Sometimes I look at my life and can’t believe that I’m 28. A younger Tiffany would have thought that by 28, she would have a career, a husband and possibly even a child. A younger Tiffany would have expected that by 28, she would no longer have to worry about getting pimples or forgetting to put on deodorant in the morning. A younger Tiffany would have thought that by 28, she wouldn’t care about what people thought of her, she would have doused all of her insecurities and she would have felt, at least on some level, successful.
It’s kind of daunting when you think about the expectations put on people at such a young age. We’re consistently asked what we want to be when we grow up. We create unrealistic timelines of our lives. We form friendships and relationships that we expect to last forever and feel heartbroken when they don’t. We get caught up in the comparison game before we even realize what’s happening. Between fighting to be the valedictorian or the school newspaper editor or the head cheerleader or starting quarterback, we spend our lives comparing ourselves to others and living in shame when we don’t live up to our own expectations and those thrust upon us.
When we’re in high school, we’re expected to pick a college major that determines the rest of our future. When we graduate from college, we’re expected to get a job that will be the starting point for the rest of our career. When we get a job, we’re expected to keep climbing that corporate ladder until we reach the top of the food chain. Then when we don’t meet those expectations, we label ourselves failures, especially when the people you went to school with are thriving.
I’m 28-years-old, and I don’t have a career or a husband or a savings account. I do have student loan and credit card debt, a pimple on my lip the size of Australia and adult ADHD, and I’m learning to accept that that’s okay (minus the pimple; that’s got-ta go).
The truth of the matter is, every person’s journey is different. Success is a relative term, and one person’s success may seem like a hindrance to another. Success for one person may look like making X amount of dollars per year while another person’s success is becoming a mother. One person’s success may be opening a business and another person’s success may be writing a book. One person’s success may be landing a gig on a hit TV show and another person’s success may be being happy, no matter what the circumstance. There are people who find success at 25 and others who don’t find it till 40. Everything about success, just like life in general, is unpredictable. The great thing about it is there’s no due date for success. There’s no due date for feeling like you have your life together.
No, you may not have become a lawyer or find someone to put a ring on it before you turned 30, and sure, you racked up some credit card debt that you’re slowly paying off at your waitressing job, but guess what…it’s okay. Honestly. Stop beating yourself up. Everyone else does that enough for you. You have to be your own head cheerleader and fight for your own success because that’s what everyone else is doing. So what if your plans didn’t pan out? Make new plans. Create new goals. Redefine what success means to you. The only thing certain about life is everything is uncertain. Everything changes. YOU change, and your idea of success has to change when something doesn’t pan out the way you wanted it to.
So yes, I’m 28-years-old, and I still don’t have my life together, but I do have so many places to travel to, so many books to read, so many people to make memories with, so much more life to live and so much time to get my sh*t together. And so do you.
What’s something you had planned that didn’t work out?