Does anyone else feel like we live in an age where everyone is supposed to be ‘successful’ by the time they are 25? And if you haven’t ‘made it’ and got all your ducks in a row before that quarter-of-a-century mark, you’ve automatically failed at everything and it’s now too late to make anything of your life? Yeah, I feel it. Especially as I turn 25 this year.
As much as I read that your 20s are a time set aside for self-discovery, making mistakes, trying new things and generally for working out who you are and what you’re doing to do in your life, I definitely feel a lot of pressure to have at least one area of my life figured out and taking off. I see a lot of my friends are already working their way up the career ladder, the property ladder, getting married and/or living a dream-life travelling the world and uploading all their amazing photos (damn you, social media.)
What’s even scarier is that these ’20s’ are going to fly by (anyone else feel like entire years go by in what feels like weeks?) and before I know it, I’ll be celebrating the big 3-0. Now, considering I’ve pretty much already missed the ’25’ deadline for having my life together, I really, really can’t afford to not have anything to say for myself by age 30. (I’m absolutely joking about this entire post, by the way. Kind of.) Today, I wanted to make a light-hearted list of fun things I want to be able to talk about should I ever go to a high-school reunion. Here is my “30 things before 30” bucket list.
- Speak another language to a reasonable degree, to facilitate my spectacular world travels.
- Have a big, fat portfolio of published articles.
- Learn to take good photos of people and places and have physical copies in an album.
- Have at least 1 photo of myself that I actually like.
- Develop a habit of waking up early and doing yoga.
- Have a job (ANY JOB) that I like and will stay at for some time.
- Have a savings account (with some money in it.)
- Finally tame the unruly beast that is my hair.
- Write a book.
- Learn some kind of athletic skill, like dancing or a martial art.
- Create some art that I am proud of.
- Volunteer for an important cause.
- Read a lot of books, including all the books I should have already read (Pride and Prejudice.)
- Have a healthy lifestyle.
- Live somewhere exciting.
- …in a house/flat that I love and can decorate how I want.
- Learn to drive, and buy a car.
- Have at least one outfit at my disposal that I could wear to a wedding.
- Educate myself on important social issues, namely intersectional feminism and racial injustice.
- Spend a whole summer at a beach town.
- Go to a big music festival.
- Visit 6/7 continents (not fussed about Antarctica, to be honest.)
- Stop being intimidated by people I deem ‘more successful’ than me.
- Stay at a job long enough to get a promotion.
- Declutter – only have things that I really need and/or love.
- Somehow get my skin to clear up.
- Be able to talk about my blog/writing without being embarrassed.
- Be able to talk about myself without being embarrassed.
- Be a better friend – make more effort to reach out and be better connected.
- Have a plan for the general direction of my life – know what I want to do and be on the right path.
I think the most important thing that I want to do before I turn 30 is to accept that there is no cut-off point for becoming successful. Success has a different definition for everyone, and whilst I do think it’s good to set goals and some people (like me) are motivated by time limits, it’s important not to lose motivation after the ‘deadline’ has passed. Life doesn’t stop after a certain age, and opportunities don’t have age limits. What I really want to achieve is to stop comparing myself to other people, bearing in mind what I ‘should’ be doing and feeling like a failure if I haven’t done it all yet. Yes, I want to have lots of things to show off about at that imaginary high school reunion, but I won’t achieve those things if I waste time being jealous of the promotions, engagement rings and new houses that the people I barely know are posting on Facebook. I want to focus on what makes me happy and put effort into getting really good at those things, whilst celebrating the success and happiness of everyone who is doing the same. It’s sometimes easy to forget that life isn’t a competition, and other people’s success doesn’t take away from my own.
Anyway, this whole post isn’t really supposed to be taken seriously. In case it’s not clear, I don’t really believe that I have to have my life completely in order in 5 years’ time. I don’t actually think that any adult, however old they are, feels totally together all the time (right?) and I think that everyone is always kind of bumbling along through life, not really sure what is going to come next. That’s what makes it interesting.
Thanks for reading!