age pressure, deadlines, and becoming

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Why do I feel like there is a deadline that I have to meet by the age of 30? That by the time my big 3-0 comes around, I have to have a significant amount of money in my bank accounts, that I have to not only have this great career but that I have to be flourishing and climbing the corporate ladder, that all my debt has to be paid, that I have to own a home of my own, and that I have to have a perfect credit score? Why is it that when I do hit thirty, and I’m not in the career of my dreams, and I’m still paying off debts, that I’ll feel like I’ve failed; or even worse, that it is too late? The conversations of women in their twenties feeling like they have to meet a certain deadline, and women over 30 feeling like it’s too late, has been circulating around me a lot lately.

After launching my first blog post, my mother approached me with advice. She said: “Your blog is about becoming, but maybe there are women over 30 who may feel like ‘becoming’ is for 20-somethings who are at the start of their lives and have a blank canvas making it possible for them to “become” anything or everything. What about the women who are passed their twenties, and feel like it’s too late for them? Maybe you could write something that addresses women of any age and inspires them, and allows them to feel confident in the fact that their journey isn’t over, and that they too, are still ‘becoming’.”

I could not agree more, because society not only has expected accomplishments set up for us, but there is also an issue of time and age. There’s this idea that you’re supposed to try and fail and try again, travel, and keep a momentum of youthful spontaneity in your twenties, before settling down finally in your thirties and “getting your life together,” and if your life didn’t follow that pattern, well, it’s too late for you.  There’s also the idea that you have to be married by a certain age and have kids by a certain time, but that’s not the case either.

My mom, went back to college at the age of 43 (while she had two teenage daughters, and a full time job.) Though it wasn’t as easy as it would have been when she was 18, she didn’t let all the challenges keep her from getting her bachelors degree, and though she was 43, she didn’t let her age stop her from her pursuit of bettering herself. She’s about to turn 47 and recently decided to start reading (something she wasn’t fond of before), and now, she’s made a habit of reading one book a month as a means of escape, but also as a commitment to keep learning.

This blog is titled “her becoming” and by “her” I meant me, but also, all the women out there of every age. Because the truth is, we are all always becoming. We are always moving, always changing, always learning, and always growing. You’re not the same person you were ten years ago, and I bet if you really reflected inwardly, you’d realize that even in the past year you’ve changed. We are always becoming different versions of ourselves. This blog is a way for me to put down my thoughts, share them, and connect with others. It is an act of courage on my part, to put myself out there, and inspire others to do the same. I hope, whoever you are, that you do not feel like it is too late for you, that you commit yourself to a life of learning and growing. You can shed previous selves, you can change your habits, you can find new hobbies, you can start again; you can become someone new, the someone you want to be.

So you’re 50 years old, you hate your job, and you don’t feel satisfied with where you’re at? Change it. Your age shouldn’t stop you from living your best life. Find a job you’ll love, go take salsa classes, or better yet, go to Spain! I’m a big advocate for travel and am disappointed to have heard so many people, older than I am, say: “well of course you should travel, you’re young.” Age should not stop you from seeing the world. Age should not stop you from living your best life.

Society plays the most prominent role in why we feel so much pressure (especially as women) by time. Age pressure is alive and well, and it truly affects how we value ourselves and where we’re at. I’ve heard single mothers and divorcees discuss how they’ve been called “damaged or used goods.” First off, you are not a commodity, and second, just because life didn’t work out the way you planned, doesn’t mean it’s too late for a better plan. Just because you have two kids, and some gray hairs, does not make you less “eligible” in the dating world. And speaking of gray hair, there is also this idea that young is beautiful and old is..well, not. Yes, you’ve been kissed by the lips of time longer than those girls on the cover of magazines, but their beauty doesn’t take from your own. Your gray doesn’t make you less valuable, and your wrinkles don’t take away from your worth. You are not defined by your age, and honestly, you should not be defined by your looks either. What we bring to the table, is who we are. And who we are is a big mosaic of our passions, and experiences. Time touches us all, but don’t let him become an inhibitor to all you can be. Live your life with complete disregard of society’s invisible deadlines and age pressure.

I want to inspire you, whether you are 14, 27, 49, or 65, that you do not have an expiration date, that you do not lose value with age, and that you are ALWAYS becoming.

We have time to achieve what we want, we have the capability of trying new things, we have the opportunity to keep moving forward, and to do so without the fear of time constraining us. Let your passions guide you toward the beautiful life you deserve. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to settle, that you have to stay where you are, or that you’ve missed your time. Your time is now, what are you going to do with it?

 

 

 

 

 

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