“Give 110 percent,” they said.
“You can do anything,” they said.
“Dream big,” they said.
That was the recipe for a successful life and it seemed pretty straightforward. To a large degree, that’s fantastic advice.
I’m a dreamer by nature. I have a long list of things that I absolutely have to accomplish in my lifetime. If I don’t, I’ll feel like a failure, a fraud, and a liar to all my family and friends. I am determined to live the life I have so painstakingly curated in my head.
When it comes to actually putting that life together is where I get lost.
The years when I can reasonably consider myself “young” are slipping away at what seems like an increasing rate. Getting older is an adventure that I’m excited for (hey, it’s better than the alternative), but what happens to all those dreams? What if there simply isn’t time for all of them?
Let’s see what the numbers say about some of the major goals people set regarding education, career, family, and travel.
How many times have you heard someone say that they have intentions of returning to school “someday?” Are you one of them?
Many people want to return to school, but fear it for a number of reasons. One reason might be that college has a bit of an image problem. Movies tell us that college is only attended by good looking people between the ages of 18 and 22 who are more interested in partying than attending class.
In reality, of the nearly 18 million undergraduates in higher education, only 15 percent attend four-year colleges and live on campus. A whopping 25 percent are over the age of 30. We can safely speculate that those percentages are even higher for graduate programs.
If you are concerned about paying for college as an older student, check out some of the many scholarships specifically for adult students. No matter your age, it’s not too late for you to go to college, get scholarships, and earn what other college graduates earn.
Maybe instead of school, you find yourself daydreaming about another career. You might worry about whether it’s a good move. Will it make your resume look bad, as though you don’t really know what you want to do? Will you have to take a pay cut? How do you even start?
Well, there are some major mistakes you should definitely avoid, like switching careers solely for a higher paycheck or without consulting with friends and family. Aside from those, there is no rule that you have to stick with your current field past a certain age.
In fact, nearly 4 million of the 5 million new jobs created since the economy picked up went to people 55 and above, and about a quarter of people older than 50 are applying for entry-level jobs according to a CareerBuilder study of companies in 2009. In short, even people who are within a decade or two of retirement are switching jobs and even taking internships — or “returnships.”
As a twenty-something, you have more than enough time to switch careers if your heart desires.
Other people are plagued by the notion that their ideal family is never going to come to fruition. Rest easy, because according to Pew Research Center, there are plenty of fish left in the proverbial sea.
It’s common knowledge, now, that the median age of first marriage is steadily increasing. Along with that, in the United States the median age of having a first child is also increasing. In fact, all the countries shown in this report show an increase in median age.
The take home message is this: just because it hasn’t happened for you at the same age is happened for your parents doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
Clearly travel is important to us. But what happens if you aren’t able to do it right now?
What is a poor millennial to do amid an infinite stream of exotic Geotags? Chances are, you’re experiencing heaps of FOMO, a touch of bitterness, and a little doubt that you will ever get to travel.
If older generations are any indication, though, traveling is not just a young person’s game. You can even join the Peace Corps, climb Mount Everest, and backpack across Europe in your golden years. Don’t feel as though your twenties are your only chance to truly live.
Of course, this article is the antithesis of every “live like it’s your last day” article, because I assume that we all have a future out there waiting for us. Hopefully we do.
Personally, though, I would rather do things on my own time rather than trying to check every possible milestone off my life’s to-do list.
Your life is so much more than a mad dash to reach goals, and once you reach them, it will be with the wisdom of whatever age you are when you make it happen.
Maybe that’s better. Either way, it’s no rush.