By Kelly Bradley, Guest Blogger
I am a few short days away from turning twenty-eight. If you had asked me ten years ago where I thought my life would be at twenty-eight, I would describe something much different than what it actually is. To be honest, it is better than I imagined. It has just taken me a lot of time and self-reflection to realize it.
Looking into my crystal ball at age eighteen, I probably would have predicted that at twenty-eight I would be married, possibly have a family, and be settled into my career. I imagined that at twenty-eight I would have life figured out.
Flash-forward ten years. I am single and I do not have any children. I have been fortunate with my career, but I never would have guessed I would be doing the job I am doing. And at twenty-eight (almost), I definitely do not have life figured out.
I was recently listening to Kate Voegele’s song, “Just Watch Me” and I could not get her lyrics out of my head:
Everybody’s telling me who I ought to be
Who am I and where I gotta be
The last thing I need are voices in my head
No, not me
I don’t even know yet who I wanna be
I got miles and miles in front of me
And all that I can see are the mountains up ahead
Won’t let them stop me
I’m going up, just watch me
I have always been a planner. I have always had this picture in my mind of how my life would turn out. I expected to be experiencing the same life moments as those around me, at the same time. After turning twenty-five, twenty-six, and then twenty-seven, I became very aware that my life was not living up to this grand plan I had laid out in my head. I started to feel as though I was, somehow, failing because I had not yet figured out who I was (or who I wanted to be). I have watched friends get married, start their own families, and become settled. As much as I wanted (still want) to be married, to have a family of my own, to feel settled, I had to look deep within myself to realize I did not know myselfwell enough to be ready for any of these things.
Having so many expectations for my life has resulted in a lot of disappointment. I had to stop and question what standard I was holding my life to. I cannot measure my life against the people around me or some master plan I dreamt up when I was eighteen. Life plays out in its own way, rarely letting us in on the timeline. It has taken me time to accept that my life timeline is different than that of everyone around me. The sad thing is, now that I am learning to accept my life for exactly what it is, I feel as though I missed out on the chance to embrace the freedom I have had all of these years. I have spent so much time focusing on the things I thought I was missing, instead of the beauty of what my life was in that moment.
Once I let go of the expectations of what I thought my life was supposed to be, I was able to take the time to get to know myself. I live a very independent lifestyle. I believe the strength I have gained from being self-sufficient these last ten years is what (subconsciously) kept me from settling down. I recognize the freedom I have to take chances, to come and go as I please. This is the time in my life when I have the opportunity to be selfish. This is the time to experience life in a very personal way. Having this chance to get to know myself and think about what I truly want out of life has made me appreciate the place I am in even more.
Life at twenty-seven (very soon to be twenty-eight) is far different than what I expected. It is better. It is a life I am thoughtfully and uniquely building. It is mine and unlike anyone else’s. I truly believe I am exactly where I need to be. This does not mean I have let go of the things I hoped for when I was eighteen. I still genuinely want those things. It just means I will no longer measure my life against anyone else’s or feel the pressure of a timeline. I look forward to living in the moment and embracing whatever the future holds.
Let’s Chat! Do you feel pressure to live your life a certain way? Do you feel expected to have certain things by a certain age? Let go of the expectations and embrace the uniqueness of your own life timeline!
Kelly is a Midwestern girl, a daughter, sister, and friend. She earned her Bachelor’s degree (and currentlyworks) in Fashion Merchandising, but has always had a passion for writing. Kelly also loves photography, music, and (of course) fashion. Kelly hopes to inspire young girls and women to discover and embrace what makes them truly extraordinary. Tweet her @KelBee6