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Hi so I've been noticing that many people in my life (friends, acquaintances, family members, people I went to highschool with) are getting married and having kids. I'm 22 from a small town in a conservative state. I've been hearing and seeing things like this for a while now and I can't help but feel pressured/behind on life.

As a 22 year old, I oddly don't see myself or feel like an adult yet. I'm currently in the process of getting my degree and getting a job. I plan to further my education and travel and grow into myself. The idea of getting married now and having kids are things I don't have planned. I honestly dont feel ready to do those things and don't really seem interested in doing so now or anytime in the future.

Yet I somehow feel the pressure to do to these things now especially seeing people close to me doing them. It doesn't help that I'm from a small town. My bestfriend is getting married this month and this has hit me as well. I feel old like I need to have my life together yet at the same time I feel like I have so much yet to accomplish.

I've experienced people telling me that the age I plan to maybe settle down is too old. My ex boyfriend used to tell me "having kids at 30 is way too old" and that I should consider settling down younger. We're not together anymore but hearing things like that did make me feel bad. I just want to be financially secure and emotionally ready to do that and I feel like in my early-mid twenties isn't an appropriate time. As in this age, it's important to figure what you want and to live out what you want to do.

Oddly too I've been shamed for feeling unsure/not wanting marriage or kids. I get told things like "you'll change your mind" or "you're going to end up alone" if I don't go for it. I guess I'm just unsure and have other things focused on right now. 

But what I came here to say is, is it wrong to not want kids/marriage right now? Or ever? How can I avoid feeling pressured on doing these things? Any advice is appreciated.

Edited by nai808
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Never be pressured into marriage and children if you are not ready or if you never want to. Marriage and children are responsibilities that should be taken on willingly and wholeheartedly. Children are a massive responsibility and should never be had without 1000% commitment. 

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No, it's not wrong. I could have written this post at 18, I'm having flashbacks here lol. 

Getting married young and having kids young in a conservative small town is the path of least resistance, it's just so damn easy to fall into especially when the culture really pushes that as THE thing to do in life. 

As you branch out and continue doing your own thing, you'll meet more and more people who have taken different paths and different goals in life, people with all kinds of backgrounds and ways of seeing things. This helps a lot in feeling less "behind" or "odd one out". Because honestly, not everyone in the world thinks like the people you've grown up with. And that's a wonderful thing. 

There's nothing more important than finding your own way that's true to you and being able to stand on your own two feet in this world. If you choose marriage, if you choose to be a parent, and when if you do, there is no universal default that fits everyone. 

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I'm 30, not married, no kids, no boyfriend. I feels behind. All my friends are married and having kids. 

I, like you, was young, felt I had to rush and catch up. All from the time I was 24 until about 28, I online dated, went on multiple a week. I kept thinking I was going to meet "the one" and I kept throwing myself out there blindly and naively. 

All the guys were bad for me. Dated two alcoholics, some cheaters, guys that ghosted me after months, guys that were entitled, guys that were poor and had nothing, guys that were serial daters, guys that were awkward virgin daters, guys that didn't prioritize me, guys that weren't serious about dating, guys that were flaky, guys that were immature, guys that were cheap, guys that made me feel inferior, tons of guys that smoked Marijuana. 

They all ended, some in heartbreak and some were a God Amen thank you. 

I look back and see that I was so focused on meeting Mr. Right, that I settled for Mr. Wrong every time hoping it was right. Trying to morph it into my dream love, my dream life. I settled for things I shouldn't. I settled for treatment I shouldn't. I settled for what I didn't want. 

Now at 30, I am living the life I always wanted. No man. But I am happy. I am much wiser now. And I realize that I kept jumping off course to these guys that weren't on the path I wanted to go. 

Stay on your path. Lay out goals for yourself. A big one for me was getting a house. I have one all on my own and I couldn't be prouder of myself. 

Map out where you see yourself. Keep on living YOUR life. The right man will fit into it. The wrong man will steer you off course. 

It was funny, every time I dated these guys I changed and I adapted to their goals and what I thought they wanted in life. As soon as it ended, I always ended up right back exactly on my course with my goals. 

Now I've learned that I shouldn't side track my life for a guy. And I won't. 

