I Shouldn’t Have To Live My Life The Way Society Wants Me To

The life of a twenty-something is full of goals. On top of writing books, traveling to foreign countries, and finding love, we have an invisible checklist of socially acceptable steps in the back of our minds. Graduation, college, career, marriage, then children. But as we switch up that order or decide to skip a step, society seems to have a problem with that. That’s where I give a big middle finger to all the haters.

More and more, the constant question on every twenty-something’s mind is what’s next? When we’re lost or are having trouble figuring out the next step in our lives, we turn to that invisible checklist. Recently I had one of these breakdowns, and it wasn’t pretty. I’m a recent graduate in a long-term relationship that’s currently long distance and have a great entry-level job. So when I didn’t know what was next, I turned to marriage.

Ah, yes. The invisible checklist strikes again. I freaked out because I wasn’t engaged yet and then freaked out because I don’t want to be engaged. There was a lot of freaking out that night, but then I realized that I shouldn’t be forced into anything on this stupid invisible checklist and neither should you. So I ripped up society’s checklist and decided to make my own.

I have so many other life goals that I want to achieve. Whether they are small (like traveling more) or big (like writing a book), I’m not going to give that up just because society thinks it’s time for me to do something else with my life. I’m not one to let other people make my decisions, so why am I starting now?

Twenty-something’s everywhere are redefining their lives, and I give them so much credit for that. From deciding to get married at a young age to deciding not to get married at all, our generation is finally taking the leaps to define their own lives and tear up the invisible lists left for us by society. It’s a shift that’s scaring people and starting conversation, and we should be proud to be a part of a stronger generation.

Big change is happening, even when you think your life is at a standstill. But running away from our dreams and into the invisible checklist won’t make life any easier. Getting married just because it’s next on the list is why there are so many divorces, and giving up on your own dreams is the reason why midlife (and quarter-life) crises are so common.

So, when you think about giving up and turning to someone else’s dream, remember that millennials everywhere are with you. We don’t have to follow society’s plans for us and can live any life we want to live, no matter how off-track it might sound to anyone else. Here’s to all the free-thinking, brave-hearted twenty-somethings out there who aren’t afraid to take the road less traveled. May we be them, may we know them, and may we inspire them.

Featured image via Juliana Stein on Pexels


  1. I couldn’t agree with you more, Kali. That’s exactly why I co-wrote “The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels” (Seal Press). We no longer have to get married, so why get married? We are free to create the life scripts we want … and even the marriage we want, should we want it. Marriage should not be on the list as “the next thing to do.” Be a rebel!


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