Am I Lagging Behind?
As a woman in my mid-20s, people often ask me questions like, “Are you seeing someone?” “When will you get married?” or “Will you ever get married?”. People say that millennials are less likely to get married or have children. Maybe it’s true. Maybe it’s not. Regardless, does that mean that millennials are a group of people who are less likely to believe in love?
I think the answer is no.
Marriage works for some people but like everything else, it can’t work for everybody. Does that automatically mean that these people reject the idea of settling down with one person for the rest of their lives? Definitely not.
I think that one of the reasons why some millennials can’t wrap their minds around the idea of marriage yet is because of the societal pressures present today. It’s not a secret that we’re no longer living in a simple world following the same customs from decades ago. We are undergoing major transformations and breaking down old and outdated patterns. Our priorities and point of view have changed. The world is no longer like how it was before- so are we.
Being in our 20s in another time is definitely different than being in our 20s today, pandemic-related issues aside. We are confronted with so many pressures in life. In x years, we should be successful, have a high paying job, get promoted, have our own car, and the list goes on. Society is expecting us to figure out exactly who we are and what we want out of life by the time we leave our teenage years. Maybe it’s a self-inflicted pressure, but we can’t deny how much society has played a role in that. Figuring out everything all at once is not just a tiring thing to do- it is impossible! The anxiety builds up. What if I don’t ever become successful? What if I fail in life? What if I get stuck right where I am today? What if I never become ready for marriage? Or children? What if I end up being alone?
Do all of those things really matter? Quarter-life crisis can really be such a pain.
We keep on moving but we feel like we’re not doing enough. Despite trying hard not to get all these pressures to get to us, we unconsciously adhere to these. We make a timeline for ourselves and when we don’t live up to it, we question ourselves. We compare ourselves and our achievements to others’. Insecurity elopes us from seeing how far others have come - no one’s blaming us for feeling like that. When we scan through Facebook or Instagram, we’d be bombarded with other people’s lifestyles. We see posts of their travel goals, vacation goals, food trips, new shoes, or their latest iPhone model upgrade- people only post the good stuff. We start feeling how unfair life is.
This is why I think it’s very important to take a deep breath and remind ourselves that we don’t have to figure out everything just yet. It’s okay to take things one step at a time- no pressure and no rush. When people ask us about our plans; “When are you settling down?”, “Are you earning big at work?”, and other random questions like that, give them silence and a shrug because you owe nobody an answer.
Choose to be confident in the decisions and choices you made. Your friends may be starting their own family now or are living their dream life abroad while you are taking your time. In my case, I’m only focusing on one thing at the very moment- buying my own house and lot. I don’t have plans of getting married yet nor thinking of traveling away from home. Don’t get me wrong.
I want to travel too but right now is not the time. As I aged, I realized how important having your own space is. It is a sanctuary where you can breathe and stay away from all the demands of the world. It is your haven, a place where you feel secure and safe. Just exactly what you need; married or not, you will need a place to call your own. A place where you can freely do the things you like and a foundation where you can build the life you want—one step at a time.
It’s perfectly fine to slow down and take your time. Work on one goal at a time instead of trying to be everything and everywhere at once. Forget about expectations and what others have to say. You are never too young nor too old to make something happen in your life. You can leave your self-doubts and some questions unanswered. Know that you are enough and have done enough. All will fall into place soon. For now, you can simply just exist.