Growing up, you tend to have an idea of your life on a timeline, mapped out in front of you with each successive milestone marking a new momentous occasion or point in your life.
At 18 whilst studying at university, I believed that my life would be on track by the time I reached 25. By ‘on track’, I mean settled down, with a decent and well-paid job, and a mortgage to pay. The reality, like many things in life, is somewhat different.
I turn 28 this week and as I sit and contemplate what I’ve achieved in the last decade or so, it’s funny to think back to those days when everything seemed so wonderfully simple. Perhaps it’s generational, but we all assume that life will pan out perfectly and everything will fall nicely into place the day after you graduate.
Like many of my friends, I think women in their twenties tend to assume that they will start a family by the time they turn 30. Now of course, I realise that this doesn’t apply to everyone, but the big 30 is a very momentous age. Growing up, it felt like the final door into adulthood, but when you’re only a few steps away from it, you would rather push that door to 40.
I certainly wouldn’t say that I’m in my dream situation that I romantically dreamt up at 18. I can’t boast that I have a mortgage, I haven’t quite settled down and I frequently still dream of jetting off to America to drive across Route 66 for six months.
The truth is though, that all this is part of it. I don’t want to turn into someone who is forever waiting for something to happen – because it’s all happening right now. One day, whether that’s next year or three years down the line, I hope to pick up the keys to my very first home, plan my honeymoon and have children; but this doesn’t all have to happen before I’m 30, like many of us anticipate growing up.
When the time comes to start a family or take the next career step, no doubt you’ll look back on these days when you believed that your life wasn’t ‘on track’ with fondness, because you were actually heading in the right direction all along.