One of my favourite blogs to read each day is The Interiors Addict. The author Jen Bishop is a Sydney-sider like me, is fanatically about interiors and appliances and hugely successful in the blog world. (Go check her out!)
One of Jen’s recent posts – Off Topic Tuesday: stop putting pressure on yourself to do everything by a certain age – had a snowball effect on her readers. Especially me. It was the perfect moment to stop and reflect on why I worried so much about completing my life goals by age 27. Living day to day is hard enough without the added pressure of expectations. And really, why do we care what other people think?
The inspiration for Jen’s post came from the Huffington Post – 20-something does NOT have to be 20-everything . I urge you to read it. It will resonate with you.
I’m currently in my 30’s. I’m happy. I’m healthy, I’m in love. My family and friends are great. My furry kids give the greatest happiness. My career is at a good place. And the reason why I’m doing OK (for the moment)? No more pressure. No more negativity. I’ve let it all go. It was to consuming.
Being happy and healthy is my one and only goal now.
However, there was a time in my life when I absolutely thought I had everything figured out by the age of 18. I had my goals lined up and ready to tick off one by one. In my head, my goals sounded liked this:
Attend University, form great friendships, be invited to incredible parties, find a steady boyfriend, travel overseas, forge a successful career, marriage, mortgage and rug rats. I wanted all this by the age of 27!!!!!!!!!!
But at the age of 21, the death of a very young family friend made me change my perspective. Life is short. I wanted to laugh and have fun every day. I didn’t want to conform and get lost in society’s expectations. Each day is precious and I didn’t want to miss out on anything.
My first decision was to break up with my boyfriend at the time. I was 21 years old and had dated for 5 years. Whilst it hurt, I realised I didn’t want to marry him. We weren’t suited at all. So we parted ways, screamed a lot, sold our investment house and I moved to the other side of Sydney. It’s one of the bravest decisions I ever made.
My next decision was to find new friends. I truly cherished my high school friendships but living far away from them was isolating. New friendships were formed. My best friend and soul mate were found. A new boyfriend arrived on the scene and 5 years later he became my husband. I broke tradition and asked him to marry me. Shocking, right? I asked his parents for their blessing, got down on bended knee and slipped a ring onto his finger. I was 26 years young when we married and I’m extremely proud of my courage to ask the man I love to marry me.
Traveling was also high on the agenda. Hubby and I have traveled to over 20 countries in recent years. Working in tourism and having no rug rats at this stage of our lives makes it easy for us to pack up and leave whenever we want. Spain, Vietnam, USA, Bali, Italy, Fiji, Thailand, Vanuatu, Canada and many more. Being able to travel is is one of my biggest blessings …. and it’s the only thing you buy that makes you richer.
Having a mortgage is tough. Hubby and I decided to move far away from family and friends and try a new lifestyle by the beach. We lived on Sydney’s northern beaches for 4 years and finally decided it wasn’t for us. The travel to work each day was draining and we never had time to visit the beach! So we sold our place, moved closer to the city again and started living the lifestyle we always wanted. Yes, we rent! Shock. Horror. Guess what? We’ve never been happier.
Reflecting on all this, makes we want to talk to the girl in her 20s. I’d tell her to relax, reduce the pressure, flirt with men (before marriage!), be kind to family, treasure your friendships, pay off your credit card debt, stop focusing on what you don’t have, be aggressive with your career, be proud of your achievements instead of hiding them, be patient with the journey to parenthood, be grateful for your blessings and most importantly have fun along the way.
Fall in love with your life …. Because you only get one shot at this.