As we grow older, many of us worry about hitting the specific milestones that’s expected at our age: graduating from school, finding a stable job, getting married, having kids. It’s what our society dictates, and if we try our hardest at feigning ignorance towards these milestones, those around us and those close to us will continue to pressurize us until we do care.

So Tiffany, when are you going to get married?

Why is it necessary for us to be part of the norm?

Is it so bad to derail from what’s traditional?
Is it so bad to focus on what we’re passionate about instead?
Is it so bad that we’d rather gauge our success and happiness in life based on our personal achievements rather than the milestones set by others?

Why do I have to conform to the expectations of the norm and feel bad when I don’t meet its milestones?

The truth is,

I’m proud that I’ve finally moved on from a broken relationship.
I’m proud that I’ve finally made my first dollar without working for anyone.
I’m proud that I’ve finally found a way to lose weight.
I’m proud that I’ve finally traveled on my own long enough to realize that I don’t need to rely on someone to always hold my hand.

And to me, that’s enough. That’s all I need.

Life isn’t about comparing yourself with others. It’s not about gauging how far along we are in reaching the milestones expected of us, it’s about the things we’ve done, the obstacles we’ve overcome, the setbacks we’ve endured to turn our lives around. These are the things that make us stronger and give us a good story to tell.

Remember, everyone has only one life. If you keep allowing yourself to be coerced by other people’s opinions on how you should live your life, you’ll always be living someone else’s life, not yours.

So stop trying to meet other people’s expectations and fulfill your own.