I'm 31! So many thoughts, so much nostalgia!
I HAD big ideas for this blog post. BIG ideas. I had cute doodles, some lists... but all my ideas spiraled out of control and never got to the "completed" stage.
So I scaled my thoughts back. I tried to simplify my goal, and think about a single idea or "life motto" that has given me success throughout life.
And it was hard, cause of course I still came up with a half-dozen mottos and ideas abdout life, love, money, and planning the future, but ultimately I skimmed it down to one simple but critical thing:
Take your own, intentional time as you walk your individual path in life.
No matter the stage in life, there will ALWAYS be peer pressure (some good, some not so good). It doesn't matter if you're in high school, college, developing your career, or even in retirement.
Life is just one big ultimate story of "If you give a mouse a cookie."
If you go to school, people will want you to have good friends. Once you have good friends, they'll want you to have a boy/girlfriend. Once you get a boy/girlfriend, people will want to know when you're getting engaged. Once you're engaged, they'll want to know how fancy your wedding is. Once you're married, people will want to know when you're buying a house. Once you have a house, they'll ask when you're getting a bigger/better house. Once you have the bigger house, they'll ask when you'll have a baby. Once you have a baby, they'll want to know when you're having the next one. After all that, then will come the questions of how you're raising them, what kind of school they'll go to etc. etc. etc.
And it will NEVER stop. Even when you are retired, and every kid you have is grown and graduated, then will begin the cycle of grandkids, great grandkids, etc.
But again, not all peer pressure is bad, sometimes your friends/family will come together to try to help keep you from making a bad decision!
What matters is determining which peer pressure is looking out for YOUR best interest, and which isn't. A lot of "bad" peer pressure cares more about appearance, or societal norms over what's actually good for you.
Here are some examples of "bad" peer pressure that I've noticed throughout my living:
Don't date a person just because your friends think you should.
Don't marry somebody just because you've been together ____ amount of time.
Don't force baby fever on yourself because "You're getting old and all your friends already have kids"
Don't buy a house because everybody else has one.
Don't throw yourself in debt for a vacation because everybody on social media seems to be traveling the world.
Don't stick with a job you hate to make money that you want, but don't need.
Don't spend resources you don't have to keep up with "The Jonses."
Don't force yourself to be something that your not, just because society tells you so.
Every single one of these is something I've personally struggled with OR a close friend of mine has struggled through. And I'm not impervious to peer pressure and have times caved in when I shouldn't, however this is a thought that stays at the front of my mind when making tough decisions, and it's helped me make some hard calls that ultimately were the right ones.
So there's my birthday thought, see you for more birthday dwellings next year! :-D