Between ages 5-18: go to grade school
Between ages 18-24: attend some sort of post secondary
Between age 24-30+: get a full time job and work until retirement, get married and baby baby baby.
My Instagram poll (because all great research must be supported by Insta polls) showed me that about 75% of people who voted could relate to this timeline. So did I experience all these pressures? Well not quite, my biggest pressure came around school; my parents wanted to see my brother and I do well in school and eventually get a good job. Relationships were not really talked about in my house nor was marriage really eluded to which in retrospect I really appreciate it but sometimes such pressures develop even without anyone placing them on you. I remember thinking I’d be married at 23 (lets all LOL together), I remember thinking I’d have a kid at about 26. Well I am 27 now so safe to say I have really “failed” my expectations. Well this week I decided to question this: Who decided that life for me? Who placed those pressures on me? Who told me that this was the step by step process to leading a successful life? When none of the answers to these questions were “ME” i sat there scratching my head for a few minutes. If I’m not doing this for me then who the heck am I doing this for? Another question that I could not seem to find the answer to. So this was step 1 to making a significant change in my life. Before I delve into the change I made I am going to share one of the biggest misconceptions that I held about the “real world”. My misconception was that if I don’t work full time, I am lazy, I am not reaching my full potential, and I am weak for not being able to handle the pressures of a full time position. Of course I could write tons of misconceptions around various other topics but I will focus on “full time work” for this specific post. So yes, somehow in my mind if I was not working full time I would be considered all of those things mentioned above. I worked a part time position for about 3+ years and never really had a full time position which had an impact on how I perceived myself. My parents had always worked full time, my friends work full time so why was I not working full time? Working part time never really seemed like a choice you made (alas another misconception)- in my mind you only worked part time if you had a compulsion to do so; a young child at home, if you are still a student or you’ve done your time and are close to retirement. Again it seemed like an external circumstance which would be in charge of you making a decision to go part time. Well this week I stopped and questioned why I was so fixated on this? Who told me that working part time made me lazy? No one did and even if someone did why was I listening? I was failing to recognize my own needs by listening to all this noise whether it was my own or from other voices around me. I re framed my thought process: “it doesn’t make me weak, rather it makes me strong to recognize I am struggling and I need to do something to change it”, “it doesn’t make me lazy, rather it makes me more capable of doing my job more effectively”, and “it doesn’t stop me from reaching my full potential, rather it makes me focus on exploring other ways to reach my full potential”. Wow revelation part 2! Block out the negative noise and listen to the inner voice that knows what you need. I listened to the voice telling me that I needed to move to a part time schedule and advocated this need to my bosses. Somehow I felt in charge without realizing that I have always been in charge. If it’s not a choice I am making willingly I have learned to question it. If it’s not working for me I have learned to restructure it. And if it’s not motivating me I have learned to block it out. So feel good message here is (pardon my English): screw the timeline, screw the demands suppressing your needs and SCREW letting others be in charge of how you lead your adulthood. Something you might hear often but we need to continue to connect with is: YOU DO YOU BOO! Do more of what makes you happy, do more of what keeps your mind at peace, and do more of what makes you feel motivated to keep going. Until next time readers, take charge!