I’m going to be 26 next month. Not a milestone birthday but one that has got me thinking. I honestly think the ages of 21-30 are some of the toughest years of your life and here’s why…
Ages 0-12: time goes ever so slowly as a kid and those years are filled with excitement, new experiences and hope for the future.
Ages 12-16: admittedly life does get a little tough at these ages (thank you puberty) but you get to see your friends every day at school and even though you have to do exams you’re still hopeful for what the future brings.
Ages 16-21: exams still loom on the horizon but even though you may be a student you still have your mum and dad to fall back on for moral (and maybe financial) support. You’re at the age where you literally don’t have any money but are still feverishly excited at what passing exams/graduating/starting your first job may bring.
Then you have this period between ages 21 and 30 where so much is expected of you. As soon as you start climbing the career ladder you feel like you need to start achieving more (whether that be by buying your first house, getting married, having kids for example) whilst at the same time you are desperately trying to figure out whether what you are doing with your life is right.
And who knows what is ‘right’? I’ve realised recently that at aged 25 I am still so young and have it all ahead of me. There’s no rush to try and figure everything out and although I don’t want to just ‘go with the flow’, I certainly do not need to start meticulously planning every small detail.
My partner sent me this image a couple of weeks ago and it put everything into perspective:
As the image illustrates, there are people like J K Rowling who for years didn’t have enough money and survived on benefits. But she kept on grafting and kept on believing and then she made it big. My view on this is the fact that she didn’t ‘have it all’ in the first place was what kept her so driven because she needed that break. She most likely wouldn’t have had that determination in her early-mid twenties.
The squiggle in this image is sometimes how I feel; a little unsure due to wandering thoughts about who I want to ‘be’.
I’ve finally realised that there is no true path to success and you certainly don’t need to feel like you’ve done it all by the time you are 30. A lot of people find inspiration in other areas of their lives; such as when they have kids or when they’re going through a tough time mentally or financially.
Life wasn’t designed to be mapped out. Think about our cavemen ancestors and how they simply lived day by day, with little choices or decisions to be made. It is the modern world that has made us constantly strive to be better (social media, you are to blame) and there is certainly no problem with ambition (if there was no ambition we would still be stuck as cavemen!) but once in a while it’s healthy to take a step back and think ‘hey, I’m doing okay’.
Please leave your comments below. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on what you deem ‘success’ to look like.