One minute I was in my 20’s dancing on the bar with friends and little responsibility. Then I blinked. Now I’m 30 married with two kids and a dog sitting at home working on my mom blog! I truly didn’t imagine having all of this going on by 30 but here I am. Things can get chaotic at times for anyone and I am no exception. But overall, I feel balanced and am genuinely happy and content with how it has all worked out so far. Here are just a few things I have learned along the way.
• Life Milestones and Timelines
Society (especially older generations) likes to set this standard that really isn’t what is best for everyone. You need to go to college, establish your serious career, then get married, move in with your spouse, buy a house, and then have kids. In that order within a time frame.
No, you don’t. There are people who don’t go to college and are still happy with their careers. There are people who are in a relationship without marriage plans and are happy that way. There are people who live in an apartment or rental and are happy that way. There are people who don’t have kids and are happy that way.
For those who do everything in society’s favorite order and are happy that way, that’s great! But the pressure to do everything by the book is unnecessary and unrealistic for many. I moved in with my husband after we had only been dating a couple of months. And then we got pregnant on accident! Whoops! We faced criticisms from those who weren’t happy with how we chose to do things and life still went on how we wanted it to.
Fast forward from that a few years later and the critics have nothing to say. We did things our way and I have zero regrets. Marriage is nice, our wedding was fun, and the honeymoon was exciting, but did it really change our bond or relationship with each other? Nope. Did we already get through a lot of tests by living together while dating and having a child before marriage? Yep.
I have learned from this that there is no correct way to do things. If someone doesn’t approve of the choices that you make as an adult, oh well! That’s their problem. If someone has the energy to be critical of your life, shrug it off and remember that it might be because they are unsatisfied with their own.
Staying on the subject of timelines – you do not have to know exactly what you want to do when you start college. I switched from criminal justice to human resources to business administration.
I graduated with my bachelor’s and for awhile went from job to job. I did this by choice. I was the dreaded “job-hopper” for a while. There were certain things about certain jobs and employers that I wasn’t a fan of so I made moves until I found my niche. I absolutely love what I am doing now and it took me a long time to get here. I don’t regret any of my decisions to leave my past employers. Don’t settle. Don’t get emotionally attached. Keep looking for what it is that you want until you find it. Put your goals first.
Over thirty years, things change, people change, and you change. Over time I have discovered more and more who I am and gained more confidence. I have moved to different cities, lived through personal situations, and done my research to form my own opinions on things. Although I am always willing to take a listen to what someone has to say, I also set personal standards and boundaries when it comes to character and behaviors.
Drug abuse, dishonesty, stealing, violence and inflated egos are a few of the things I keep away from myself and my children. Second chances are appropriate sometimes but this notion that we always need to forgive people for everything to be “right” is wrong and unrealistic. It’s ok to draw a line and have a reaction when people cross it. Your line doesn’t have to look the same as anyone else’s line.
Some people you will grow apart from not because of anything negative but because you simply head different directions and life gets busy. That’s ok. You always have the power to reach out and keep in touch if it’s worth the effort to you.
Other people you keep away or direct them out of your life because they don’t meet your standards. That’s ok. Boundaries should be designed to protect you. If someone is dragging you down, let them go. If you feel that you benefit them from your relationship but it’s not benefiting you – it’s ok to let it fade away. With family or others that you have been close to, it hurts at first but in the long run it’s worth it if they’re behaviors are toxic and emotionally exhausting. You are not required to keep someone in your life just because you’re family or have known them forever. When it comes to relationships the quality of relationships that you have is much more rewarding and meaningful than the quantity of relationships that you have.
In 30 years I have taken risks, had successes, made mistakes, and as of now feel happy with who I am and everything I have. If I had to sum up everything I have learned so far, it’s this: Striving for “perfection” and living to please others is not healthy. Do things your way – be a little selfish sometimes – things will fall into place with enough effort, balance, and a little bit of luck.
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