Pressure. It’s all around us. Are we doing the right thing? Should we be doing more? Must I look a certain way? It comes at us from all directions, most out of our control. Social media, advertising of all sorts, our family, our friends. Yet there is one type of pressure that we can work on and that’s the one that is within ourselves.
As a child I had all these years ahead of me, I planned out this expected path that I would take. Somehow whilst still in primary school I had decided when each milestone would happen, the order and the age it would be accomplished by. It must’ve just started as innocent conversations with friends. But these chats led to an internalisation of many expectations – all decided by me… before the age of 10! So here’s what I had planned –
- Finish primary school
- Go to the secondary school across the playing field
- First boyfriend by yr9/10
- Go to 6th form
- Go away to uni
- Be married by 25
- Children (probably 2) by 30
- Own a house by 30
That’s a lot of pressure on THIRTY. It seemed in my mind that I would be settled for life by then. I know that I didn’t ever think about how I would achieve these things I simply assumed that by 30 it would all be in place. Remember nobody told me I had to do these things, this was all ME.
Now obviously I did finish primary school! I also attended the secondary school across the playing field. Boyfriend wise no, I was 15. I did go to 6th form but I stayed home for uni. I actually got married at 23 and we did in fact have all our children before we turned 30. But we didn’t own a house by 30. I felt like I’d failed somehow as 30 edged closer. Of course I hadn’t, this was a completely internal pressure I’d put upon myself from a very young age. But it was imbedded in me as an expectation, so deeply that having not accomplished it I felt like I had failed myself. Like was there something I could’ve done differently to make that house by 30 a reality? Should I have returned to work after having our first baby? Should we have stayed living at home for longer to save, instead of moving out to rent? I’m pretty certain that renting for over 10 years was not on that life plan!
After a lot of hard work and some help we bought our house at the age of 32. We wanted this so that we could finally stop moving! We wanted a secure home for our family to grow up in with no worries of landlords deciding to sell, a place we could make our own. I got to 30 and laughed at those childhood expectations! It didn’t matter that I was a certain age, what did matter was that we were on the path towards our goal.
As I approach the middle of my 30’s I’ve learnt to ease up on those internal pressures. It’s always important to have goals we want to achieve but cut it a bit of slack! Work hard, work on the little things, take each step as it comes.
Now if I could just make my first million by the time I’m 40…. haha!