Tell me how it’s suppose to be.
They say the older you get, the more the years blur together. Less milestones, I’ve heard, and I suppose that’s true. Every year until my eighteenth birthday felt like a milestone. Age eleven, graduated elementary school. Age fourteen, graduated middle school. Sweet sixteen, sixteen going on seventeen. Eighteen; adulthood. The college years, young, fresh, and a few years shy of twenty-one. The years mark the prime age of living, what people look back to fondly, to draw upon when they climb the ladder to isolating adulthood.
However, at some point it feels like milestones stop. To me, those milestones stopped when I graduated college. The more I ponder on these moments in my life, they had some element of mystic energy, and the world felt brighter, like it was illuminated by the sun more and the shadows couldn’t touch the edges of the piece of earth I stood on. Now things feel less like milestones, but burdens and obligations that signal some element of my worth to those that slip past me in the stream of my life.
The older I get, the more pressure I feel to enter the race to success, to check off a list given to me by some unknown person. Go to college, get a good job, buy a house, get married and have children. Sometimes it feels like those things should all be done by twenty-five, and other times, it feels like those things should already be done by twenty-two. Whatever age these requirements should be checked off, is stupid and has very little merit to anything that means anything.
Exchanges in my twenties involve the checking out, the work up, the looking through the blinds so to speak, of friends or acquaintances marching their checked off list out to display. I have become the person that makes others feel as if they’re okay in their position, that at the very least they have a ring or a child or some keys in their pocket to weigh them down from the clouds I’ve floated up into. Maybe it’s a culmination of living somewhere where the traditional way of life is the only way of life. By that I mean, go to college, get married, buy a house, and have children. The perfect white picket fence with 2.5 kids. But it seems to me that my worth as a woman revolves around these things; that they are used as some measuring stick to judge if I’ve completed some societal task. The older I get, the more others feel the right to tell me what I should or should not be doing with my life, and I burden myself with trying to outrun the antiquated expectations.
I cannot but doubt that the obligations are a one-size fits all, as some make it out to be. I want to believe that the milestones that seemingly ended should be celebrated in the happiness of life, not in some perceived checklist.