To be worried about my life?

(36 Posts)
scaredscared Sat 08-Mar-14 16:17:53

I'm a junior after changing career (made redundant), and am earning a 20k salary. I don't have any kids, am nearly 30, not married, and rent in the SE.

Lots of people on here seem to be married, own their house/flat, have a good career/salary, have children or are TTC children, and though I admire those of you who are doing so well, I can't help but feel bad about myself. I look back at my life so far and feel I've made the best decisions I could have at the time, but I just feel I've missed out somehow as I don't have any of these stable life things - from the outside I'm not 'doing well,' iykwim?

I'm likely to be promoted soon, but realistically it'll be years before I'm at a significantly better pay grade, and I'm really feeling the very little money thing, and the not being able to afford my own place - it makes me feel low when I think that I'm at the same life stage as that of your average 20 year old, but am ten years older. And what about all the rest of it? My mum wants me to do a big thing for my 30th but I'm dreading the thought as inside I feel like a total disappointment - I was always expected to 'do well', in a vague, formless sort of way, as I was considered a 'bright' kid.

I know it doesn't help to compare, but a lot of my peers are getting married, having babies, buying houses, starting startups/having good career success and I just feel bad. Is it realistic to think I'm unlikely to 'catch up', or defeatist? Or is being 'successful' even something I should be worrying about at all?

HadABadDay2014 Sat 08-Mar-14 16:24:35

My friend is 30, a few months ago sold everything gave up her flat and quit her job.

She is now traveling the world, staying in hostels. Not sure what she does for money, but she is eating like a queen and also drinking lots of wine and beer

She is now in Thailand.

I don't think life success should be based on house and having a marriage and kids.

Objection Sat 08-Mar-14 16:29:21

You are not at the same life stage as a 20 year old.
A lot of 20 years old will be in their second or third year of uni, with no life experience or work experience to use to get a job afterwards.
The rest are split between those employed in NMW jobs, starter jobs etc or those who are unemployed (latest stats say 60% of 19-24 year olds are unemployed or something like that)

I think you have very skewed perceptions of what life is like for 20 year olds and therefore haven't got a good base to compare to. Most of my friends around your age are in similar positions or worse.
You're doing fine! You have a career and can afford to live smile

Flossyfloof Sat 08-Mar-14 16:30:47

Don't worry about the outside, consider the inside. What do you want to do with your life and what are you going to do to achieve that success? If you must, have a nice meal for your birthday - why have a big do if you don't want it? £20K doesn't seem a terribly low salary to me, although I am a bit out of touch.

misskatamari Sat 08-Mar-14 16:38:02

Also remember that this is mumsnet - most people join when they are trying to conceive/are pregnant/have kids. I know I only joined when I got pregnant last year and would not have thought to before then.

misskatamari Sat 08-Mar-14 16:39:25

By this I mean don't look around at people posting here as a full and accurate view of what people your age are doing - there is obviously going to be a skew towards people with/starting families

cory Sat 08-Mar-14 16:55:40

I think when you're low you see what you expect to see: people who appear more successful than you.

SO you don't notice that MN is also a haven for e.g. carers of severely disabled children, mothers struggling with teens who have gone off the rails, mothers who have been cheated on or abused, mothers struggling with chronic illness or longterm disability.

Speaking for myself, I often feel very fortunate when I read MN and full of admiration for the women (and men) who cope with so much more than I have ever had to.

Having said that, I am over 20 years older than you and have only just reached your salary level this year (and that's on a temporary contract, due to run out in a year's time), having spent 15 years as a part-time SAHM and then caring for a disabled child. And yes, I was a bright child (and wrote a good PhD which was published and praised by reviewers).

I haven't given up though: the way I look at it I still have a good 20 years of work in me if nothing goes badly wrong and the pension age keeps rising: I can do a lot in 20 years.

You are so young- so much can happen! When I was your age I was still a student, living in a bedsit, with no secure means of income. Since then I have emigrated, got married, brought up two children almost into independent young adults (one of them against heavy odds), found a new career.

Outwardly, I am less successful than most of the people I work with. But I feel good about my life because I know how far I have come.

BillyBanter Sat 08-Mar-14 17:00:44

What do you actually want?

If you want to settle down and have kids then you will have more chance if you get meeting people whether through online dating or whatever.

