a species, constantly adapt to our environments. It’s why we’re here today. Many, many years ago, we would only live for a short time. It became important to find a spouse before you were in your mid 20s, otherwise you wouldn’t have enough time to have children and watch them grow. That being said, you would also have to find a suitable career for your prospective family.
Now, we are living longer. We are surrounded by advancements in medicine and technology that allow us to extend our lifespan. The same rules no longer apply. So, go have fun with your time!
Re-Starting Later in Life
This is a theme for many of us. The older you get, the more you see that it does happen. People realize that their career is not fulfilling, the person that they’re with is not making them happy, their lives are less than what they want. So, they pick things up. Perhaps age has a way of making someone less ashamed to do these things.
I’ve seen someone in their 40s enroll themselves in college to pursue a new career path. Many may have told her that she’s silly and that she may only get a few years in the new role before she would have to retire. So? Also, the sad reality is that many of us don’t retire at the “normal retirement age”.
I know someone who decided to try to learn how to play a guitar late in life. He enrolled himself in a program that primarily teaches children, but there he was.
If taking things slow allow you to live a life that you can be proud of, why would you ever want to change that? So, if you don’t hear this within this year, know that it is okay to take your time. We learn at different paces and life is a learning experience.
So, take a deep breath. Let go of the unattainable goals, and focus on what you want, what you need, in this very moment. Do you need a break? Take 5 minutes. Drink some water. Have some tea. Wherever you are, put yourself first and really mean it.
Let go of the end goal. The lessons you learn along the journey are far more important. The achievements are just the cherry on top.
Happy New Year everyone!