Of timelines, expiry dates and time stamps. The top 5 things you need to stop doing and top 5 things you need to start doing to own your own timeline, and stop feeling behind in life.
Last week I celebrated my 31st birthday, and the end of my first year in my 30’s. And the verdict – it’s not as terrible as it’s perceived to be. In fact, it’s not terrible at all. It’s even quite wonderful. For so many years, especially as I was approaching 30, fear of the daunting age had consumed me. Once I actually reached it, however, I realised that 30 isn’t as old as I thought it would be. It isn’t old at all – it is only the beginning. It’s the start of a wonderful era, with less of the naivety and stupidity of being 20, and more of the maturity and drive to swallow the world. Instead of being busy worrying about who likes you and who doesn’t, you’re spending that energy on making the most of your life. On taking more advantage of all it has to offer.
The closer I got to 30, the more I worried about timelines and expiry dates, about still being single and never finding anyone. I consumed myself with the stigmas and misconceptions depicted by society. Constantly worried about what others will think or say about my singleness. Once I reached 30, and especially now that I’m concluding my first year… I seriously couldn’t care any less about any of those insignificant people who always seem to have something to say about me still being single in my 30’s. During this time, I made a lot of mistakes, but also learned a lot of valuable life lessons. There have been many trials and errors, which led me to where I am today.
Below are the do’s and don’ts that I’ve adopted over the course of my singlehood, and especially the past year or so… That helped me let go of all pressures of timelines and expiry dates.
It’s so common for us to feel like we’re not doing life right! In fact, feeling behind in life is almost a guaranteed experience for millennials these days. We still see external factors such as marriage, kids, house, high-paying career as benchmarks of success. Something we need to achieve in order to experience happiness and acceptance from our peers. Part of my mission coaching women in their 30s is to rewrite these rules. I believe there is a cultural shift happening. Moving from one size fits all tick-lists and status quo to-do’s to radical self-love and inner acceptance for where you are in life and who you are! And this is EXACTLY what my business and coaching programme is built on.Sophia Speakman, Life Coach
Stop doing this:
1. Comparing your journey
Comparison is a slippery slope. There’s no real good way out of it, and there’s nothing good that could ever come of it. It will only make you feel worse about yourself and your progress, and you’re less likely to achieve your goals. Especially when you’re single and 30, while everyone around you is getting married and having kids. It’s hard not to wonder why you’re the one still single. Why can’t you also have what they do? But it’s important to remember that it doesn’t make you or them less or worse. It’s just life circumstances and you need to learn how to make the most of the hand you’ve been dealt.
- Don’t look over at your married friends and siblings, wondering what you’re lacking. Because that will only intensify your concern with your timeline. Instead, try to focus on what you do have and how you can use it to upgrade yourself and your life.
- If you look at someone else’s journey, do so to get inspired and ideas, not to compare and make yourself feel worse for not being where they are.
- When monitoring your progress, analyze it according to your own path and abilities. Not others. When you do so, you won’t feel so behind in life.
2. Listening to prejudice, stigmas and misconceptions
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again and again… Just because society depicts one thing about being single, doesn’t make it true. What makes it true, is when we actually listen to it and allow it to impact us and affect the way we feel about ourselves and our singleness. People will always have what to say, and they’ll always feel compelled to say it, and be bored enough with their own lives to actually do so.
- Remember that the people who are petty enough to stick their noses and voice their unsolicited opinions… Are usually also the ones who’ve been nowhere and done nothing, thus are bored and probably also jealous. So they feel the need to make up for it and justify their own life choices.
- There will always be prejudice, stigmas and misconceptions and the best way to trump them, is to prove them all wrong by focusing on being awesome. Do your own thing, despite what they say, and prove them wrong by living the best possible life you can.
- Validating all of the prejudice, stigmas and misconceptions by internalizing them, will only make them worse and make you feel even more bitter about your timeline, and even more behind in life..
3. Allowing bad and negative people influence you and your life
If we keep surrounding ourselves with all the wrong people, we’ll never be able to feel good about any timeline we create for ourselves. People who make us feel bad for where we are in life and at what age… Negative people who continue to emphasize our insecurities about being single and thirty… Who make us feel bad for it and that we need to do whatever we can to change it, instead of embracing it and making the best we can out of it. Those are the people to watch out for and stop allowing into your life.
- No matter how long they’ve been in your life, how much you like them or how cool they are… If they make you feel lesse for still being single, then they have to go. Because no matter how much you like them, it’s not worth it if they make you feel like you’re behind in life.
- People who truly care about you, who want the best for you – won’t make you feel bad for it. They will encourage you instead of bring you down. They will help and support you, instead of making you feel like there’s something wrong with you.
- You can’t just expect people to stop being negative, you have to be the proactive one who takes control of your own life… By removing them from your life or just walking away and refusing to tolerate it.