God has the right person for you. There is no time line. A friend of mine has her first child at 34, another at 38, her last at 40. 

Another friend of mine got married, got pregnant,  her husband died. She's a widow at 32 with a baby and has to start all over. 

There is no right or wrong. Your path is YOURS so live your life, stay on the path you want. God has a plan for you. 

 

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Ignore other people and stop paying attention to their comments.  Go your own way.  Stay focused and concentrate on education and career.  Further your education and travel.  Grow.  Don't feel pressured to get married and have kids.  My mother did and she lived with a world of regret for decades. 

Everyone is different.  I married when I was 22 and had sons years later.  My husband and I did not have children immediately.  The only reason why I don't have any regrets is because I was very lucky to have found the right one in the first place. 

It is NOT wrong not wanting marriage and kids right now.  Take your time.  What is the big hurry and rush?  You're not an old maid or spinster at 22 !  You're still so young.  You have your whole life ahead of you. 

Don't constantly explain and defend yourself to those who are telling you what to do with your life. 

Many times people hound or pester you with topics of marriage and kids because they don't want you to have freedom and they want you to be saddled with extra responsibilities NOW instead of later.  Many people don't have your best interests at heart and prefer the 'misery loves company' mentality for others.  They're dictating what you should do with your life.  It's really none of their business. 

You can avoid feeling pressured by not feeding into their conversation.  Change the subject, don't answer or get busy and do something else.  Walk away.  After a while, they'll take a hint and should back off. 

Or, you can keep them at bay by telling them the truth.  Tell them that you prefer to remain focused on your education, get a job, travel, grow, etc.  This is what you want to do in this order.  If they can't and won't accept your honest truth, it's their problem, not yours. 

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4 hours ago, nai808 said:

But what I came here to say is, is it wrong to not want kids/marriage right now? Or ever? How can I avoid feeling pressured on doing these things?

Its not wrong, everyone is having their own path. I know people who married at 18 that are happy. That married at 40 that they are happy etc. Its our individual path. I always found that its better to find the right person then to rush anything because of social norms or biological clock. So, you should take your time to figure that out as you are still young.

Also, unless you are going to live in a very big cities where lots of people are single even in their 50s, social pressure never stops. You would always get questions like "When are you gona get married?" or "When are you going to have kids?" if from nobody else, than from your parents. So, just get use to that. 

Also, as you can see, in small town its different. So you would likely find somebody who would just want to settle down and have kids in their 20s. In biggers there is a complete opposite where you would find people not wanting to settle down. Its possible to find different but its a most likely scenario. So, you should know thatin a situation where you dont want to settle down for now(or maybe even never) you would be harder to find a partner who would want the same. 

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5 hours ago, nai808 said:

  I get told things like "you'll change your mind" or "you're going to end up alone" if I don't go for it. 

Finish your education. Get a good job afterwards. Finance your own place to live. Then you'll feel a lot better. Don't listen to exes. There's no need to be barefoot and pregnant by 25. 

Who is feeding you this stuff? Do your parents resent supporting you or just want you out of the house? Why are you even entertaining these myths that you're an old maid if you're not married at 22?

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6 hours ago, nai808 said:

Hi so I've been noticing that many people in my life (friends, acquaintances, family members, people I went to highschool with) are getting married and having kids. I'm 22 from a small town in a conservative state. I've been hearing and seeing things like this for a while now and I can't help but feel pressured/behind on life.

As a 22 year old, I oddly don't see myself or feel like an adult yet. I'm currently in the process of getting my degree and getting a job. I plan to further my education and travel and grow into myself. The idea of getting married now and having kids are things I don't have planned. I honestly dont feel ready to do those things and don't really seem interested in doing so now or anytime in the future.

Yet I somehow feel the pressure to do to these things now especially seeing people close to me doing them. It doesn't help that I'm from a small town. My bestfriend is getting married this month and this has hit me as well. I feel old like I need to have my life together yet at the same time I feel like I have so much yet to accomplish.

I've experienced people telling me that the age I plan to maybe settle down is too old. My ex boyfriend used to tell me "having kids at 30 is way too old" and that I should consider settling down younger. We're not together anymore but hearing things like that did make me feel bad. I just want to be financially secure and emotionally ready to do that and I feel like in my early-mid twenties isn't an appropriate time. As in this age, it's important to figure what you want and to live out what you want to do.

