Friday, 14 June 2013

Shoulda Coulda Woulda

Do you feel that there is an unwritten (or perhaps it is written) list of things you ought to have achieved in your life?

I read recently on a blog a list of milestones that were presented as an "expected" list of achievements for a person in their 30s.  Of course, I now can't find the list to show you but it went along the following lines:

By the time you hit your thirties, it's expected that you will have:
1. Completed a uni degree, and a post-graduate degree
2. Spent a couple of years travelling and working overseas
3. Settled into a "proper" job
4. Bought a house
5. Found a longterm partner
6. Got married
7. Had child/ren
8. Bought a boat or a holiday house

And that's all I can remember.  There were other things on it but I can't think what they were.  Suffice it to say, I could only claim to have ticked off two of the items.

I don't know where I was in my 20s but I was unaware of any such list existing for me or anyone else. No wonder I haven't ticked anything off. I've sort of bounced aimlessly through life, taking opportunities as they arise, with no grand plan or bucket list to work towards. I've NEVER written a list of goals except when I had to for a job application in which case I made them up.  I live in fear of the "Where do you see yourself in five years' time?" question.

I don't know where I see myself in five years' time because five years ago I couldn't have told you that I'd be here, and I'm about as happy with my life as it's possible to be.  My aimless approach to life has worked out amazingly well and has perhaps been the very reason it's worked out so well.  I haven't been striving singlemindedly towards any goal which means when an opportunity presents itself and I like it, I go for it.  That's how I ended up in the best job ever in Adelaide, how I moved to Queensland at a moment's notice to a job I enjoyed even more, and how I then moved to Perth.

I'm staggered at the amount of should'ing that people tie themselves up in knots with.  I didn't realise that anyone's life was anyone's but their own to live.  There's a line in the Desiderata that says "If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself."


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  1. Everyone has a different things that make them happy, and different goals and different ideas. I think it's a huge mistake if you try to fit someone else's rules to run your own life...if you are happy, you've won the prize. Knowing what you need to do to be happy, is the hardest part.

  2. Love your philosophy. It seems to be working brilliantly for you so keep it up :) I am a bit like you and didn't think about what I "should" be achieving by a certain age. As a result there's been a few twists and turns and I probably am not as accepting of this as you are, but as I take stock I know all is right in my world.

  3. I was just like this - never had a list to tick off. I just use to attempt to take every opportunity that came my way incase it didn't pass by again. It hasn't turned out to bad at all.

  4. Very wise, Prue. I have to admit I'm a bit of a shoulda and like to tick those boxes off for some unknown reason. I wish I could take a leaf out of your book and live for the moment!!


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