Looking around me, about 80% of the people I know, read about or see on social media and TV seem to follow a similar life pattern of ticking goals off the life checklist to become a fully fledged adult and although the order of events vary, the general story is the same. It often starts with gaining the relevant qualifications, leading onto landing a job or career that you feel settled in, passing your driving test, meeting the one then going down the conventional route of moving in together, getting married and having children. I recognise that there are many people for whom life doesn’t follow this pattern as things often don’t work out as planned but most people seem to meet at least half of these objectives by the time they’re in their mid thirties. Most of my friends have achieved at least three of them already and my newsfeed is full of people getting the keys to their first house, engagements, births and weddings.
Personally, I don’t really have any life plan or goals and have only ticked two things off the list, being qualifications and meeting who I believe and hope to be the one but the journey of life doesn’t run smoothly and there are many unexpected bumps and obstacles along the way. By failing three driving tests due to anxiety and just not feeling confident enough in my ability I fell at one of the first hurdles but I’m trying to teach myself not to feel like a failure. As for the rest of the list, other than moving in with my partner which feels like a distant dream due to the cost of mortgages and bills, I’m not sure if I actually desire the conventional path of marriage and children. Call me selfish but the thought of spending any spare cash on regular holidays and any free time pursuing passions and catching up on sleep appeals to me far more than marriage or parenthood! That said, if my boyfriend proposed and we already had our own place and were stable financially I wouldn’t say no but marriage has never been a priority for me. As for the thought of being a parent it involves way too much responsibility, worry and not enough sleep!
I’m secure in my decisions but can’t help but feel in the minority as I don’t seem to want what most others do. When people discuss their wedding plans and the joys of parenthood I have nothing to contribute. I feel like Peter Pan, the eternal child as despite being 28 I still live at home, am currently unemployed and don’t feel anywhere near ready to deal with any ‘adult’ responsibilities. I would love to hear from others around my age who feel the same. My advice to those who are struggling to acheive conventional standards is to be proud of who you are, what you want (and don’t want) and not to feel pressured to live a life that isn’t for you just because it’s what everyone else seems to be doing. Also, don’t beat yourself up if you fall at any hurdles, some things just aren’t meant to be or if it’s something you’re really passionate about then pick yourself up and try again, even if you need some time out to reevaluate before doing so.