Are you approaching the grand, old age of 30 and worried you don’t have a house, aren’t working your dream job, and can’t seem to reach your savings goals? Because same. There’s no denying the overwhelming amount of pressure society places on us to achieve things by a certain age. Social media doesn’t help, either. But if we take a step back and look at the bigger picture, beyond the small Instagram squares we scroll through every day, we’ll realize there doesn’t have to be a timeline for success. Here are some things you don’t need to have figured out by the start of your fourth decade.
1. Your Dream Job
There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious (unless you’re Macbeth, in which case, there is) but if you haven’t yet landed your dream job or even discovered what this looks like yet, that’s totally fine. Your 20s are a time to take chances, change your mind, make mistakes, and try again. If you’ve been focusing on climbing the career ladder from day one and only just realized that you’re no longer passionate about what you’re doing, don’t be afraid to take a detour. If you took time for yourself straight out of university, don’t worry that you’ve somehow fallen “behind.” If you’re not a manager, don’t stress. If you’re not a CEO yet, DON’T STRESS. And if you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing, don’t stress. Not having your entire career mapped out from start to finish isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it leaves you more open to opportunities and hopefully, with the time to discover what you truly love.
2. How to Make Sourdough Bread
….or home-made pasta, or your own range of artisan jams. Lately, it seems like everyone and their dog is joining the sourdough making craze but I’m here to remind you, it’s okay if you don’t have live yeast growing on your windowsill. In fact, it’s okay if you don’t know how to cook or bake anything beyond the basic essentials. In your 20s, you’re probably spending a lot of time outside the kitchen (living your life!) so if throwing together the perfect four-course meal is beyond your capabilities, give yourself a break. There’ll be plenty of time to learn these skills later.
3. Your Retirement Plan
Palms trees…the salty smell of the sea…a piña colada in hand…while this sounds like a dream, don’t beat yourself up if you’re just getting started or you haven’t met some timeline of where you’re “supposed” to be with your retirement planning. Managing and saving your money is important and necessary. But it will do more harm than good worrying that you’re behind where you think you should be. And besides, there’s no time like the present, right? There are a ton of great resources, such as this online retirement calculator, to help you get started on your journey to retirement bliss. If you don’t have a 401k, you can even consider opening an Individual Retirement Account or a Solo 401k.
4. What your Family Life Looks Like
Maybe you’re in a relationship, maybe you’re not. Maybe you’re actively looking for a partner, maybe you’re not. Maybe everyone seems to be married except for you. Well, guess what? There’s no rulebook that states you have to be settled down and married by age 30 — or any age, really. If you just attended yet another wedding where you finished the night with cake in one hand and your shoes in the other and you’re feeling pressure from friends or family to find “the one,” relax. In the wise words of Phil Collins, you can’t hurry love.
5. Where You Want To Live
Perhaps you spent your 20s traveling the world and no longer know where home is. Or maybe you’ve been stuck in the same job for years and can’t decide where to end up. Maybe you just met the love of your life who lives on another continent. My point is, it’s perfectly fine if you don’t know where (or if!) you want to settle down. While not having a home or knowing where you want to live might make you feel restless or unsettled, consider this freedom a gift. Before long, you might be tied down by mortgage payments, or the perfect career, partner, or family life. Enjoy it while you can.
6. How to Make Six Figures
Having an income goal is good and motivating. The danger lies in obsessing over it. It’s only natural that you work hard and want to be paid accordingly, but being consumed by the thought of earning a certain amount of money by a certain age can not only be damaging to your career, it can also take a toll on your mental health. Whenever I find that I’m stressing out about reaching a money goal, I remind myself that salary doesn’t necessarily equal success. While you should keep working hard, prioritize the things that make you happy – not the numbers on your paycheck by age 30.
7. Starting your Own Business
If you’re ready to throw in the towel on starting your own business because you think you’re too old, give your head a shake. Last time I checked, there’s no expiration date on when you can build your empire. Whether you want to launch a company or grow an online business, it’s not too late to get hustling. In fact, post 30 might be the perfect time to take action, thanks to all the wisdom, knowledge, and connections you’ve accumulated along the way.
8. Your Purpose in Life
If there’s one point that I really want to drive home, it’s that life is not a race. It’s okay if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you feel unfulfilled in your career if you haven’t crossed every single item off your bucket list, if you haven’t achieved financial success, guess what? It’s not a big deal. Many successful people – including J.K Rowling and Oprah Winfrey – were late bloomers, so to speak. Trust me, you’re doing great.
As someone approaching 30, I understand how easy it is to feel overwhelmed by expectations – perhaps from your parents, society, or even yourself. Especially in this day and age, when comparing ourselves to others is so easy, it can be easy to feel “behind” or stressed out that you’re not making the most of your life or career. Just remember that we all live our lives at our own pace and there’s no right or wrong answer for when you need to get things done.
Kazandra is a Vancouver-based writer with a passion for travel, people, and all things literary. Read more of her work on Things I Learned Growing Up, a blog filled with unfiltered stories to inspire your own journey.
Image via IMDB