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Jaimee Ratliff Headshot

Can We Stop Feeling Like We're Doomed After Our Twenties Now?

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I'm addicted to millennial culture -- that seems pretty fair since I am one after all.

So, if there's information circulating about twenty-somethings, you can bet I'm all over it.

But lately, I haven't been a fanatic of the endless articles that offer to-do lists of things you're "supposed" to accomplish at various ages -- specifically your twenties. I'm sure you've probably ran across a few of these yourself. You know, the listicles that leave you with the impression that if you haven't figured out your true calling by the time you say au revior to your twenties, you're pretty much unprepared for the next decade.

For a while, I was probably one of many who would read these lists, use them as a benchmark against my own progress in life and shamefully think to myself, "I'm so behind!"

But not anymore.

I won't continue riding on the bandwagon that says if you haven't accomplished a certain amount of goals by a certain age, you're slacking.

As a matter of fact, I'm hopping off right now.

According to society, it almost seems like if you haven't flown around the circumference of the world twice, created the next big social network, gotten married or made it on someone's "30 under 30" list by the time you hit your thirties, you're really uncool and should just crawl under a rock. After all, the airlines won't be selling a ticket to anyone past their twenties that wants to go backpacking in Europe, right? Wrong. So very wrong.

I think most of us twenty-somethings have built non-negotiable timelines into our life plans -- great career by 23, dream car by 25, dream house by 26, married by 27, kids by 30 -- and consistently get discouraged when things don't come into fruition as fast as we want or as quick as our peers seem to be succeeding. Oh, the beauty of smoke and mirrors that is social media.

The reality is, everyone has different goals in their life that may take them more time to reach a desired level of success -- whatever that may look like for them. And by taking more time, I'm talking time that extends well into the thirties or forties --or maybe even fifties.

There's no reason to rush and this isn't a race.

Some people may want to climb the corporate ladder while others desire nothing more than to bury the ladder and become their own boss. Some millennials prefer to get married at a younger age and start a family, and a few will wait a bit longer or soon discover that adoption is perfect for them. Adventure, travel and an intense desire to explore the world may be on your agenda while your best friend will become devoted to volunteering and giving back within their community.

It's perfectly okay to switch up your career path too -- yes, even in your thirties or beyond -- and go back to school if you want to. Maybe you're just not as thrilled about becoming an engineer anymore -- maybe you recently discovered you're into fashion or photography or culinary arts. Maybe somewhere along the way, you decide to take a career break and spend a year teaching English in a foreign country. However, maybe you don't quite have it figured all the way out yet because like so many other twenty-somethings, you too are multi-passionate and are still figuring out what keeps you up at night.

Regardless of where your life takes you, everyone won't have the desire to check the same boxes off on those lists and shouldn't feel like they have to either.

Trust me I get it.

I understand our twenties are truly valuable years where it's more socially "acceptable" to make mistakes, learn life enhancing lessons, feel unsure of what path you want to take and turn into a deer in headlights when someone asks, "So what are you truly passionate about?"

But the beautiful reality is, even beyond our twenties, there's always going to be more learning, more growing and many more goals to accomplish -- on your own time, at your own pace.