I turned 24 on March 7, 2015... that was about 4 weeks ago.
Sitting here, I can think back to when I turned 16, 18 and 21.
The milestone birthdays.
The expectations that arise with each birthday
For my 16th birthday, I invited all my high school friends over to my house and we had a giant barbecue. That's when everyone in MA get's their driving permit.
I didn't get mine until I was 17...
When I turned 18, I went over to my friends house and they surprised me
with a small party, cake and homemade cards.
You're expected to start buying scratch tickets because you can.
I've only ever bought one and yes, it was the night of my 18th birthday.
And when I turned 21, I decided to go out to dinner with all my friends and continue the night at a bar with the ones who had already turned 21.
Lucky for me Brendan also got to attend this birthday celebration!
That's when you're life is expected to hit a downward drinking spiral.
I hate drinking.
I've never followed social norms and I've always been okay with that.
It wasn't until the few months before turning 24 that I started to judge myself based on how far behind at life I was...
So why 24?
When you tun 22, you're expected to be wrapping up your undergraduate college career.
When I was 22, I still had 2 years left at Lesley University!
When you turn 23, you're expected to finally be somewhat an adult. If you've followed the 4 year college plan, by now you've graduated. Everyone knows that for the next year, income will be unsteady and you'll spend all your time looking for a job.
When I was 23, I still had a year of undergrad left.
When you turn 24, however, boom! You're an adult. You're expected to have a legitimate job with a steady income which puts your degree to work. You're expected to start putting money away so that one day you can settle down and buy a house.
Let's just say when I'm no where near any of those things.
I turned 24, had just finished my last undergrad semester and I hadn't even received my diploma in the mail yet... I'M SO FAR BEHIND!
What ever happened to living in the present?
Going into my 24th birthday, I felt discouraged because I was about 1.5 years behind the 'typical timeline of a college graduate.'
I found myself thinking "I can't believe it's taken me so long to het here" when I should have been thinking "Yes, I've finally gotten here!"
I was so hung up on the fact that I was still living at home, working a part time job, in an after school program, with no actual tangible diploma or teaching degree.
All of my friends had graduated last year, so I was bumming on that too.
But, I'm not them. Why am I comparing myself to them?
Not to mention all these random questions I had for myself about the future.
Where should I go to grad school?
Will I ever work full time?
I'll never be able to afford a new car.
Will I ever have a legitimate teaching job?
No one will pre-approve me.
What about living in the present?
If you're always looking towards the future, you'll never live in the present.
Just because I turned 24 doesn't mean I need to be discouraged about all the things I haven't yet done in life. I will get there, whether I'm 5 steps behind or in front of anyone else.
It's important to remember not to compare yourself to anyone.
It's also important to remember that life has no timeline.
Our society creates these social norms as a way to judge everyone against each other.
Who's more successful?
Who's living the dream?
Who's got the perfect family?
Who's a failure?
Who's on track?
Who missed their oppertunity?
Everyone has their own personal timeline.
As long as you are happy and in a good place that is all that matters.
Don't compare yourself to anyone.
I choose to take the road less traveled.
At first I was nervous about telling everyone I was 24. I'm not where 'I should be' according to society.
But, I've one so much I'm proud of...
I finally finished college.
I got my diploma in the mail a week after my 24th birthday!
I was granted my teaching license for the state of MA a few days later!
I paid off my car.
I have money to splurge on myself.
I am happy.
I am 24.
Those are the things that matter most to me right now.
Now it's your turn to ask yourself, are you living in the present or in the future?
Until next time,
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
|And both that morning equally lay|
|In leaves no step had trodden black.|
|Oh, I kept the first for another day!|
|Yet knowing how way leads on to way,|
|I doubted if I should ever come back.|
|I shall be telling this with a sigh|
|Somewhere ages and ages hence:|
|Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—|
|I took the one less traveled by,|
|And that has made all the difference.|