What If You Don't Have It All in Your 30s

A little over a week ago, I turned 32. If you had asked me 10 years ago, what my life would have looked like at 32, I would have told you that I would be a career woman, a mother and a wife. By this age, I would have "had it all." (Since then, I've realized that the notion of the superwoman who has it all is nothing but a farce). Well, that’s not exactly how my life is at 32, and I am completely o.k. with that. My lifeis unfolding in beautiful ways both planned and unplanned. Nevertheless, I am human and sometimes susceptible to societal pressures regarding what my life should look like as a 30+ year old woman.

But what if you don’t have it all in your thirties? What if you have the child(ren) and partner, but not the career? Or you have one thing, but not the other(s)? What if your life today looks nothing  like what you imagine it would right now? Even more, what if you’re stuggling with dashed hopes and dreams, or feel frustrated and ready to give up because you didn’t meet a milestone or achieved a certain goal...by now?

Image via PicNoi

Turning 30 can be an anxiety-inducing occurrence for a lot of people. Instead of a celebration of life and a new decade, or a celebration of your accomplishments and the person that you've become, it can feel like test day where you evaluate yourself by a checklist of "shoulds." Recently a friend shared that turning 30 brought on a bout of sadness that she couldn't shake. Despite her accomplishments, she felt that she'd failed because some of her boxes remained unchecked.

Yet, these pressures fail to account for the fact that there is so much life to be lived after 30. An arbitrary number cannot be the measuring stick for your life. Your journey consists of so much more than checkboxes attched to a clock. Your growth as a person, your development, finding the thing(s) that brings fulfilment and the unfolding of your life cannot be forced into a neat little box. As someone who have come to learn to trust the timing of my life and to let go of anxiety-filled expectations, I feel a lot more relaxed and accepting of my unique journey as it unfolds. I remind myself of that the moment I'm tempted worry or wallow. Additionally, "having it all" may look different for me, I get to decide what I want my life to look like - not others, not society. My life, and your life, will bloom in beautiful ways at the right time. In fact, it's blooming right now.  It's still time to dream, to go after your desires, to trust and to edit your life as you live it. Just always remember that they journey itself is sometimes far more life-changing than the destination:

While the destination may have been what spurred you forward initially, when you arrive at your destination, take a moment to realize that the person who began the journey is not the same person who finished it. The journey, if you allow it to, will change you. The lessons you learn along the way will show you what you are truly capable of, and it is these very lessons that allow us to shed what we thought we might be forever stuck inside and become who we’ve always wanted to become (or didn’t know we could be).
— Shannon Ables