Oddly too I've been shamed for feeling unsure/not wanting marriage or kids. I get told things like "you'll change your mind" or "you're going to end up alone" if I don't go for it. I guess I'm just unsure and have other things focused on right now. 

But what I came here to say is, is it wrong to not want kids/marriage right now? Or ever? How can I avoid feeling pressured on doing these things? Any advice is appreciated.

Let it roll off your back. People say this because they envy your youth and freedom. Take it with a pinch of salt. Just wink at them if they say “you’ll change your mind” and reply with “we’ll see”.

People with small minds (imposing on others) generally have big mouths. Let it go. Move on with the things you prefer/want to do and do it well.

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11 hours ago, Seraphim said:

Never be pressured into marriage and children if you are not ready or if you never want to. Marriage and children are responsibilities that should be taken on willingly and wholeheartedly. Children are a massive responsibility and should never be had without 1000% commitment. 

Don't let yourself be pressured by others' timelines. I was 42 as was my husband when we had our one and only -like winning the lottery. We'd been married a few months -first marriage for both - and we didn't marry because of the pregnancy, at all.  We simply started trying before we got married

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Posted (edited)

I was told once that life is a marathon and not a race. You have to do things at your own rate and not compare your life to others who are on different paths. I just turned 45 recently and I’ve never been married and have no kids. All of my other friends with the exception of one are married with two children. I know that not comparing yourself to others is easier said than done. You just have to keep thinking about the things that you have in life and cherish them. 

Edited by beatlesfan77
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1 hour ago, beatlesfan77 said:

I was told once that life is a marathon and not a race. You have to do things at your own rate and not compare your life to others who are on different paths. I just turned 45 recently and I’ve never been married and have no kids. All of my other friends with the exception of one are married with two children. I know that not comparing yourself to others is easier said than done. You just have to keep thinking about the things that you have in life and cherish them. 

Yes.  I wish you knew who I knew -I know several in their 40s and 50s never married no kids.  

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As someone who started long term relationships at 15, had a baby at 23, and also lives in a small conservative town….I can confidently say: YOU are doing this right. 

Enjoy the phase you’re in. Once it’s gone, you can’t really go back to it. I never got to live on my own and I really feel like I missed out on A LOT. Now I’m married with 2 kids and I can’t be like “heyyyy so I’m gonna get my own apartment to try it out…”. It’s not an option for me anymore.

But your options….they’re endless. I’m both envious and proud of you.

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Sorry for the tough feelings. 

For whatever it's worth, I'm exactly 20 years older than you, from a much different background—grew up in, and have always lived, in gigantic cities. And yet: it seems the feeling you're describing—of being behind in life—is one that bites at everyone, in some way or another, all through life. Personally, I'd call it the definition of being an adult—that and learning to deal with it rather than letting it deal with you. 

Whether it's getting married and having kids, trying to summit some peak or another in a career, or hopscotching from country to country, you should do all this for one reason, and one reason only: because it feels right and urgent and true for you, best you know yourself at any given moment. That's ultimately how you mitigate these feelings, since what others are doing will always—always—have the potential to make you feel "behind." The person with kids makes the childless person question their life, as the person living in a small town does the same to the person living in a tiny apartment in a big city, and so on.

Call it the curse of the human imagination, and the curse of being the only species with a brain big enough to allow us to know that our lives are not infinite. But the flip side to that curse is the blessing: not only can you imagine anything, and everything, but you can put yourself on the path to making whatever you want from your life a reality. Tune into that inner bell and the rest becomes background noise. 

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I'm your age (and also a female), and you're absolutely not wrong. Don't let anyone pressure you into doing something you don't want. Even for me who's lived in big cities my entire life, I still get comments or see social media comments from women who have given birth shame me for being hesitant about having kids/not wanting them at all. The most common remarks being "Oh people who've never given birth will never know what true love is", "You'll change your mind, mark my words", "You're really missing out", "I feel bad for your partner" etc. It sucks, but it's reality because of how people and society raise them

