For many people, their birthday is a day to reflect on the past year of their life. In the process of this reflection, some people tend to seek validation that they are on the “right” path and compare themselves to other people their age. When I search “turning 26,” I see a lot of websites about health care, but also a lot of blog posts with life lessons learned by age 26 or what it feels like to turn 26. I suspect that there are more blogs out there about life in your twenties than any other decade in life. As far as I know, most 53 year olds aren’t wondering or worrying about what an average 53 year old’s life is like, but many people in their twenties want to know how they are doing compared to other people their age. I think many people in their twenties feel lost and want to know if they are the only one feeling this way. Many young adults face challenges in their twenties such as changing careers, ending a long-term relationship, living on their own for the first time, etc. These major life events can be quite stressful. It’s important for young adults to remember that while these changes are difficult, they are experiences that are building a foundation for their best life.
Attempting to measure yourself compared to other people your age is not a good indicator of your success in life. I worry that as a society we are spending too much time comparing ourselves to others, and this problem has worsened with the rise of social media. Constant comparison makes people feel like they need to achieve specific milestones in order to feel successful. Stop trying to check things off the list or doing things you feel that you should be doing. Ignore the expectations of society and of others. What is it that you want in life? That’s all that matters. Focus on you. Stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone has a unique life path.
Earlier this week I turned 26. 25 was a year I won’t forget. I got married, had a new teaching position, and traveled. 26 will be another eventful year. I will be doing more traveling, moving to Michigan, and buying a home for the first time. I will be taking a short break from blogging while I’m exploring Asia, but I’ll be back at the end of next month!
“I decided if you’re lucky enough to be alive, you should use each birthday to celebrate what your life is about.” – Mary Steenburgen