Warning: rambling post ahead. Rare moment of introspection initialized.
The number 30 is a noose around my neck.
It’s the age I consider as “old.”
By the time I turn thirty years old, if I don’t consider myself a successful person in terms of career, social life, and family life, I am genuinely afraid that it will push me over the edge.
For a person in her early 20s, I guess I’m doing well. I graduated from university early. I never run out of job offers. I am working a government job that I enjoy, and I do very well in class. I have a group of friends composed of successful, interesting, and stimulating people. I have my little hobbies and talents. I have a good relationship with my family. I’m beginning to be recognized in my field of work, and my name has been on print several times. Nobody wants to assassinate me (I hope).
But I am still a long, long way from what I hope to achieve.
I was talking about this with a friend one day, and she asked me how I envisioned myself as a successful 30-year-old.
My answer? I told her I would be an attorney by then. I would have a directorial position in a government office or working in the state prosecutor’s office. I would have started my foray into the stock market. I would be in perfect health. I would be either engaged to be married or already married and expecting my first child. I would have articles published in several notable publications, and I would have my first successful book launch.
“That sounds…difficult,” she told me dubiously. “I mean, I know how determined you are and I am confident of your skill and talents, but all of those at the same time seem a little bit too much for a 30 year old.”
“Watch me,” I told her.
But in truth, I am scared. What if I don’t succeed? What if all those confident statements I made years ago will never be realized? I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. I don’t have a plan for anything other than succeeding.
My entire world almost collapsed when last week, a mentor told me “Marry first, then focus on your career afterwards.”
WTF. I’m too young for that.
It’s not that I don’t want to get married…but I want to be successful FIRST before marrying. I have no intention of being a dead weight to my future husband. Plus, if I get married and my husband is more successful than I am, I would forever try to compete with him and overcome his success. This is when I realized that when I get married someday, it will most likely not be out of love but out of convenience. A partnership with a successful individual (successful in a different career, that is) who will love me. I will most likely not return his sentiments, but he must be someone I respect and admire.
Nevertheless, I did spend an entire hour composing a list of candidates for marriage. Then I realized they were all very successful men, and that made me feel frustrated – so I balled up my list of marriageable options and threw it in the trash.
Whenever I feel particularly positive about myself, I envision myself being this successful 30-year-old and I feel happy…but after a few minutes I grow uneasy and feel panic rising in me. Successful, yes. But I’d also be an incredibly busy person with a husband I don’t even love, a child on the way (I DON’T EVEN WANT TO HAVE KIDS), and tons of responsibilities that would make anybody exhausted.
So you see, I am not only scared of failing – I am also scared of succeeding.
But then. Fear is a negative emotion and will only impede my progress, so it must be squashed.
Today, I am making a decision to cut that noose. I won’t be tied to a time bomb – I will grow at my own pace and I won’t rush myself. I will enjoy life (in moderation) and I won’t keep my eyes laser-focused on my goals. I will still try to achieve everything by 30 if it’s possible, but I won’t kill myself if I don’t succeed.
NO JEN. YOU’LL SUCCEED. STOP TALKING LIKE A CRAZY PERSON.
I need to get back to work.