Lately, I have seen a lot of articles with this title on the internet. Several things that you have to do or be before the same number in age. Even some friends have sent me some links and compared their life to the list. In my opinion, these articles are all wrong. All of those lists about traveling, getting to know new people every day, buying a house, having children, and whatnot, well, they are stupid.
I am not calling the amazing people that write these articles stupid. By no means am I saying that. They are trying to help others get some perspective about what is worth spending your precious one life on, and what is not. Guidebooks of dos and don’ts.
However, they should always include one asterisk that overwrites everything in those articles: you know best what is good for you.
No matter how many lists you see, you should never feel bad about not ticking off any of the items on them. If you want to have a drink at 8 am, well if you are an adult and don’t have a dodgy relationship with alcohol, then, by all means, have that glass if you feel like it (don’t drink and drive though). If you can go on a vacation and want to go on it, even if you are going alone, do it. If you want to go to the restaurant, theater, concert, zoo alone and can do so, then go for it. If you want to adopt, do it. If you want to try and be a model at 68, you can be.
If you don’t want to go to a social gathering because you’d rather stay indoors and watch How I Met Your Mother for the 15th time, please, take a seat and swaddle up in your pillow fort. If you don’t want to buy a house, just because your cousin Stacy bought one, and also she is engaged and wants to have twins in the next 3 years, but you just want to save up and have a quiet life in a boathouse, well then go on and start searching for boats and information on their upkeep. If you want to become a stay-at-home mom or dad and care for the family, please don’t think you are not contributing enough, because you are.
Nobody gets to decide what is best for you. Yes, you may be in a very tough spot right now. You are thinking that you can’t just go and leave everything and rock the boat because you might not even be the only one that sinks. Some of you might be in abusive relationships in your private life, in your career, or maybe even with yourself. Maybe people depend on you, or you depend on other people. Don’t be upset if you can’t abide by lists. You are not alone. You are not behind and you are not wrong for wanting something completely different. We are all trying, and we all fail and get hurt. But every day we are making decisions that lead to the next phase of our life without even noticing. And life is very short.
So all I am saying is, that you can steer the boat in calmer waters, more adventurous ones, or stay on course. You can also abandon the boat altogether and start building a new one. You are the captain and you are also the one that makes the map. Yes, many people have very similar maps and are fulfilled and happy. And the lists are good from their perspective. They might even be good from your perspective. But you are allowed to try and personalize it. You can make a new map, create a new world, and be just as happy without having had done any of the things others have.
So please, when you read a list like that, don’t feel disheartened by the fact you might not have reached any of the things that appear on there. You are capable of doing so much more. You already are so much more than a list of achievements and objects owned. Life is short, but it is not a race. It’s a journey and you decide where it’s headed.