I am 28 years old. Sometimes I feel 21, other times 35. But rarely do I feel 28. What is 28 supposed to feel like? To me, it’s supposed to feel like I have my shit together… which, arguably, I do. I spent 8 years in college altogether to get to where I’m at professionally, but why do I feel I haven’t accomplished what I was meant to by this age?
Society tells us who we are supposed to be, doesn’t it? Something in my mind tells me I should’ve been married by 25, with a 3-year-old child by this point. Something in my mind tells me I shouldn’t still be having to work two jobs (because I don’t know how to embrace change and let go of the past). I realize these expectations are unfair and cookie cutter, but I find it difficult to let them go. This is why I am terrified of my 30s. My 20s have been nothing like what I pictured for myself 10 years ago. They have been painful, heartbreaking, lonely, anxiety-inducing years. So why am I struggling to let them go? Because I hold on to unhealthy things in my life out of fear of the unknown. Change lies ahead, but I struggle to embrace that.
I am 28 years old and had an anxiety attack recently (my recent blog addressed this) because I realized that next year, I’ll be 30. I am not even 29 years old yet and had a full blown anxiety attack because in 2020, I’ll be 30. Why have I let society tell me that I’ve failed in my 20s? I even still get the occasional question as to why my partner and I haven’t gotten engaged yet, which I find to be a very intrusive and abrasive question because it immediately puts their expectations for MY life on me.
Screw others’ expectations. Set your own realistic expectations and allow yourself wiggle room to adjust those as time goes on. I am not where I pictured myself to be at 28 years old, but even still, I am here. I am alive. I am coping with my mental illness in a healthy manner. I have self worth and self acceptance. Did I picture that for myself 10 years ago? No, because I was too busy picturing a marriage, family, and a house.