When searching for life guidance and inspiration, you have a wealth of resources at your fingertips – opinion articles, blogs, google, buzzfeed – about all the things you should be doing in your 20s, 30s, 40s and about all the people kicking ass in the world.
The blogs about your late 20s tell you various things. Some say focus on your career and its time to think about the future cos you’re too old to be cruising anymore. Others say, savings? mehhh – travel the world, meet new people, be single and rock that nomad life cos shit gets real once you’re 30. Others say focus on your relationships with your family & friends and add in fun facts like how most of us will meet the love of our lives in our 20s…. blah blah blah
Ummmm, I’m sorry, but am I the only one who’s confused?
Which one is it world?!
And how do you balance pursuits that can contest the other? Savings vs travel, travel vs career, career vs people time.
Granted there are some people in the world in their 20s who appear to achieve everything at the same time. But some of us don’t. I know I don’t. And the pressure seems to be even greater as you approach your 30s. It ain’t just your relatives telling you ‘you gotta get your shit together’. Its YOU telling yourself that. Or your friends… or worse, your 23 year old brother *groan*
But what do we even mean by ‘getting our shit together’? And WHO exactly judges whether we have/haven’t got it together?
Does someone have it together simply because they are earning top dollar? Or cos they are married?
Or is it measured against the benchmark of where we ‘should’ be in life by 30? What is that benchmark and who decided it’s even the benchmark? Everyone has a different view of it but when we judge where we are in life, we sometimes compare ourselves with someone on a completely different trajectory and immediately think they are kicking life goals and we aren’t.
Of course they are kicking goals! BUT they are kicking THEIR goals, NOT YOURS.
So what are our goals? The thing about all the views of what we ‘should’ be doing in our 20s is the reality that not all of us want all those things. We don’t even want the same things as our friends. I’m someone that wanted to experience life in another city, travel Europe and meet new people. The desire for that was so strong that I left a lot of things back home to do it. But I know a lot of people have no desire to travel or live in another city. That doesn’t mean my life is any better than theirs and it doesn’t mean that they are smarter for not wanting what I want. Other people want to settle down and marry young but that doesn’t mean they’ve got it all together more than someone who wants to pursue other things. We all want different things from life, and our 20s let us learn and define what those things are – at this time. Because there is a good chance that it will change over time.
Now some of us do want it all in our 20s – career, travel, family, friends, savings, love, experiences, a property empire… the list goes on. Guilty as charged right here!
…And when you want it all it can be hard to achieve it, and you end up getting nothing.
Jokes, you don’t get nothing! But you can feel disheartened when you don’t have it all at once. In reality, you’ve probably managed to achieve 6/8 things. But you end up focusing on the 1 or 2 things you don’t have which sometimes makes you feel like you got nothing. I read a great article recently about why Gen Y is unhappy even when things are going great. And it all goes back to our own perception of where we are vs others. Even those before mentioned people who seem to achieve it all – do they really? Truth is, we don’t know where others are at in life cos we don’t know the whole picture. We only know what they allow us to see.
So why would we choose to compare ourselves with the tip of an iceberg when we have no comprehension of the iceberg itself?
Today as I set out on my last year in the 20s, I’m reflecting on the things I do have rather than the things I don’t. And I’m taking on 2016 focusing on just 2 things:
Travel – the big reason I even moved here! I want to see new places, meet new people and eat amazing food! For me, travel has got the best ROI and I intend on milking it to the max!
Relationships – Living away from your family and friends back home makes it extra challenging and you really got to put in the effort to nurture those relationships. But its not just about them. I want to focus on the ones I have here in London too – the special people I have met here who have made London my new home. Plus I have this annoying habit of never giving up on the people I love. So you’re kinda stuck with me if I really care about you :p #sorry #notsorry
I’m not going to worry about saving every £, or working on a summer bod, or pursuing some of my other passions. Those are just bonus points. E.g Summer bod gets extra bonus points – hello European vacays;)
If an opportunity for something else that I thought I didn’t want (but I actually might want) comes along, I’m grabbing it with both hands. Cos you’d be a fool to let go of a good thing.
As for having my shit together, I don’t. And I’ve realised I never will. Because that’s life. It’s constantly changing and as we grow the things we want change and more importantly WE CHANGE. Life isn’t a race and there is no finish line (except for the obvious). So this whole concept of having it together is great in memes and to laugh about with friends but it isn’t worth actually worrying about. Easier said than done, but it’s something I’m going to remind myself of always!
All we can do is be true to ourselves and go after what we want in life. As they say, our biggest regrets are the things we don’t do rather than the things we do. So if we do what we really want, we can pursue a life without regret.
Which to me sounds like a recipe to kick some serious life goals and be fabulous!