Picture this––you’re in your late twenties, out of college for a few years now and starting to establish yourself in your life. You finally know a sense of who you are and understand life from this whole new “adult” level you could never really imagine when you were in your younger 20’s. You’re learning and growing, and doing the best you can to live a fulfilled life without trying to stress yourself out on any sort of timeline for doing things.

But of course, naturally how these things go, all of your friends around you seem to be on a whole different level than you. You’ve somehow skyrocketed to this whole new, unfamiliar chapter of life and things are very different now. EVERYone has babies now. EVERYone is or is about to get married (and not at all like past times you’ve ever thought it felt that way. This time it’s for REAL, for real. Now it really is every single one of your friends.)

It can be really hard to not compare yourself to your peers at this chapter of life. It’s important to focus on things that will align you on your own path to your highest self. What’s good for someone else isn’t necessarily good for you anyway, and that can be a hard thing to learn.

But, that’s just what you do, right? You head towards 30 trips around the sun and you find someone to marry and you pop out kids. That’s just what you do, right?

But what if it isn’t.

I’m 29; I’m not married; I don’t have any kids. I’ve been with my boyfriend (ugh, I cringe at that word – boyfriend) for going on nine years now, longer than most of my friends who are married, have been married. You follow?

Up until a few years ago, I would have thought I’d be married by now and maybe even have kids. I never really questioned the American Dream, or pictured my life any other way other than married and having a family. I always thought of myself as a motherly type and someone who could make a good mother, and a good wife.

I’ve been in a relationship most of my adult life now, and yet it’s for some reason I’ve noticed people treat me differently just because I don’t have a marriage title associated to my relationship. The most prominent examples I have are at work, when talking with co-workers about our personal lives. Most will go on and on about their husband/wife, but don’t engage whatsoever if I make one mention of my “boyfriend” and it doesn’t matter what the context is. It never fails. It suddenly feels as though I’m 25 talking about my wild, unsettled life and no one can take me seriously.

But wait a minute, what about 30 and singles?

In friends circles, and with family and loved ones, special attention is always brought to the ones that are still single at 30 — why don’t they bring anyone to Christmas, are they going to be alone forever, are they already a crazy cat lady – what have you! But you never hear anyone bring special attention to what it’s like to be in a long term relationship at 30 and not be married or have any kids. If anything at all, people just guilt trip you immediately, “when are you going to make us grandparents”, or “I bet you’re next”, or other comments about how lucky we are because their marriage basically just sucks. (That definitely makes it all so much more enticing. *eyeroll*)

It can be a very tough transitional time to navigate no matter what is going on in your life. The almost 30 era is full of twists and turns and uncharted, complicated territory. Like I’ve said, it’s a journey for every one of us and no two journeys are really the same when it comes down to it.

With that being said, I’ve found it always can be helpful to have reminders to help keep you aligned on taking your own path.

If you feel like you can relate, just remember:

1. You’ve got time.

You don’t have to rush. Just stay true to you, and do what feels right for you, at the time. Continue to push yourself to grow in the direction of your passions, and it will all eventually come together.

2. There is no right or wrong way to do this.

We are all learning as we go! Don’t blame yourself if something doesn’t work out how you thought it would. Unfortunately, we don’t get instructional manuals on how to ‘adult’, so we all just have to figure it out as we go.

3. Just because your parents, or your older relatives, did things differently than you at your age, does not mean that way is the best way to do it.

Times have changed––a lot. The world is a much different place now than it was then. They don’t have to understand your choices, and if they are able to see past those differences, then they will support you through your journey.

4. The collective conscious is changing across the world.

Barriers are being broken. Shadows are being confronted. Norms are changing in just about every way imaginable. Now, more than ever, we must live true to our authentic selves and stay true to our voice. Listen to your passions, and chase after them every day no matter what!

5. As far as we can really confidently say, you only live once.

Do you really want to repeat the past of generations before you? Do you really want to live the same day over and over for 75 years? Do you really want to do things just because “that’s how they have always been done” or it’s what you’ve always been told? Strive to do more things the way you actually want them to do be done. It’s so much more fulfilling!

Do what makes you happy, and who cares about the rest.

My priorities have changed so much. New things are important to me now that weren’t ever as important before (but definitely should have been.) I’m focused on my own personal growth and development, my spirituality, and in removing things out of my life that no longer serve me.

I’m not focusing anymore on timelines, or in comparing myself to the journey of my friends or anyone else my age. I’m doing things on my own terms and in my own ways. Societal norms are not my guidelines to living my best life. Quite frankly, they bore me anyway. ;)

Find what feels right for you, and by no means make “adult” choices for yourself based on what other people make you think you should be doing. This is your life, and you are allowed to live it how it fits you best!