Plenty of 30 year olds and older are in similar positions and in a few years time you might find you are settling down while others are splitting up, or you are progressing your career while they are starting at the bottom again...

HadABadDay2014 Sat 08-Mar-14 17:12:57

Do you actually want all these things.

scaredscared Sat 08-Mar-14 17:38:56

Thanks all for your responses. Cory, you're a very strong person and it's admirable how much you've achieved!

Thinking on it, I think what I want for now is better financial security - the rest are things that will probably come naturally, if they come. I would love a place of my own, but I don't think I can afford to buy in my area on my salary. Being patient and saving all I can seems to be the best way to get that. My day job has turned out to involve very long hours, but I can try to get at least some freelance work coming in.

WanderingAway Sat 08-Mar-14 17:51:46

I am late 20s and the only thing that i have on your list is a child.
I have a shitty low hour a week job and i still have to sign on for unemployment benefit.

I look at my friends and they have good jobs and i get a bit jealous but then two of my friends would like children and probably get a bit jealous of me for having my dd.

We always want what others have and very rarely appreciate what we have.

TulipOHare Sat 08-Mar-14 19:06:31

inside I feel like a total disappointment - I was always expected to 'do well', in a vague, formless sort of way, as I was considered a 'bright' kid

I can really identify with this feeling! I mean, seriously, that's me, that is.

Fwiw the only one of the "achievements" on your list that I can tick off is having kids. I've done that. Everything else? Nope. Not married, renting with no hope of mortgage, relationship very rickety, no career even before the DC (I got a first-class degree but then found myself at a total loss as to what to do next, so drifted until I met DP). I am now 35 and having quite the existential crisis. I worry about it every day and sometimes feel like a rat in a maze. And I do feel like the failure of the family (siblings all doing pretty well).

I would be over the moon and very proud of myself if I could get a job on £20k like you have.

As for what you read online, I agree with a PP that your anxiety over your situation is perhaps skewing what you read so that it seems everyone is happy and successful but you. It is definitely, definitely not the case.

NurseyWursey Sat 08-Mar-14 19:14:13

I don't think there's anything wrong with your situation OP, you're being too hard a judge on yourself.

I'm not on much more than you, and I had to study for 5 years.

I can understand how you feel because all you're friends are doing this and that, but don't judge your life by theirs. Every single woman I went to school with had a baby before age 22, imagine if felt you had to meet those goalposts grin

MaryWestmacott Sat 08-Mar-14 19:47:04

Everyone does compare to their peers, and if your peers are all doing well career wise and are marrying/starting families, it might feel you are massively out of step, but actually it sounds like you are on the same path, just following them a few years back. 29/30 is generally seen amongst middle class educated woman to be the appropriate time to start a family, but you do have the best part of a decade before you need to worry.

Are you happy with your career path, even if you wish you'd started it 5 years ago? If so, you do have that sorted! Then house, save as much as you can, if your wage does jump up with the promotion you are expecting, try to stick to your current lifestyle and budget and save the rest (do not get sucked into thinking you should live a certain way once you've got a promotion and start spending).

Marriage and children are harder really, I assume you are single. Quite a few of my female friends living in London were childless and single at 30, however half a decade on, all are married with children. It does seem to be an age where you really have to be a bit more focused in what you are looking for - just shag, not date reject any "gorgeous but useless" men.

But you are in a way lucky, you get to start your 30s fresh, no baggage, with a clear idea of where you want to be by 40 and no reason why you can't achieve it.

thesecowsaresmallthosearefaraw Sat 08-Mar-14 19:53:30

OP, I am in my 40s and earn half of what I earned in my 30s because I made some stupid choices.

You fell down the ladder because of someone else's choice - you were made redundant. But you are back in work - that's a great achievement.

You say that you've made the best decisions you could. That's all we can ask of ourselves.

AchyFox Sat 08-Mar-14 20:21:10

You are actually in a very flexible position, with few responsibilities, and significant choices re your future path in life.

It's really fairly common to be in this situation in late 20s.
You sound blue, perhaps it's the realisation that this is "it", that life ain't going to be getting any different or better .....ever!

I know I felt like this. A quarter of a century of ladder climbing; then the ladder sort of runs out; and fresh air beckons.

