I remember being 16 and thinking I knew it all, advice from my family was treated as unnecessary nagging, I mean I knew it all, or so I thought at the time. Always a bit wild, but behaved well enough to never get into any trouble. At 15 I fell in love for the first time and it was an earth-shattering experience. I had it all planned I was going to go to college, go travelling and then by the age of 23 or 24 get engaged and get married soon after. But, as life rarely works out how you envision it. That version of my future never materialized, I still went to college but during that period we grew apart and went our separate ways.
Single at 19/20 and in college, out 4 nights a week and partying like it was 1999 (excuse the pun). Wasn’t thinking too far into the future but I knew I wanted to buy a house at 25, get engaged by 26/27 and have kids at 28 but as time went on those timelines started to drift further away. I also wanted to rapidly progress in my career and travel the world. I never quite knew at the time why I wanted all of these things; I just knew that’s the course I was supposed to take, right?
When I left college my focus was on my career. I’d completed a bachelor’s in business but struggled to know what exactly I wanted to do! There were so many options but I really wasn’t sure. One thing I did know is that by 25 I wanted to be at the top of my game in terms of my career. But, as I hit 25 I was nowhere near where I wanted to be in my career and in terms of my romantic relationship, I wasn’t in a happy one. I guess this started to get to me, I started to feel like I wasn’t achieving those goals or milestones, but there was another parallel to what I thought I wanted and that was I wasn’t actually ready to for some of the goals I had set myself.
As I approached 27 a few of my close friends began to get engaged and started to have babies, I am not sure why, but the idea of doing that; terrified me. I just didn’t feel like I was ready to give up my freedom and commit or be responsible for another human being. The fact that I wasn’t where I wanted to be in my career also further reinforced my fears that settling down might affect my career progression. So, from an early age I was plotting out my future and setting each milestone in accordance to society’s norms, but what I didn’t realise is what works for everyone else won’t necessarily work for you.
I then went through a big breakup and as cheesy as it sounds it changed me! After the dust had settled I had the time to reflect and I was really able to find myself. It was the kick in the ARSE that I needed. I was back to the old me, the fun carefree girl who had a thirst for life. All timelines went out the window, I really started to live my life the way I wanted to and I felt happier than ever.
And where am I now? Probably behind in society’s terms of being a “Successful adult” but in terms of how I feel within myself, I’ve never been better. I won’t lie, sometimes I look at my friends in awe and think they’ve got it all figured out and they often think the same about me. Whilst some have their mortgage and are engaged or married, I am living in Dublin, travelling and having the time of my life. The truth is we all think the grass is greener sometimes, and don’t beat yourself up about feeling like this as we’re all human and from time to time we all worry or doubt our path.
A lot of the time we’re so busy chasing our tail and worrying about what box to tick next, that we forget to live in the moment and the aspects in life that are truly meaningful. I think it’s so important to have dreams and goals but my advice is never let this get you down if you have achieved them by a certain time or age. I spent way too many periods in my early 20’s freaking out about not achieving certain things by certain times. This was a complete and utter waste of energy. Don’t get me wrong I still have days where I freak out and panic a little but for the most part, I understand we all have our own unique path and you can’t compare yours to others. Be agile, re-evaluate your dreams frequently, see if what you wanted yesterday is still what you want today.
I’ve also realised that for me at least; family, friends and good relationships are the most aspects of my life, and if these aren’t in place I feel a massive gap. Sure, you can have a high flying career, big house, fancy car and luxury holidays but without family & good friends, those material things are worthless. I am still career driven, and my work is something that I’m passionate about, but without the love that I receive from my friends, family and romantic relationships, I wouldn’t be able to focus on it. My biggest advice to anyone worrying or freaking out about the future is to chill, enjoy what’s in front of you, be grateful, work hard, be kind and most of all make time for your loved ones!
I Hope you enjoyed this post guys!
Love Nel xx