It's inevitable to come across someone who tries to pressure you into settling down, but what's most important is that YOU know exactly what you want, and to stick with it. Having kids isn't the same as finding a new boyfriend/husband, there's no "get a refund/return the item" process. Once you give birth to them, they're your responsibility until they turn 18. So if you're unsure, DON'T HAVE ANY. If you're feeling the pressure too much, maybe provided you have the financial abilities, to move somewhere else. Somewhere that you feel is best in advancing with your dream career. What I learned is that, the remarks people give you or me are just comments, they're usually not saying it for your own good, but just for the sake of saying it. Remember, you always have to come first to yourself, you have zero obligation to please them. It's your life, not theirs, and only you can decide whether to not listen to them, or cave in and potential regret your decision. Wishing you the best of luck on whatever you decide to do 🙂

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On 7/5/2022 at 8:04 PM, nai808 said:

I feel old like I need to have my life together yet at the same time I feel like I have so much yet to accomplish.

Getting married or having children doesn't equal having your life together. How many people have children and a fancy house but are in huge debt? Or how about those who have incredible careers but are struggling in other areas of life? Perspective is everything.

Move towards that which brings you joy and is going to improve your life in the long run.

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37 minutes ago, greendots said:

Getting married or having children doesn't equal having your life together

I was coming to say exactly the same thing. 

A lot of marriages are full of problems. A lot of people with kids struggle to make it all work. A lot of people get married and have kids well before they are actually ready for it, so please don't assume that either is a sign one necessarily has their life sorted at all.

Having one's life "together" is incredibly subjective, and you should follow what it means for you

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On 7/5/2022 at 9:04 PM, nai808 said:

. My bestfriend is getting married this month and this has hit me as well. I feel old like I need to have my life together 

Rabbits can have offspring. Don't get caught up in what your friends are doing. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, greendots said:

Getting married or having children doesn't equal having your life together

Agree. It was two of my three life goals but I never thought of it as having my life "together" - or measuring it by someone else's notion of "together."  I wanted it with all my heart and soul and for decades -it has to be a personal goal IMO not because of comparing, etc.  When I was 30 and single a married friend told me he and his wife were going to be buying a house as they just had a baby and he said "you know it's what people do -it's the next step."  What "people?" And why did it need to be a next step? I really hate cliches like that.  I have no interest in buying a house with my husband -I like renting an apartment with our son for various reasons and none of it is to save $.  Do I not have my life together because I didn't take this next step.

I'd refrain from looking for negative examples -oh look -they have 3 kids but are in debt -oh look -she snagged her husband and gets to stay home and raise her kids but everyone knows he is addicted to porn and slept with her maid of honor last year" that just spreads bad karma and negativity.  I know of many ridiculously happy and joyous marriages long term relationships and families -some married since the 1980s, some almost ten years -and not because of social media photos but because I know them personally. I also know of divorces, drinking problems, unhappily single people, unhappily married people. 

Life is not fair. I have friends who never had to date like I did -met their person in high school or college and are very happy - to them it was so easy to pick someone to marry "you just know" because in part it was luck and timing and they never experienced the 24 years of dating on and off that I did -they didn't get it. 

Then I have friends in their 40s and 50s who missed opportunities, got in their own way, as well as two friends who were in catastrophic accidents -one case where she was with her partner in a car, ended up a quadriplegic and he left her -she was only 30.  Another who got engaged and a few days later was in a catastrophic accident that left her using a wheelchair -she was in her late 30s, they married- had a child - and he left her a few years ago.  Huge house etc. 

My dear friend met the love of her life in a dating site, they married and two years later she died from late stage cancer in her 30s.   There are all sorts of stories and none of them are going to make you feel better -maybe as a temporary bandaid.  It has to come from within you -figuring out what you want, your goals, why you want them, accepting there are no guarantees and then pursuing those goals with all your heart and soul and sweat and grit.  You do you.  

You do you.  

Edited by Batya33
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Everyone I know who married while I was your age came back around within 10 years and told me they envied me and wish that they'd waited a few years--at least.

Adolescent brain development isn't even completed in most people until age 25. 

People change a lot during early 20's, so it's best not to make life-impacting decisions with anyone else during this time. Stick to your own course, and you'll thank yourself later.

Meanwhile, remind yourself that 'those people' who try to pressure you are not living your life FOR you--so they don't get a vote.

Head high, and shoot for a goal of confidence in your own gut.

 

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