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How to Deal With Hitting Age Milestones

By: Brian Kim - September 7, 2014

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Though not written in stone, this notion of age milestones survives and thrives through the private conversations of our society. You should be at this stage in your life when you hit age X. You should do this at age Y. If not by age Z, you're a loser. A failure. Everybody will laugh at you.

It's a very fear based mindset isn't it?

If you think about it though, the trouble lies not necessarily with the milestones, but the judgments surrounding the milestones and the fact that everybody plays along with them. They're so ingrained. People feel helpless because if they choose to defy such milestones, they still feel they will be judged and it's not like you can change people's minds overnight.

Then the panic sets in and then you panic about the panic and we all know what happens when you let that panic dictate your life. You make really, REALLY stupid decisions and then life becomes a nightmare because you've planted with the seeds of fear and external expectations and now you're reaping the results.

The classic example is just grabbing whoever's nearby and marrying them because you're approaching that age milestone when you "should" get married.

A train wreck in slow motion.

In order for us to deal with this whole thing about age milestones, we need to understand what's going on in order to calm everything down so we can make good choices.

First off, where did these age milestones come from? Who decided they would be the rules? Maybe they were based in a time and period FAR different than what we have today. Do they still apply? Who says we have to follow them? What authority does the person or persons have in establishing these rules?

If that was just it, this whole thing would be easy to deal with but again, it's the JUDGMENT we feel from others who have these age milestones ingrained within them and perceive us in a negative light for not following them that really gets to us.

This need for us to feel like we are "good" in other people's eyes is based on a survival mechanism we all have. Back in the day, we needed to be liked in a group to survive because it would be very difficult for us to make it on our own. If people perceived us negatively, they wouldn't help us so our chances of survival would go drastically down. That's why we have so much angst from breaking away from the crowd.

But therein lies the catch 22.

We DO have that need to be liked BUT we're judged by criteria that nobody seems to really question and accept as fact, which if we deviate from, we get judged accordingly.

If we can change the criteria, then all is well right? But we can't change it overnight so what are we left to do?

Conform and cross our fingers and hope for the best or defy the "system" and be judged accordingly by it?

Let's assume you conform despite the fact that you hate letting your life be dictated by others.

Your one shot at living life - and you give it all away.

You give it all away to these arbitrary expectations that everybody follows without ever really examining or questioning.

It's like having a billion dollar lottery ticket and giving it away to someone else.

A tragic waste wouldn't you agree?

Not only that, by conforming, you are then automatically conforming to all the other judgments that society imposes and should you fall into one of those judgments, there's no way out because you've already made your choice. Society thinks old people are useless? Well, when you get old, you will believe you are useless.

A very harsh way to live.

If you choose to "defy" the age milestones, you will be judged accordingly. Is that a lesser evil?

Here's how to deal with that.

YOU are not being judged. It SEEMS that way but you're really not. People's perceptions of you are just perceptions of themselves. How they perceive you is their way of letting you know what "glasses" they have on.

So there's no need to fight or feel angst. Let all that go away.

They're simply announcing to the world what they believe and should they believe these "rules" of society, then they will judge themselves accordingly by them, so in a way, you don't really fear their judgments but rather pity them.

But that doesn't really solve the problem of how they will treat you negatively right? We'll get to that in a bit.

So after realizing this, what you have left to do is very simple.

Live your life to the best.

Figure out what's important to you and build a life around those values.

Be driven by love not by fear or expectations of others.

Once you begin to do that, you will find others who think like you, who value what you value, who believe what you believe, and now you will begin to have a group of people who have different "glasses" on, who will NOT perceive you negatively for your choices, but in fact SUPPORT you for them.

Yes, there will be a time period where you will probably have to "rough it alone", but as you build your life, the others will come.

And then a beautiful thing will begin to happen.

You will begin to break the "system". You will begin to break the age milestone "handcuffs" so to speak.

You will then be the EXAMPLE that people see, that gives THEM the COURAGE to break free from their own invisible handcuffs.

And in an ironic twist of fate, the people who lived by the "age milestones" will be the ones envying you, when it always seemed like the other way around for so long.

Look and you will see these people, these "exceptions" to the "rules" all the time.

They are there.

You just need to step out in courage in order to find them.

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