It's an out dated social norm, which we really don't have to live by any more, our grandparents sure, parents, in part maybe, but not us! And yet when you really look at society hard enough it all still exists and the pressures to reach some or all of these so called 'life milestones' still bares down upon us, even today in our modern 'you can do anything with your life' world!
But should we just blindly follow the pack, will this really make us happy? It may please the people around
us, our parents, siblings, work colleagues, even friends - that we take the road that everyone else is taking, that we follow the herd, it's easier, simpler, it's what everyone else does, so it should make us happy right? Wrong - though many find this is the road for them, they're content in these choices, love the life they've lead and end it with a smile on their lips when the time comes, so many others fall into line just because it's expected, and are utterly miserable, yet they don't break free!
Call it pressure, or pack mentality, either way logic dictates if something isn't giving you fulfilment then why would you carry on pursuing it? After all you're the one who has to live with your life decisions and choices.
So now you know you don't have to tick each milestone off as and when you reach it, how do you decide which ones to keep, if any of them? Well if you're lucky enough to grow up in a privileged society, school is a given milestone, which I don't feel anyone should skip and should most definitely be embraced and apart from death, which is a undeniable inevitability, I do feel any stone marker in between can be embraced or avoided as anyone see's fit!
The pressure to get this style of job is often pushed on us, as words like security and role progression are crammed into our minds, yet no job is completely safe, and though a company may seem solid, it can just as easily go out of business like any other, and suddenly that job will be gone, despite however long you worked there or how carefully you picked it for its stability. But in a world with so many opportunities, and different ways of working, should all our income ever just come from a 9-5 so to speak, or even from only one place of income at all? There are many who live very simple lives, don't spend much money so only need the income from a part-time job to sustain them, so much more of their time is freed up to spend with loved ones, or on passionate pursuits rather than be suck in an office. And others have multiple streams of income so that if one disappears for any reason the rest will support them.
Society screams at us to find another, to always be a two rather than one, but if you listen too intently to this message you may end up with someone just because you feel you need to be in a relationship, someone who's not right for you, may treat you badly or is even a block for maybe the right person when they finally show up. This pressure of always being with another can seriously effect our life's path. But don't think I'm telling you to shun love in anyway, because I'm not, but simply choosing another human to spend a lot of your time with seems to me to be a decision you should make when feelings are red hot, not lukewarm and because you're being told to do so.
Both status have their merits, while one doesn't tie you down, leaving you free to make big choices and plans which you don't need to discuss with anyone, and lets you free for spontaneity. The other has security, contentment and love at its core. But both are very different paths and I don't feel one should ever look down upon the other, it's about choosing what's right for you at this time.
Marriage is an extra form of commitment between a couple, it does not mean that a person is yours forever, that it will stop them from leaving or cheating or that it will make you both happier, yet many feel it is at least one or all of these things. Also the out dated notion of if there is a child on the horizon, that you must both be wed, but why? Will you love your child any less if your not both hitched? Of course not, will it make you both more likely to stay together when things get tough, undoubtedly not. So the presence of a child should make no difference to your marital status.
Marriage should just be something you both do because you love each other, and if it's right for you both, simple!
Renting can open up a lot of opportunities, for one the ease of moving, not just around your area, but from town to town, or even around the world. If you're not tied to a property, moving and subsequently traveling can be something to be relished. Yet at the same time if having a little slice of the world which you own all to yourself is your thing, then maybe a house is for you. It will be a blank canvas for you to decorated how you wish, it will become your home, your sanctuary, a place you will start to make memories in. It's just about what's right for you.
You may air your doubts about the subject when it's brought up, but these worries will just be squashed flat when they say, 'you'll feel differently about your own' and 'tick, tick better hurry up', but maybe in this ever over-populated and terror filled world, just maybe not bringing another child into it is the right choice for you.
If you love children and have them, then great, but please stop the pressure on everyone else, because yes they might not want any of their own, or worse maybe they do, but can't!
Some hit retirement, slump into a chair and within a year or two they meet their maker, as if they no longer have anything to live for. But what if you took retirement as a new lease of life, to take on new challenges, projects and carve out new chapters of your life. Of course there are also those who are self-employed and may work right up until the day they die, and they'd have it no other way.
What I'm really trying to stress here, is life is about doing what makes you happy, not just blindly following the pack, and being told what you should do, and you doing it because everyone else is. It's time for us to break out, accomplish only the milestones we want to, that may be one of them, all of them or none of them, and maybe it's time to imagine and complete new milestones we make for ourselves too!
So whether you're the loved up, college drop out who works a 9-5! The single parent, home owner! Or if you're the ultimate milestone shunner, who doesn't continue onto further education, works on the road, while traveling the world solo, child-less and knows you'll never shuffle into retirement.
Please take the path you love, the one you choose and the one which is entirely of your own making!
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