There is something each and every one of us 20-somethings NEED to hear.

STOP PUTTING SO MUCH PRESSURE ON YOURSELF.

The idea that you need to cross the finish line of your life a quarter of the way through is ridiculous. Too often I hear my fellow 20-somethings planning out their lives as if it’s as easy as timelines and deadlines. “I want to be settled in my career by 26, married by 27, kids by 28…” so on and so forth.

The problem with this kind of life planning is, what happens if we don’t find the right job by 26 or the love of our lives by 27? Do we stop right there and settle for a life that’s less than perfect just to make sure we’ve accomplished everything on our list before the clock strikes 30?

I should make it clear that I don’t think accomplishing all of these things, or any for that matter in your 20’s is a bad thing. I just think we need to stop feeling bad about ourselves when life’s timeline doesn’t align with the one we doodled in our high school notebooks.

This is something that is important for me to share because I have never been one for planning out my life, or even really thinking 5 years down the road about anything for that matter. This is most likely the reason I am 25, single and jobless with zero idea of what I am going to do with my life (this post may just be justification for my own life choices.)

Love isn’t an age

As 20-somethings we need to realize love isn’t an age. Love is a connection you find with someone you meet at some point in your life, and that point doesn’t have to be in your 20’s.

When I was in college I once walked in on my roommates looking up engagement rings on the Internet. When I asked my two single roommates what they were doing they said, “Well Sarah, we are getting to that age.” Wait, what age? The age where true love magically knocks on your door and hands you a ring? That isn’t real.

As someone who doesn’t really see myself settling down soon (or ever), this is a pressure I am faced with far too often growing up in a southern community. I was and still am confused about why people plan for engagements and weddings before they even know whom they will be sharing them with (this lack of understanding is probably why I never got into Pinterest).

The same goes for careers

As 20-somethings we should all take the time we need to find the RIGHT career where we can feel not only financially supported but also fulfilled.

Right now, I am finding I learn more about what I want to do with my life by trying things and realizing they are NOT what I want to do with my life. It’s all about trial and error. I never thought I would be the kind of person to quit a job before working it for a year, but last year alone I had 4 different jobs (I hope this never happens again, mainly because filing taxes with 4 W-2’s was a total nightmare).

I put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to not having a solidified career at this point in my life. I may not be one for planning, but I did have some sort of naive expectation that I would be more than a summer camp counselor at the age of 25. This is why I constantly remind myself that much like falling in love, finding what you love to do takes time too. Time, once again, doesn’t have to happen before we turn 30.

I think there is a common fear that if we don’t accomplish it now, then we never will, and that is simply not true.

I feel the pressure in my own life, and I hear it every day from my peers. While we may have different fears and pressures that surround the idea of a ticking clock, I do believe it is a common sentiment among 20-somethings.

Together let’s make a promise to cut ourselves a break, 20-somethings. We have a lot of life ahead of us, so lets not be in a hurry to check all the boxes before we become 30-somethings. Forge your own path and let’s try and live outside the timelines.

I would love to know how you all feel about this kind of ticking clock pressure in your 20s. Is it something you are facing?  What kind of things do you expect to have accomplished at this point in your life?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.