I wonder if my friends have more money than me, perhaps I’m not making enough…
All of my friends seem to be in relationships, and I feel I’m missing out…
I don’t know what I want my career to be, and everyone else seems to have it figured out…
My family is starting to pressure me to get married, but I haven’t even been in love yet…
Is everyone else as miserable in their job as I am?
Am I doing as well as people expect me to be?
These are thoughts that a lot of people have whilst navigating adulthood. Everyone is on different paths in life, and it’s natural to wonder if you are ‘keeping up’.
I felt very behind when everyone was in uni in 2014 after graduating from school. It seemed that EVERYONE was at uni knowing exactly what they wanted to do and there I was, having no damn idea whatsoever. I did not have complete peace with my life then, simply because I felt unsuccessful. I worried I was a let down because I wasn’t studying at university or knew what I wanted to do (stupid societal pressures).
A really big turning point in my life was when I discovered my true calling and passions, but also when I realised that life is not a race. So what if I started uni in 2016? I still don’t have a proper ‘career’ at 21, but I love what I do and am happy every day. I used to put SO much pressure on myself to have a job where I knew I wouldn’t be happy but at least I would look like I had my life together, and now I realise that giving into society’s pressures is a toxic way to live.
The truth is, there’s no set path in life. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you should graduate at 21, have a serious boyfriend, climb the corporate ladder and be married at 27.
Life is full of all sorts of people on different paths. This is what makes life amazing, crazy and worth living. Imagine how boring it would be if we were all on the same path (and how much more traffic there would be lol).
Your goals and plans will be tainted if you compare yourself to others. Your thoughts won’t be as clear, and your successes will be subconsciously undermined by yourself. Have the confidence to back up where you are in life and be proud of where you stand. Talk about your goals and dreams openly, be happy for others’ successes, and never be harsh on yourself.
When you forget about what everyone else is doing and just focus on your own goals, you will feel SUCH an immense weight lifted off your shoulders. Wake up in the morning with your own focus and goals on how YOU want your life to be, not how others want your life to be!
So what if you have trouble doing this? What if you can’t shake what everyone expects of you?
In a book I received from my friend Sharnika called The Crosswords of Must and Should, it explains that Should is how people want you to live your life. On the other hand, Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our most authentic self.
Must is when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own- and this allows us to cultivate our full potential as individuals.
An example it gives of how you can find what you must do instead of what people expect you should do, is to look at your childhood.
‘Nowhere is the essence of Must more purely exhibited than in childhood. What were you like as a child? What did you enjoy doing? Were you solitary or enjoyed a crowd? Were you independent or collaborative? Day optimiser or day dreamer? If you don’t remember, call your mum. Write down notes on a piece of paper, these stories hold the earliest seedlings of Must.’
Choosing Must raises scary questions. You may ask yourself; How will I pay my rent if I quit the job I hate? If I want to choose must, when do I start? How do I explain this to my boss? Do my ideas matter? How can I find more time? What will my family think? What if I try to find my calling and don’t find it?
The answers are in yourself, and will only come if you are brave enough to try.
People in life will pressure you to be on a path they envision is what’s best, such as getting engaged, settling into a job, receiving higher wages etc- it’s inevitable. People can be nosy f***s, so swiftly tell people to mind their own business!