Next year, I’ll be turning the dreaded Big 3-0. In reality, I’m not dreading it at all. I’m actually looking forward to being 30. But many 29-year-olds feel extreme pressure to have something big accomplished in their lives by the time they turn 30. They have meltdowns and become depressed because their life didn’t turn out the way they had hoped, and they haven’t achieved their dreams yet.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Here’s why I think it’s OK to cut yourself some slack and not have achieved your biggest dreams by 30 — or even 40.
If you’re comparing yourself to the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, or any “successful” young person right now, know that the odds of being that rich and successful aren’t really in your favor. That might sound like some negative talk, but I’m just being real here. If everyone were that rich, no one would be rich; it would just be the norm. Success in the eyes of the world can be fleeting, and it certainly doesn’t mean anything by the time you die. You can’t take stuff with you, so why focus on materials?
Now, let’s tone down our goals for a second. Maybe you aren’t comparing yourself to the Facebook billionaire, but you are holding yourself to a very high — nearly impossible — standard. Maybe you’re like me, and you have dreams of writing a novel. But you don’t just want to write a novel — you want to write a bestselling novel like the Harry Potter series. That is just one example of holding yourself to an extremely high standard.
See where I’m going with this?
Putting so much pressure on ourselves can make us feel inadequate, like we can’t accomplish anything because we aren’t as successful as the Mark Zuckerbergs or the J.K. Rowlings of the world.
This simply is not true! We have to stop telling ourselves such awful lies!
If I’m being honest with myself, the reason why I haven’t penned a novel yet is because I want to write a bestselling novel. I want the plot to be so good that millions of readers fall in love with the story and can’t put it down. I want it to be a book that becomes an instant classic. But having all of those thoughts rolling around in my head makes it extremely hard for me to focus on just writing a good novel. This is the roadblock that I have to get past or else I’ll never write anything.
If you have similar roadblocks, how can we both cope with such a cumbersome mindset?
I would first suggest being grateful for the life you have right now.
Think back on how your life has changed over the years. Look how far you’ve come. I’m sure there’s at least one thing you can be grateful about at this point in your life. If you truly can’t think of anything, consider cultivating gratitude each day, where you reflect on the day and pick out one thing you are thankful for. It could be something simple, like the fact that you woke up this morning and have breath in your lungs.
Gratefulness is a great way to appreciate life.
Taking time to reflect — instead of going through the hustle and bustle of everyday life — can have a huge impact.
My second piece of advice is understanding that there is no deadline for your life, so there are no deadlines for your dreams.
It’s great to have goals. But it can be tiresome going from one goal to the next without taking time to appreciate the in between. Your life is much more than a bunch of checklists. There is no set time frame on getting married, having children, being a CEO, etc. There is always an alternative route that yields the same result.
Maybe you are single and worried about losing your window to have children. This is a common worry for a lot of women, myself included. But if you truly wish to have children, it won’t matter to you whether you physically birth them or adopt them. Maybe you never become a mother but have wonderful nieces and nephews you can adore.
That’s the beauty of life. There is no one set door each one of us goes through.
Lastly, on the day you do turn 30, make it the best birthday ever.
It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but you could have the most important people in your life celebrate with you. That alone is truly amazing.
We’ve all had to learn some tough lessons in our 20s. Our 30s should be much more abundant because we’re so much wiser than we were at 21! We know a few things. Our lives are more stable. We don’t have to constantly check our bank account to see if there’s any money left. For me, that’s what’s gotten me so excited about turning 30. I have become a person I am proud of. My teens and early 20s are marred by embarrassing moments I can recall. I wasn’t as nice then as I am now. My heart has grown larger, and my view of the world has increased.
See? Your 30s won’t be so bad!
You will accomplish your dreams one day, I just know it.
As always, stay encouraged, friend.