Now, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has noticed there appears to be an overwhelming expectation surrounding certain ages, particularly for women. On one hand, we have blogs that provide some helpful (and often times, not so helpful) lists of what a person is expected to have achieved before reaching thirty. On the other hand, the Internet is awash with articles on how wonderful the thirties are for women, a decade where you really step into your own. Amongst my late twenties female circle, it's the topic of much discussion. Usually ending with one of us feeling like somewhat of a failure, hoping or expecting to achieve more by this age. But who sets the rules? I'm a couple of years away from the big three O and already find myself checking off my numerous mental lists of how well rounded a person I am or not; 1) can have fun without alcohol - check; 2) wakes up before 9am - check; 3) comfortable in my own skin - almost; and the lists go on and on. Whilst I'm sure that many of the items on the "things to do before you're thirty" lists ring true, I find that these lists contribute to the never ending obsession surrounding women and our age.
Can we just enjoy the moment! It's seems like we're constantly living towards the next list, instead of appreciating the now. Before the 30's it was 25 and that came with its own set of expectations and anxieties (#QuarterLifeCrisis). It may be a cliché - but time is so precious, passes all too quickly and before you know it, you've completely missed the moment as you await the next transition in life. Thirty seems to be the checkpoint for so many key milestones e.g. marriage, kids, successful career (and world domination). But whatever the season in life, we should give ourselves time to savour the moment, rather than ticking off the list and swiftly moving our focus to the next 'to do'.
It's doubtful that age-related lists can ring true for everyone; surely everyone isn't the same. I'm not sure it's possible to create 'a one size fits all' list of what any decade in life looks like. We all have different experiences and often times, people who don't match up to the content of these lists think they've gone wrong somewhere. Whilst engaging with women on the W Talk Show, I've come to realise more and more, we all have a different story to tell, with similarities that connect us as women. Many of these lists do not have the capacity or intention to acknowledge the variety and nuances in our individual journeys.
The idea of getting older and entering a whole new decade can be daunting when the focus is on attempting to adhere to social standards determined by age. However, when we do away with the sets of lists and various expectations, which are age dependent, we are able to embrace where we are and look forward to where we are going. Age and getting older becomes something that liberates us rather than something we fear. Amy Poehler, in her latest book titled, 'Yes Please' offers some great hilarious advice on the topic of age, in saying "Fighting aging is like the war on Drugs. It is expensive, does more harm than good, and has been proven to never end."
Of course, there is a place for humorous and quirky lists which highlight what to expect as you get older, or what you could/would/should have been achieved by then. But personally, I choose to enjoy each moment and cross that the bridge when I get there, embracing whatever future will look like for me. We discussed, age-related social pressures in context of marriage and relationships on episode one of the W Talk podcast to listen please download from ITunes.