4. Wasting your time and procrastinating
If you’re feeling like time is slipping away, that you’re missing stops and you’re behind in life… It’s likely due to the fact that you’re not doing enough significant and meaningful things with your life. And instead of doing something about it, you’re immersing yourself in it and sinking even deeper… Allowing yourself to be even more consumed by it and your fear. I’ve been there too… So upset for not following the “right timeline” that I just gave up altogether and allowed life to happen to me, instead of taking control. Which only wastes even more time.
- Despite what society may say, there is no one right timeline, there’s only the right one for you. So instead of wasting your time wallowing over not being on the right path, start creating your own timeline the way you see fit.
- Simply living and transferring your body from point A to point B, is not enough. To make the most of your life, you need to be proactive and not let time just pass you by.
- Part of this is understanding that life isn’t just about reaching certain achievements by specific ages… It’s not all about getting married and having kids or even being at the peak of your career by a certain point. And if you haven’t, feeling like it’s just too late, or wasting your time chasing all of the wrong things you think you need. Or chasing what society depicts, instead of what you do.
5. Always doing what is expected of you
There will always be outside pressures and ridiculous expectations from people around us. As I’ve mentioned above, people will always have what to say about you and how you live your life. Especially if you’re single and thirty. The biggest mistake you can make is listening to them and actually trying to live your life according to what they say or think. Trying to reach other people’s standards will never fulfil you enough. And you’re even more likely to fail and be bitter.
- People can’t really force you to live your life by their rules, but you can decide whether or not to listen to them and allow them to impact the way you live your life and perceive yourself.
- Trying to appease everyone around you will only exhaust you, and won’t really help you feel any better about your timeline. In fact, it will probably make you feel worse and even more behind in life.
- There are endless expectations regarding our timelines,and people all around us will want different things from us. But it’s not about that, it’s about what we want and need from our own life.
Start doing this instead:
1. Building and maintaining a self relationships
Too many people neglect themselves and their own self-relationship, in favor of others. But if you want to create your own timeline, without constantly worrying about “expiry dates” and what society depicts as the right way and timeline… You need to work on your personal development, without always worrying about what people will think or say. Learn how to embrace yourself as you are. When you have a strong relationship with yourself and a deep understanding of who and what you are… You won’t only know better what you want and need from life… But you will also stop following the herd and what is expected of you. Learning how to self love and how to be single and happy will also contribute to this.
2. Focus on your own path and listen to yourself
Start looking forward and around you at your own journey, path and goals. Be present, be an active participant in your own life. Try to enjoy the path you’re on, make the most of your journey. Make it the best you can, by creating opportunities and being proactive in actually living your life. When you’re focused on your own path and actually living your life, you have less time to concern yourself with timelines and pressure from society. You will also realise just how amazing this path of being single and thirty can be. That there are so many perks and bright sides.
3. Surround yourself with good and positive people
Above I’ve mentioned removing bad people from your life, and in addition to doing so, you also need to make sure to hold onto the good people in your life. And if you don’t have any, or not enough, go out and find them. When you have positive and strong people around you, they don’t only support you and accept you no matter what… They also inspire you to do and be better, they make you stronger and improve the quality of your life. Even if it’s just one or two people, it is all it takes to make a strong and significant support system.
4. Be productive and fill your time well
When you’re busy living your life properly, you don’t have time to concern yourself with timelines and people who pressure you to follow specific ones. This means, focus on nourishing and nurturing yourself and your passions. Fill your life with the things you love and enjoy. Take advantage of every opportunity you can and make the most of your life and where you are in it. Use the timeline you’re in to do and be great, no matter what age or your relationship status. In fact, when you’re single, you have more freedom, time and capacity to focus on yourself and what you want from life. And when you’re 30 you’re less likely to waste it away on redundant things.
5. Do what’s best for you and focus on your passions
When you’re focused on doing what’s best for you, you don’t care as much about what others think or say… Or about any other timeline you “should” be on. Doing what’s best for you, means creating your own timeline, regardless of the norm, and making the most of where you are, instead of reprimanding yourself for it. And when you’re focused on that, and following your passions, you stop caring about anything else. Because what’s best for you, is living the best life you can. And there’s no time stamp for that. You can always do what’s best for you, regardless of your age. Just like you can always live your life and do the things you love and enjoy.
In conclusion – your life is what you make of it
Your age is what you make of it, and you can choose to wallow and feel bitter over being single and thirty. Or you can choose to make the most of where you are in life, and do the best you can to make it great. It’s never going to be easy, but the outcome is going to be worth it all. We are the ones to allow the pressures to impact and affect our lives, and while society does need to change it’s consensus, we need to take control of our own life and block them out.
While saying that society doesn’t make it easy is true, it’s also not an excuse to allow yourself to crumble. You can be stronger than that and take control of your own life, and be the one in charge. Because your timeline is your own, and no one else should have a free say in it.
And it’s never too late unless you decide it is or it isn’t. So decide it isn’t.
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Stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong!