Sunday, 3 April 2016

Live Life to Your Own Schedule: On the Pressure to Be at a Certain Stage of Your Life

Live Your Life to Your Own Schedule

I come from quite a large family, and on my father’s side, I have 11 cousins. Out of all of us, I am was born third. Jane, the second eldest, got married to her husband in 2013. Tom, the fourth eldest, got married to his wife in 2014. Last year, both Liz and Dave became parents.

This summer I will be attending two weddings for another two of my cousins; Cat, the eldest of all the cousins, and Jess, the fifth cousin. This will mean that by the end of the year, the two cousins before me and the two immediately after me will finish 2016 as husbands and wives, two with their own families. And I am smack dab in the middle. No baby, no husband – not even a boyfriend.

I love a good wedding, but at the same time, I am now feeling the pressure. I’m the odd one out of us top five, and I am dreading the comments of, “It’ll be your turn next!” or “When will you be getting married?” Outside of weddings, even my mum has started making comments, saying that at the rate my brother and I are going, she will never be a grandmother. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just the two older than me, but with James and Sarah too, you can see the generation above thinking I’m not doing things quick enough.

I want to get married one day. It is a dream of mine to start my own family, and I am hugely excited to. Just not right now. That’s not where my life is at. Even if I felt like I was ready to start a family right this very second, I don’t have a boyfriend, and rushing into a relationship just so my life looks like it’s going in the right direction isn’t really the wisest idea. And yet, “Well, you’ve got to get out there and meet people!”

I am completely open to meeting people. And sure, perhaps the clock is ticking, but it’s not ticking that fast! I have time. I am not going to force my life into the path someone else expects me to be on. I’m not living my life to other people’s schedules, trying to hit their deadlines. It’s perfectly ok for my life to be moving at a different pace to my cousins.

As it is for all of us. Hell, some of us don’t even want to get married or have kids. Some of us are ambitious, and want to get ahead in their careers before they start thinking about a family. It’s not helpful to have parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, family friends make you feel like you’re falling behind, or disappointing them.

Nothing happens to everyone at exactly the same time. People might be at different stages in their lives to you, but that doesn’t mean you’re failing at life. You live your life for you, not for other people. To your own schedule.

And mine is telling me that this summer, I should dance the night away at these weddings and have a good drink. To let the comments from well-meaning family members roll off my shoulders, and feel glad that, for now, I only have to be responsible for myself, and enjoy the freedom.

The joy of changing nappies and discussing whose turn it is to take out the rubbish can come later.

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