It’s Okay If You’re Not Where You Thought You’d Be In Life Right Now

How could I know at 16 what I would want at 28?
03/28/2017 11:28 am ET Updated Mar 30, 2017
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This post was originally published on Forever Twenty Somethings by Samantha Matt.

If you asked me years ago where I thought I’d be in life at age 28, this is what I would tell you: high-powered job, money in the bank, married, trying to have my first kid before 30 so I could be a young mom, getting ready to buy a home, basically a real adult with alllll of her sh*t together.

It’s not that I have my whole life planned out. I’ve changed what I’ve wanted to do as a career in my 20s more times than I change my outfit every morning. Just kidding, I changed my career path one time. I change my outfit three to six times every morning. But I at least had an idea of where I’d be and what I’d want when I turned 28.

But now I am 28, and I’m so far from where I thought I’d be at this age years ago.

I am 28, and I’m so far from where I thought I’d be at this age years ago.

I’m not married. I don’t make a lot of money. I still like to party (side note: not like I did in my early 20s). I’m nowhere near thinking about buying a home. I couldn’t handle having a kid right now, as I can barely handle taking care of myself. But even though I’m happy living life the way 28-year-old me wants to live life, part of me is constantly like, “Girl, what happened to our life plan? Why don’t you have money?  Why don’t you want to have a baby right now? Is something wrong with you?”

Because of this, my mood lately has been a combination of stress and anxiety. I’ve been unenthused and unimpressed with myself. I’m not in the mood for anything, but I’m also in the mood for everything. It’s like I’m waiting for someone to flip a switch so my whole life can change and my whole personality can change. So my wants, needs, and dreams can change to what I wanted them to be years ago at 28. But that isn’t happening.

And you know what? That’s okay. Which brings me to the point of this article: It’s okay if you’re not where you thought you’d be in life right now.

After all, what does that even mean, “where you thought you’d be in life?” (*vomit*)

As a kid, you form an idea of the person you will be when you grow up. This is due to society, movies, television, and people asking you where you see yourself 5, 10, and 20 years from now. You see and hear of people certain ages doing and accomplishing certain things, so you begin to associate ages with milestones. 21 is the age you party. 25 is the age you start to figure your life and career path out. 26 is when you stop partying. 27 is when you get engaged. 28 is when you have a high-powered job. 29 is when you buy a home. 30 is the time you start having kids, if you haven’t already. 

As you get older, you realize that this timeline you created for yourself is BS.

As you get older though, you realize that this timeline you created for yourself is bullsh*t. But for some reason, you still feel like you’re expected to accomplish all these things—and you still feel like you’re disappointing people by not accomplishing these things.

In reality, no one is expecting you to accomplish anything. You’re the only one holding yourself accountable for that life timeline. You’re the only one disappointed that you haven’t accomplished certain things. To be honest, no one cares that you’re still partying every weekend, even though there are people your age who aren’t. No one thinks you’re a failure because you haven’t yet found your dream job and are still struggling to get by financially, even though others your age are buying homes and going on vacation all the time. No one looks down upon you because you’re still single, when other people are getting married. In fact, no one cares.

If we all progressed through life at the same speed and wanted the same things at the same time, that would be boring. If you didn’t grow and change, that would be boring, too.

So no, I am not “where I thought I’d be” at age 28. But that’s good. That means I’ve changed. That means I don’t want the same things I thought I would want when I was younger. I mean, how could I know at 16 what I would want at 28? I don’t even know what I want for dinner tonight.

It’s time to crumble up your old life timeline and toss it in the garbage. Take life as it comes. Do what makes you happy. Don’t try to be someone you’re not because you wanted to be that someone years ago. Be who you are. And if that person changes, accept it.

You’ll be so much happier once you stop associating ages with milestones and just start living your life. Seriously.

Forever Twenty Somethings is an online magazine helping people navigate their 20s and beyond. Follow them on Twitter at @forever20tweets and author Samantha at @SamanthaMatt1.

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