Ditching expectations of adult life

Throughout education there are linear marks of progression, going through the different years and various qualifications. So it’s totally natural to feel a bit confused when there aren’t these clearly defined stages in your adult life.

It seems, in no particular order, to go a bit like: get a job, find a partner, buy a house, get married, have kids. So what happens when you buy a house at 23 but haven’t planned on having kids or getting married until 30? Or maybe you’ve found the perfect job and partner but can’t afford a house or family for another ten years? How do you make sure those years don’t just go in the blink of an eye?

It’s a cliche, but it really is important to do things at your own pace when you’re an adult. It doesn’t matter if someone you knew from school has got a really good job, managed to buy a house and seems really happy with their partner – because who actually defined those factors as the ‘be all and end all’ of adulthood?

Life is not linear graphic
Life is not linear

If you don’t want to buy a house until you’re 45 because you want to spend your younger years travelling the world, that’s fine. If you want to do a variety of jobs and aim to try something new every few years, then that’s okay. It’s all about setting the pace for you.

How to create your own path to follow

One way to not get affected by others’ lives is to set yourself some key goals, values and beliefs. Looking at what you think is your key vision in life can help you choose what you want to do in various aspects of your adult life.

Find a quiet evening or a rainy day, sit by yourself and really think about what it is you consider as success or happiness. Setting yourself these key goals will help you to stick to your path and not care about what everyone else is doing.

Realistic adult life goals graphic
Now these are some goals I can get behind – Artwork by iamnotanartist_

Think of it like this: if you were to start a business, you’d set yourself some core visions and values about where you want the company to go and achieve. So shouldn’t we be doing the same for ourselves in adult life?

Thinking about decisions in a way that reflects our key motivations could be something like: ‘I’m going to take this job because it resonates with my growth vision’, ‘I’m taking this time out because it demonstrates my decision to practice self-love’.

Set yourself some key goals, values and beliefs

If you set your whole persona and life around these visions and values, it could be much easier to find a route through life that you enjoy. Rather than constantly wondering whether you should be doing something else or regretting a certain choice.


It is really difficult to get out of the habit of comparing yourself and your situation to others but it is truly important to learn not to. Work out the things that you want from your life, and follow the path that you would like to create for yourself.

Do you have any visions and values that guide your life? Leave a comment below to inspire others!

Or if you’d like some more help with personal goals, check out my post about attainable goal setting here.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Enn

    I love this. There is a lot of expectations as you enter adulthood and as someone who designed her own life on her own terms, I really appreciate this post.

    1. Maddie

      Thank you! I’m glad you feel the same and have been able to set your own path.

  2. Fransic verso

    Being organized by setting goals and things like that it helps to see where you going with your life and achievement.

    1. Maddie

      Definitely, it’s the best way to stay on track and stay true to yourself!

  3. Jaya Avendel

    Making a list is a great way to remember one’s goals and stay focused. I have a little square of paper with my ideals and resolutions written on it that I read each morning. 🙂

    1. Maddie

      I really like this idea – I will do this myself to stay on track with my visions! Thank you 🙂

  4. Yes, comparison is the thief of joy. There’s nothing wrong with changing your mind about your path. Every day is a new opportunity to work on reaching your goals. Nice post!

    1. Maddie

      Not at all, it’s really important to do exactly what will make you happy in life. Thank you 🙂

  5. Aaliyah Hunt

    This was a nice post to read because I always feel like I should have my whole love together but I’m only 23? There’s certain things my friends have that I don’t yet and it makes me feel bad but I definitely need to snap out of that! X

    1. Maddie

      I totally agree with you, I feel like everything should all be in order already! But it’s so damaging to think that way. I hope you can resolve those feelings soon! X

  6. Gemma

    There are always expectations when entering adulthood! I like to write my goals and stuff down and sometimes things change and as we grow I think we change with how we fit into those “expectations”. 😊 xx

    1. Maddie

      That’s a great idea! Yes it’s a good thing to realise that your goals can change as you grow up! Thank you 🙂 xx

  7. Lisa Alioto

    I’m so glad life isn’t linear – I think it would be a bit boring if it way. I like the twists and turns, as challenging as they may be sometimes.

  8. shortgirlwalking

    Being now closer to 30 than 20 – I’ve had this thought go through my head many times. My whole Facebook timeline is my friends getting engaged/married, or having their first/second/third kid and I’m sitting here going “Well. I made a nice house in the sims today?” haha I think taking a step back and being able to do life on your on pace is a nice thing, and a good one to remember that there’s not a rulebook on how to tackle your own life x

    1. Maddie

      I bet it can be difficult to see what others are getting up to. Haha making a nice house on sims is always a good achievement! I totally agree, thank you for your comment 😊

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