It's okay if you're still searching for your purpose or passion. You're not a failure.
I'm fast approaching my 30th birthday. So long, twenties! You've been a ball with your unbridled hedonism, relationship fails, and distinct lack of responsibility.
The arrival of my 30s is a milestone by which I thought I'd have all things figured out. I once imagined, in the heady delusion of my youth, that by now I would've met the man of my dreams, be settled geographically and financially, and maybe even be thinking about the pattering of tiny feet.
But life doesn't always turn out the way you imagined it would. The plans you had in place in your early twenties can go out the window when you realize that life doesn't listen to what you want.
Instead, it listens to what you need. The two are often unrecognizable from one another.
30 seems to be the age where we start measuring our achievements and happiness against one another but I don't think anyone can (or should) shrink the messy adventure we call life down into something so asinine as timeframes and checklists.
Life is beautiful, painful, and often a complete mystery. It has a slightly irritating way of listening to your itinerary of must-do's and by-when's and then laughing in your face, handing you a glass of wine, patting you on the back and saying, "Suurrre."
Because life is unpredictable at best and chaotic at worst — and the truth is, there's no guarantee in life about anything at all.
The career path you thought you wanted in your early twenties perhaps isn't aligned with who you become as you approach your thirties.
The person you planned a future with was everything you thought you wanted but as time passed you realized their values and dreams just didn't fit with yours anymore.
The city you always thought you'd live in lost its magic and your sense of curious wanderlust ignited instead.
Remember: Life is an experience and should be lived first and foremost from the heart. It's a journey of the self; there's no destination; it unfolds in its own way in its own time — and for me, the beauty is in this unfolding.
Dreams are essential and keep our spirits alive, but should be flexible and subject to change. Does anyone really know the answers? Don't we all find ourselves in situations that we can't possible predict the outcome to?
All I know is that I had to follow the call of my heart. Three years ago, I moved across the world from the UK to Australia to see what the world had in store for me.
There, my creativity blossomed, I experienced the richness of new horizons and the beauty of a foreign landscape, and my writing took on a life of its own.
However, with the decision to move abroad at the age of 27 with no fixed agenda came the acceptance that I probably wasn't going to follow in the footsteps that society recommended. This was something I had to accept (along with cultural idiosyncrasies, winter in June/July, and possible encounters with deadly wildlife).
Along the way, I met a guy who I thought was "The One." We had it all planned out: the house, kids, dogs and picket fence. But as usual, life happened and it became apparent we were just two very different people, trying to make something work because we both hoped each other could be someone we weren't.
We could've settled. We could've forced it to work to maintain the correct order of things but I knew in my heart I'd be deceiving myself.
The lies we tell ourselves are the most dangerous of all because we compromise who we are and we let our soul wither within the walls of our deception.
By listening to that intuitive voice inside our gut, we can escape the sacrifice of settling for less than we deserve and meander back to the path of self-discovery. It might be a lonely path at times, but in your heart you know you're staying true to you.
I now proudly fly the flag for the nearly-thirty-I-don't-have-it-all-together brigade, and paradoxically, I've never felt so sure of who I am and that I'm on the right path — probably more so than if I had stayed back home, and settled for the wrong man and the wrong job just "because everyone else is doing it."
Bottom line: 30 isn't a deadline; it's a collection of numbers.
It signals the end of our younger years and is a portal to a wider understanding of yourself. It welcomes the beginning of true womanhood. We're wiser than our twenties (thank goodness), but we've yet to learn so much about ourselves.
So, forget deadlines and milestones — see where your heart leads you. You might be surprised at what you discover when you let go of those expectations and surrender to life.