Sign of the Times: What Your 20s (and 30s) are Really For ​​​​​​​

If we listen carefully to what the world is telling us, it is entirely possible that we will lose our minds. Every time we turn on the TV, log onto social media, revisit the pages of our old journals, or visit extended family members, we are bogged down with cues about how our lives should take shape. Realistically, our lives are fluid creatures that often feel like they have a mind of their own. Between my own personal experiences and those of the people who are closest to me, I can tell you:

Whatever you think is going to happen, probably won’t. Whatever you think should happen, probably shouldn’t.
And, whatever plan you thought was full-proof, likely is not.

However, this doesn’t stop people from stating their views about what we should be doing in our 20s (and 30s). So, in honor of my quest for the truth, let’s explore 5 ways that society wants us to spend our 20s and 30s (and the real deal about all of them).

1. Society Says: Find the Love of Your Life.
The Truth: It is perfectly fine to let the love of your life find you.

Everything from a light scroll on Instagram to billboards we pass in the street paint a picture of how falling in love is supposed to look. But, during your 20s and 30s, it is equally important to bask in the love you have toward your family, yourself, your hobbies, and other things that make your days feel full. Besides, all of us are not looking for romantic love. Some of us are simply enjoying the ride.

2. Society Says: Catapult Your Career.
The Truth: Career development is an ongoing process that may (or may not) take off in your 20s & 30s.

As a Career Coach, I can attest to the number of people who start a career and change their minds, take time off, job hop, or simply find themselves stuck. For some, catapulting your career the way society says you should is not always realistic. Work, brainstorm, research, network, and soul-search until your career plans come together the way you want them to.

3. Society Says: Increase Your Credit Score (preferably 800 & Up).
The Truth: It took time for your credit to become damaged and it will take time to repair it.

Most of us know that credit is a leading factor in getting approved for a home, auto, or business loan (among other important things). But, those things become distant dreams once we rack up too much debt. Pay off debt little by little, keep your credit card balances low, and get a side hustle to make mounting debt more manageable. Put smart financial practices in place now that will help you prosper later.

4. Society Says: Have a Baby! Take Advantage of Your Child-Bearing Years.
The Truth: Having a baby is a life-changing experience that should not be decided by anyone else.

The same society that shames young ladies for having babies at 16 is the same society that shames grown women for having babies at 36. Truthfully, having children is a game changer and there are many 20 and 30-somethings who don’t want that, are not ready for that, or simply haven’t thought about that. And that’s okay.

5. Society Says: Travel Like Your Life Depends on it.
The Truth: Travel is costly, time-consuming, and amazing!

Personally, I love to take in different cultures through travel – it is refreshing, enlightening, and even humbling.  However, be advised that some aspects of travel are challenging. Trust me, that Instagram model that you saw with her hair flowing off the edge of a yacht did not show the frustration of two back to back flight delays, lost luggage, or the crowded walk through a germ-filled airport. Note: these are not deterrents to travel, simply caveats that you can use to mentally prep for your trip. Save some money, make some time, and go see the world. But, don’t feel pressured to do it when other people say you should. Do it in your own time…. you’ll enjoy it more.