Isn’t it nice when people show an interest in us? In our lives?
It’s good to know they are interested in how our lives are going.
But what about when we respond with something that they didn’t anticipate?
What if we are not up to the ‘right point’ in our lives that society expects us to be?
There are so many expectations for every stage of life… So many questions… So much judgement that comes with it.
The earliest age I remember someone commenting on one of the first stages of my life was when I was about to turn 13.
My Aunty commented on the fact I was about to enter my teens and that now my life would be all about boys and having my first period – to which my mum corrected her that I had already had my first period. Of course I was already into boys too – so I guess first test passed!
Throughout my teens, adults wanted to know all about “do you have a boyfriend?” and “What are you going to do when you leave school?”
Meanwhile peer pressure pushed us into smoking, drinking, and comparing tales of sexual experiences.
There was a constant pressure to grow up fast and constantly focus on the future and where we were going rather than being in the moment and appreciating what we had.
So what happens when you reach adulthood?
Leaving school, it is all about the next stages – Uni and/or work/careers, meeting someone etc.
So, you get a job and meet someone and the next questions are all about where you are going next – the expectation to move out, settle down, get engaged.
Onto the next ‘stage’ – save for a house, get engaged, and save for a wedding (this is the point people start helpfully telling you what they think you should do or have for your wedding – despite it being your money going on the wedding).
And if you’re not at that point? Well that’s when the questions come:
“Do you not want to get married?”
“Do you have to save for a deposit – Could you not rent so you can move out sooner?” “Are you looking for a relationship?” “Whatever happened to ‘So and so’, I thought you two would have got married”.
The expectations are always there from others. The pressures of what you should do in your life and when.
It amazes me the lack of boundaries some people have at times.
I’ve known people to have opinions on, and comment on women in their 30’s who are single. I’ve heard comments on women who have children but work full time. Comments on stay at home mothers who don’t work.
I’ve been asked multiple times if I am going to have children now I am married. I have been asked outright if I am able not able to have children.
I had a friend who fell pregnant and gradually told work colleagues, only to be asked by one of them if the pregnancy with her husband was planned?
And when someone does have a child… they can be just out of the hospital before someone is asking “Do you think you’ll have any more?”
There is always more expectation and judgement… “I think it’d be nice if you had another so he/she isn’t on their own”
And if you have more children than people expect, again, comes the judgement!
Before we know it we have bounced from life event to life event living under the expectation of others!
And if we haven’t reached any of those expected life events, then what? We failed?!
A life without those means a life not well lived?!
Each person’s life is their own. They may want to meet someone, they may not. They may want to live alone, they may not. They may want to get married, they may not. They may want to have children, they may not.
And sometimes life takes these decisions out of our hands.
Stop pushing people. Don’t judge. Expect things from your own life not from the lives of others.
Live and let live.