In recent months, I’ve recognized my constant rush to move onto whatever’s next. In high school, I wanted to be in college. And in college, I wanted to be anywhere but college. As soon as I graduated, I wanted to buy a house. I’ve had tremendous difficulty living in the moment and appreciating how spectacular my life is.
It’s been a huge battle because as soon as I find joy and comfort in my decisions (like the one where I decided to travel the world and take advantage of my youth and such) somebody is telling me that I am doing it wrong. I receive so much advice and criticism from two particular age groups (uhh, cough, Boomers and Gen Xers).
It’s either “Take advantage of not being tied down. Travel and live your life!” or “When I was your age I had a house and a husband and 37 kids. And you live in your parents’ house? What a child!”
But I’ve come to realize something. These people are often giving advice from a place of lacking or regret. They rushed into “adulthood” and are either bitter about missed experiences or are trying so desperately to live vicariously through young people.
This past month, I visited my cousin in Brooklyn. She was hosting a “Friendsgiving” for a few friends. They were all older than me. Some were in their thirties and some were in their forties. What they all had in common was that none of them were married or had kids.
They were all well-traveled and living their best lives. A few of the girls who were closer to my age admitted that they are still trying to figure things out, which is 100% okay at any age.
Another thing they had in common? They all advised me not to rush. They assured me that I have so much time to live my life and do everything I want to do.
I valued their advice because I know it comes from a place of abundance. They’ve taken their time to really live and have not succumbed to the pressure to follow any sort of society-imposed timelines.
It was nice to feel like the path that I am on is completely and totally okay.
I think what irks older people about millennials (and the older Gen Zs) is that many people our age have adopted different definitions of adulthood. Getting married, buying a house and having babies are all things that adults do, but you don’t have to do them to be an adult.
Your maturity makes you an adult. And your maturity is not determined by a marriage license or a deed to a house.
On the same note, I don’t see an issue with settling down when you’re young, if that’s what truly makes you happy and it’s what you want to do.
There is not a singular “right way” to live your life. As long as your behavior isn’t detrimental to your wellbeing or hurting others, I really don’t think there is a problem.
Maybe it sounds a little cliche, but so many people miss out on so many amazing experiences for the silliest of reasons. It makes me so sad to see people go through their lives without experiencing all that they dream of due to their inability to put aside the opinions of others.
People tell me all the time that they want to do X, Y and Z then give BS excuses as to what is holding them back. Money is a limiting factor to many. But the same people who use money as an excuse often manage their finances very poorly.
I’m finally in a place in my life where I am excited for my future and the things that I am yet to accomplish, but I am not so eager to leave behind the experiences that are my current reality. I’m learning to live in a way that pushes me towards bigger things but does not rob me of the present.
I’ve been working on practicing gratitude and taking some time each day to appreciate and want what I have. Finding things that I am grateful for has become easier and easier. I’ve received so many blessings that were not from my own doing, but I have also received so much as a result of my hard work and careful planning.
This post was born of the explosion of some strong feelings and opinions, but I am now hoping that it is relatable to other people who are around my age or in positions similar to mine.
I will leave you with this: it is okay to be eager for the future, it is okay to take it slow and it is okay to live outside of the box.
There will be pressure coming from a thousand different directions, but don’t let anybody steer you away from creating the life that you want.