Problem is I don't know the solution, it's within you.
Is their something you desperately want to do ? Do that.
If not, find something.grin

But relax; worrying isn't going to make you happy.

bellasuewow Sat 08-Mar-14 22:17:14

I have a great career, a great husband with a great career, no money worries, we are on our third large house that we are renovating. I am 36. All good there except we have had two miscarriages that we are desperately disappointed with. We also have no contact with family due to abusive childhoods. Some things I have in abundance some things I will never have and I really struggle with although outwardly we probably appear to have it all I suppose what I am saying is be careful of assuming that others have it all despite appearances there are still many who would swap places with you.

RhondaJean Sat 08-Mar-14 22:19:20

I'm marking so I can find this easily on my iPad and post properly.

HadABadDay2014 Sat 08-Mar-14 22:21:26

Why not rent a room instead of a flat, much cheaper and it will enable you to save for a mortgage.

RhondaJean Sat 08-Mar-14 22:28:15

Right a different perspective, when DH and I were hitting 30 we had been together nearly ten years, 2 kids, mortgage, you name it.

All our friends pretty much were doing the footloose and fancy free thing!

We were sad not because we didn't want our life but because we were in different places from them.

But to them, we had everything, we were set up.

(now, they're all paying off weddings and having kids and sleepless nights and we are a bit smug haha but I'm still a bit jealous of the excitement of the wedding and the new baby, but that's just because life is swings and roundabouts, and whatever stage you are personally at in life, if you compare to someone else, you always see Thr worst in your own life).

Beavie Sat 08-Mar-14 22:40:17

Chin up.

If it makes you feel better, I'm 33, single mum, 2 kids with different dads, in a housing association house, no income, only just about to start a degree this year so won't be earning for a few years yet. Plus have a massive list as long as your arm of fuck ups I've made, from wasting too many years taking drugs to being stuck in a domestic abuse relationship for 3 years and then going to court 18 times (so far).

I was a 'bright' kid too! Earmarked as one of the ones who would go places. I feel embarrassed of myself sometimes when I compare myself to my peers but actually the rest of the time I focus on what I HAVE achieved, rather than what I haven't.

The moral of the story is, don't worry about what others are doing. You are walking your own path and at least you have a nice clean slate so you can in time meet Mr Right and have a family, and do everything the right way round, unlike me!

BumpyGrindy Sat 08-Mar-14 22:45:52

You are thinking in a way which I only began to think in recently and I am 41!

Believe me, you're doing fine! I rent...self employed and no chance of owning a home. You're good...carry on as you are.

Lucyccfc Sat 08-Mar-14 23:08:14

Please stop comparing - you could spend your life doing that and being unhappy. Nothing will change by comparing.

You have the power to change things in your life. Sit down with pen and paper and make a plan. Think about what you want to achieve in life. Start with the most important goal (for example, earn more money, better career) and work backwards with a plan of how you can achieve it.

The plan may include doing a qualification, asking your boss for more responsibility, finding a mentor, joining a networking group, updating your cv.

I found I was coasting through life about 8 years ago and decided that I needed more. I wrote down my goals (making them specific) and planned against those goals. I am now in the process of doing the same thing again, as I achieved what I wanted and I now have another goal. The first part of my plan to achieving the next job I want is to do a post-grad qualification, that links to a project I have put myself forward to do at work. The qualification takes 18 months, so near to completion, I will start to register with recruitment companies, update my cv and Linked-In and contact my network of friends and colleagues. I plan to have promotion and earn at least £10k more within the next 18-24 months.

Without a specific goal and a plan, I would not achieve any of this.

Focus your energy on you and what you can achieve and not what other people have done.

Good luck.

DumSpiroSpero Sat 08-Mar-14 23:20:27

Please just make the most of what you are doing in your life now.

I spent my late teens and twenties desperate to tick the next box and be a 'grown up'.

I will be 40 next year and now I look back on a daily basis virtually and think 'Why did I not realise how young I was and how much time I had instead rushing into mortgages, marriages and babies'.

I was lucky to get on the property ladder when I did, DH & I are still ticking along after 17 years and I wouldn't swap my DD for the world, but I could kick myself for the opportunities and experiences I missed out in my desperation to be a grown up.

Latara Sun 09-Mar-14 00:58:38

When I was 30 I had a great time celebrating - I definitely remember that. If I was you I'd do the same. Enjoy being young, free and single while you can because you could be married with a baby in a couple of years, who knows.

PS. the 30s are the best decade, honestly.

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