How To Deal With Ageing & The Expectations That Come With It


As a few of you might know, it was my birthday in June. Whilst it wasn’t one that’d be classified as ‘major’ (I turned 26, FYI) it meant that I’ve now reached the age at which I’d always imagined I’d be a married homeowner with a baby on the way. Despite these dreams being those of a much, much younger me I’d always imagined twenty-six to be the age at which I have my shit together. This is absolutely not the case and my existential crisis is as true and as major as ever.

Whilst my friends and I all worked hard at school, went to good universities and passed with mostly 2:1’s there’s such a dramatic divide between where we’re all at both financially and emotionally. Although this is pretty normal and almost rather expected, every single year that goes by increases my surprise and shock at pregnancies, engagements and divorces of past school/university friends. It’s that awkward moment when you feel oh so not ready for any of those things whist also feeling the pressure to conform to all the societal norms. Which slowly but surely seemingly loom around everything.

So as my birthday approached this year I felt more and more conscious of what (younger me) I had presumed I would have achieved by now and the vastly contrasting reality of where I’m really at. So, while most people tend to look forward to their birthday and eagerly anticipate the date weeks in advance, this year mine rather loomed over me as a reminder that I’m not a homeowner. 

I tried to go along with the excitement of it and booked a holiday with my boyfriend and family on a dreamy hot island in an attempt to embrace the age and pre-empt my inevitable tidal wave of melancholy. It was all going to plan until my younger brother was taken ill (thankfully very briefly) and a whole new level of perspective was given.

As I told myself over and over when friends of friends tragically died too young age is a privilege not afforded to many and although I don't own a house, am yet to sign any form of permanent job contract and have failed to purchase any form of designer bag it's not the be or end all.

I read a really excellent quote this week that encapsulated all my anxiety towards ageing and the expectations that come with it so perfectly. 

So, don't worry. Or at least take a deep breath and remember you're not in this alone. Everyone gets overwhelmed by pressures and expectations, try to be kinder to yourself and know that you're very much going at the right pace for you. 

Try to handle your expectations. It honestly takes me a little while to work out whether I'm actually happy about something or if I just simply like the idea of it and then, whether being happy ALLLL the time is even happiness. It's all so painfully subjective. 

Whatever you do for your birthday be selfless and make it about you. Whether that's treating yourself to a pedicure or yoga class in the morning, prioritise the things you love. So whether you're feeling it or not your birthday will be a little of what you wanted and all the more rosy because of it.

But what I have learnt, amongst this jumble of thoughts is that ultimately, birthday blues are manageable - it's your party you can cry if you want to. I absolutely have and inevitably probably will do when 28 comes around too. 

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