There is no doubt that the number 30 marks a milestone in the minds of many young people.
There seems to be a fantastical aura surrounding the age of 30 as if you're supposed to have all your life's loose ends tied up by the stroke of midnight.
Jenna, the main character from the beloved Jennifer Garner film "13 Going On 30" wants to fast forward through all of her teenage years and even her 20s just to reach that golden age. Her mantra is "I want to be 30, flirty, and thriving;" she believes that the moment she hits 30, she will be successful in her relationships, her social life and her career.
When we are younger, we dream that by the time we're 30 we will have met our life partner or even be settled with children. Perhaps some of us believe we will have attained our dream career or bought our first home. Our dream car, our ideal pet, our version of the "Friends" friend group: these are all things that most people would wish to have by the time they turn the big 3-0.
There is also an expectation of being fully financially stable by the time we are 30. Every person in their late 20s dreams of paying off student debt, earning an exceptional credit score and building a substantial savings account.
The truth of the matter is society puts a lot of pressure on those in their 20s to get their sh*t together before they enter their third decade.
But how realistic is this anticipated success?
Is there really an age when we should all reach a certain level of personal success?
The answers, in my opinion, are
A) Not really realistic at all and
The mid-life crisis is a growing phenomenon that stems from the societal pressures surrounding the age of 30.
After sailing through your 20s, you might find yourself slapped in the face with adulthood and the expectation of maturity. Many of us begin to wonder "What the f*ck am I doing with my life?" and "Am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing?"
It's even harder for us to ignore these existential questions when we are faced with the frequently-measured successes of those around us. Our closest friends and family members might be "right on track" to what success looks like for most people.
Your friends might slowly be getting engaged one by one, then married, maybe promoted at work and then BAM! Before you know it, you're suddenly the only one who doesn't seem to fit the current standard.
What we must do is let go of these expectations. They do us great harm and can even stunt our own success due to our looming fear of never meeting them (AKA failure).
It is much healthier for us to accept that not everyone achieves the same milestones at the same point in their lives and that just because you are still living at home or struggling with finances doesn't mean you are not on your way to achieving these things in time.
In fact, in our current economic climate, there are more 30-somethings living with their parents than with their significant others.
Furthermore, the Federal Reserve has reported there are 12 million student loan borrowers in the U.S. between the ages of 30 and 39, and the average person in their 30s owes $34,000 dollars in student loan debt.
Don't feel as if you're the only one not meeting these lame expectations because you're definitely not.
We also have to stop comparing our successes to the achievements of those around us. There is a popular phrase by the brilliant Brene Brown that says comparison is the killer of joy, and it's wildly true.
If we are so concerned with comparing ourselves to our peers, we will never attain our aspirations.
Also, we usually have a warped or incomplete idea of what another person had to go through in order to attain their successes. Perhaps your cousin Eddy sacrificed nights out with friends and yearly vacations in order to move out of his parents' house and into his brand new condo, yet through your eyes, he attained it with ease.
You wonder why you aren't yet able to afford your own condo and speculate where you might have gone wrong. Thinking this way makes us feel bad about ourselves even though our thoughts might have no basis in reality.
There will always be someone with more talent and motivation than you, someone who appears to have everything you wish to have.
By comparing ourselves to others we are doing a disservice to ourselves because we are underestimating our own abilities in favor of someone else's.
Furthermore, we have to remember that our success relies on our perspective of what "success" is. People of different backgrounds can find success in vastly different things.
For example, the idea of marriage and raising children might define success for those who are raised to place family above all other life endeavors, perhaps due to religious or cultural reasons.
However, others with a more secular background (such as myself) might not see marriage and family as the be-all-to-end-all when it comes to success. Maybe this end goal is met by following a fulfilling career or a pursuing a satisfying social life (or maybe by a buying a big house and filling it with dogs and cats, but who really knows for sure).
No matter what you view as being successful in your 30s, what we need to remember is that not everyone wants the same things out of life. Not everyone spends their 20s looking for a partner to settle down with or anxiously waiting to have children.
Not everyone needs a large social circle to feel fulfilled or a house with five bathrooms and a jacuzzi. Not everyone draws time-sensitive diagram outlining their lives, and not everyone's lives go according to plan even if they have one.
And without a doubt, not everyone needs to have their sh*t together by the end of their 29th year. Sometimes, it takes a little longer.
And that's perfectly OK.