Life seems to be all about getting to the next step and if you’re not hitting those milestones in the predetermined time-frames then you are somehow failing.
As children, we are constantly told ‘when you’re older’ or ‘you are too small/young for that’ so it’s no wonder the constant rush to get to the next birthday is ever present. From staying up later, to being allowed out on your own, to watching certain things on TV or getting ears pierced, children will always compare themselves to the friend that is already doing these things.
However as an adult, what’s the rush? If we’re going to be brutally honest by wishing our life away the only thing we’re getting closer to is death! Yep sorry I know how bleak that sounds but once you’re an adult the milestones seem to be; buy a house, get married, have children, retire, be a grandparent (repeat pressure on your own kids) and erm… yep that’s it die!
I fully understand looking forward to thing, I’m constantly looking towards the next holiday, family meeting, big day out, basically anything that is slightly outside of the normal everyday BUT that doesn’t mean I am desperately hurtling towards the next major milestone and panicking that I’m not on target.
As a woman there seems to be even more pressure to hit the milestones before ‘time runs out’. I cannot keep track of the amount of time I’ve been asked by ‘when are you getting married?’ or ‘do you have children?’ Sometimes by family members, which is fine as they have a vested interest in my life or by complete strangers or people I haven’t seen for years, what is considerably less ok. I recently met a girl I’d gone to school with for the first time in nearly 20 years and once we’d got past the normally pleasantries, her question were, are you married and do you have children? When I said no to both, I could almost see the palpable sympathy, how could I have gone so wrong in life not to have done either of these things?
As it turns out next year, I will be hitting one of life’s great milestone next year as I’m getting married. I will be a 36 year old first-time bride and I am thrilled and yes, I am massively looking forward to it, not because I’m going to finally be ‘married’ and can tick that box but because I am marrying the love of my life and I am going in to this, knowing 100% he’s the right one because we haven’t rushed it, we haven’t settled, we haven’t done it because it was expected of us or because we’re both ‘getting on’ but because we want to. I am however pretty sure there are certain people out there thinking it’s about time!
What I can also guarantee is that about 5 minutes after our wedding, the next question will be, ‘when are you going to have babies?’ Now, I and my Hubby-to-be are not anti-children but we are certainly in no rush to start churning them out immediately. We’d like to enjoy married life for a little bit (or maybe even a big bit) first.
I know these are the traditional pathways though life but the expectations and the sheer will of other people can be somewhat daunting. Why can’t we all go through life without the constant pressure of whether or not we’re ‘on-track’ to reaching our supposed milestones? Let’s just all relax and enjoy the journey instead!