Age Milestones: Why They Shouldn’t Exist

Stop using Age as a metric for success.

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You’re 18 and finally an “adult”. Your peers are graduating high school and leaving what seems to be their entire life behind for the next chapter. However, what happens if you’re 18 and don’t get into the school of your dreams? This was the age where you were supposed to start a new chapter somewhere new just like everyone else! You are different than your peers and feel as though you failed.

Fast forward a few years. It’s your 21st birthday and everyone wants to celebrate your “first” sip of alcohol. You stay up late – drink, dance, drink some more – oh and, don’t forget eating that entire calzone by yourself. You wake up in the morning feeling hungover, sick and most importantly unfulfilled. Since you’re 21, doesn’t that mean you are supposed to be more mature? You feel like you reverted to the 18-year-old self that spent too much time dancing on elevated surfaces. Once again, you feel like a failure.

Now you’re 23 focused on being somewhere impressive by the age of 25. You better be the next Girl Boss like Seema Bansal, founder of Venus Et Fleur, or Talia Goldberg, the youngest VP at America’s oldest VC firm. If not, you’re doomed for failure. You end up looking for promotions by switching jobs to get a title change versus being present and focusing on being successful at your current job. The pressure of your next age milestone was breathing down your neck. You can’t fail again.

I stopped using age as a metric for success. Why?

· Age Milestones are a construct of our environment. These social norms create expectations around certain ages. (ex: The Southern sorority phrase “Ring before Spring” is NOT popular at California state schools)

· Your ideal 25 or ideal 30 may not be everything you envisioned it would be once you achieve it. (ex: 13 going on 30 – if you haven’t seen it, you should.)

· If you are focused on age, you are focused on the clock. Focusing on my present life decreased my overall anxiety. 

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