Have you ever read a list post that offers tips on how you should live your life and found yourself seething with annoyance at some of the suggestions?
These articles are everywhere online, hell, I’ve even written a few myself. But there are so many, all offering conflicting viewpoints, that it can be hard to drown out the noise, ignore the articles that make us feel bad and focus on the ones that resonate.
I’ve lost count of the number of pieces I’ve read that state it’s essential for all twenty-somethings to experience heartbreak. I’m 29 and I met my husband when I was 17, although we only got married a couple of years ago.
Have I missed out because I’ve never ever experienced the loss of a romantic relationship?
Maybe, maybe not.
I’ve experienced other things that make me the person I am; no one else has led the same life. I can say the same about any of you.
Because that’s the point: we’re all different. These articles are fantastic when they speak to our experience; they make us feel better about the lives that we live, that we’re doing something right. They can be fun to read (and to write) and they always get readers talking.
But there are just as many that make us feel awful, inferior or like every moment we aren’t living our dreams is a moment we’ve wasted.
By their nature, list posts tend to generalise people and fit them into neat little categories, but that isn’t how people work.
Some people generalise because they don’t take these lists too seriously, others believe in the value of their experiences above all else.
Maybe you want nothing more than to start a family and settle down, whilst someone else wants to be free to travel the world. There are constants in life, but if everyone wanted the same thing, it would be boring. You should judge the value of your life against your own standards, not one set down by someone with completely different goals.
So if you read a post that makes you feel bad about yourself or the life you’ve chosen, don’t pay it too much attention. The author probably wrote it with their own needs and experiences in mind, how could they possibly know about yours?
Instead of questioning yourself, skip over the posts and the writers who don’t relate to you, because there will be plenty out there who do. Find the ones who could be looking over your shoulder as they type, because they are the ones who will uplift you and give you fresh insights into life.