If you had asked me at 6 years old where I thought I’d be by age 30 I would have said fighting crime as the Pink Power Ranger.
If you had asked me at 22, I would have said married to my college sweetheart, teaching 10th grade English and raising our two beautiful children.
If you had asked me at 28, I would have said putting the finishing touches on our upcoming wedding to my ex-boyfriend, helping to raise his 6-year old son, being a girl boss at my recent ex-company and wrapping up my first year of grad school.
Where am I actually at 30?
I recently quit my job without much of a backup plan because of corporate burnout, moved back in with my parents to assist part-time at my uncle’s small business and am stone-cold single and childless.
Am I ashamed? Do I feel like a failure? Is there something wrong with me?
Not one bit.
Careers, weddings, children, homeownership – these milestones I have been looking forward to my entire life are not what define me.
Married 30-year-olds with children are not inherently happier or more successful than me. 30-year-olds making six figures are not necessarily happier or more successful than me.
We are all incredibly unique and complex individuals, our milestones will all look different and happen at different times.
The beautiful thing about the lifetime of experiences that I have now at 30, the people I’ve loved, the places I’ve visited, the various career paths I’ve wandered down – I am perfectly comfortable and confident to look something square in the face, be it a job that is no longer fulfilling me or a man who’s telling me he’s in love with me when I know I don’t feel the same – pausing and listening to that inner voice in my heart that society’s messages can often drown out – and saying no, this is not for me.
It’s not the right man, it’s not the right time, it’s not the right job.
And that is OK.
The trouble with milestones and milestone ages is that they put too much emphasis on the destination when life is really all about the journey.
Our lives are a grand continuous unfolding and we should cherish the moments we have without racing to some imaginary finish line.
At no point in my life could I have predicted I would be where I am right now.
But even at 6, 22, or 28, I could have predicted who I would be right now.
A woman who leads her life with integrity, whose life is filled with amazing people who love her and who she loves in return, a woman who sings with joyful abandon in the shower, who writes words on paper that are etched on her heart, who struggles and triumphs.
There is no finish line.
No, I will be happy when I have a husband. I will be happy when I have my PHD.
No, I will be happy when I buy a house.
Happiness is not the destination. Happiness is the journey. Whoever and wherever you find yourself at any and every age – please don’t get caught in the trap of measuring the milestones.
That’s why we call ourselves Her Track, life is about the journey and the constant self-discovery. It is about surprising yourself and also knowing yourself at the same time.
You can’t believe your life has turned out the way it has, but if you’ve been your authentic self the whole time you know that any past version of you would be proud to meet you regardless of your accolades or marital status.
I am 30 and on paper my life looks rather shambly, but I’ve never been more confident in myself.
I am excited to meet 40-year-old Angela and 85-year-old Angela.
She will be different, but she will also be the same. Maybe she will never have the husband, or the job or the house, maybe she will have several – but I know that is not what is important.
She will still be honest, brave and strong.
She will still be singing in the shower and she will still be writing.
She will always be me.