Milestone Expectations

We have all read articles which are backwardly hilarious but also leave you feeling utterly outraged at the same time. Whilst casually scrolling through my Facebook page I had the misfortune of stumbling across one of these articles today, The Daily Mail’s (I know enough said) “Ultimate Guide to Life – Are YOU hitting the major life milestones on time?” Now normally I would carry on scrolling past such tripe, but a dear and possibly slightly deluded friend of mine had commented on the post and for a split, deep rooted insecure second I was intrigued to see if I was on track to hit any of societies proposed milestones in the correct time scale. In short, according to the Daily Mail I’m nowhere near the track, I don’t even seem to be near the starting line, in fact I’m not even sure I can see the god damn track.

The Ultimate Guide to Life suggests you should have achieved the following between the age of 24 to 30;

  • Rented by yourself and with your partner
  • Got engaged and married
  • Had your first child
  • Bought a flat, sold the flat and bought a house.

Now I am aware that the above may genuinely be the aspirations of some people but to me just looking at that list is exhausting. I just cant imagine cramming that amount into a six year period and still being able to enjoy my life. Yes there is the possibility that I have some tendencies that could be seen to bear similarities with those of Peter Pan, but I wanted my twenties to consist of carefree fun, without any major responsibilities before having to become officially an adult. I sure as hell don’t need some poxy article to make me feel bad about the very different milestones I have reached by straying away from the cookie cutters lifestyle that we should apparently all be striving for. Whilst not living the clean cut conventional lifestyle suggested by the Daily Mail, I have gained invaluable knowledge and treasured experiences through travel, work, reading, friends and early morning intoxicated chats with random members of the public. I would never want to change the way I have decided to live my life in order to meet somebody else’s expectations.

It goes on to list a few more goals to aspire to before we reach 40;

  • Have a second child
  • Become a manager, start to think about running your own business and earn 40k
  • Move to a second bigger house and enjoy two holidays a year
  • Look at investing in property to let

I mean who wrote this piece? I just find the whole concept of this guide completely bizarre, but not just that, it’s completely backward….. Marriage, kids, mortgage….. are you shitting me it’s 2015, not only do these traditional values no longer sit within modern day society they have published something that potentially shames a huge portion of the modern day world for not fulfilling said milestones within an allocated time frame.

The second part is almost as backward as the first, apparently instructing us to settle down and start a family before focusing on a career. What if you don’t want a second child? Or even a first! Or for whatever reason you can’t have kids? What if you have no aspirations to become a manager or run your own business? What is you don’t believe in marriage or a monogamist lifestyle? What if you haven’t by the age of 26, found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, is this article suggesting that we should just settle with whoever it may be that we are dating at that particular moment in time in order to accomplish these events that will allegedly define every persons life?

At the beginning of this post I used the word hilarious to describe this article, which I stand by, not in the belly laugh at your favourite sitcom kind of funny, but in an ironic, inaccurate sense as the infographic piece that inspired the Daily Mail to write this article was compiled by Amigo Loans, (one of those pay day loan companies that charge an extortionate amount of interest on short term loans of £500 – £1000) and I find it hard to believe how someone who feels their only option is to use a business that is basically a legal version of a loan shark to get themselves out of financial difficulty, would have the funds to pay for a wedding, whilst renting and saving for a 10% deposit to become a home owner.

Their report is probably completely unfounded but for a nano second it left me questioning if I was living my own life in the correct manner, after slapping myself in the face I realised a certain part of everyone craves acceptance from society but this article really is a pile of utter drivel, there is no right or wrong time. Life’s milestones can happen at any point and that’s what’s exciting about life, if your trying to plan it to this perception of the ideal, how are you going to enjoy the present moment. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have goals, it’s healthy to aspire towards things and aim high. But one persons ideal and life aspirations could be the polar opposite to another persons and that’s okay, we as individuals and society as a whole should not make someone feel like they have not done their own life justice because they haven’t completed a specific to do list , one size does not fit all.

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Practising Freedom of Speech or A Professional Troll?

The Reality TV Star turned resident Rent-a-Gob, Katie Hopkins has some of the most controversial views around, from airing her thoughts on a child’s name having a direct link to working out what class that child comes from “Hi, this is my daughter Charmaine. I hear; Hi I’m thick and ignorant.” to criticising breastfeeding mothers at Costa for “putting me off my latte” its clear that she doesn’t care about being politically correct but most of all she doesn’t give a rats backside about offending people, and offending them in their masses.

The more controversy she breeds the more public interest she receives. Basically Katie Hopkins has made a career out of being outrageously offensive. Yes she is entitled to an opinion, we all are. And yes she is free to voice, air and tweet her views, but at what point does this become trolling?

After news broke that the co-pilot responsible for the Germanwings plane tragedy, which claimed the lives of 150 people, was suffering from depression, Katie unleashed a twitter storm with an array of tweets dubbing depression as the “holy grail of illnesses” that can be magically cured with fresh air and going for a run. (Turns out this co-pilot was in fact an avid runner, it seems Dr Katie’s drug of choice isn’t one size fits all)

So other than making herself look completely ignorant (maybe her middle name is Charmaine) and quite frankly stupid, she is trying to trivialise an illness that society is only just starting to except as just that, a genuine illness. I acknowledge there is a difference between feeling low and depression and I can imagine that there are some people claiming to be suffering from this mental health issue when perhaps they are just going through a bit of a tough time, but despite this I feel the reason that there is more cases of depression now, is because people are no longer stigmatised from being diagnosed with a mental health illness. It is acceptable to acknowledge you need support when you are depressed, and admitting you need help for something that is affecting your ability to function properly in every day life surely isn’t a bad thing!

I struggle to see with the amount of readily available information we have at our disposal how anyone can be so narrow minded. Her view points are outdated, sexist, borderline racist, discriminatory, inappropriate and nearly always untrue, with that I hope that anyone who is unlucky enough to read or hear her opinions realise that there is little point in taking offence of her warped sense of freedom of speech, after all it’s coming from someone whose ambition in life was to be a CEO of a large global company by the age of 40, when her reality is achieving the award for UK’s most hated woman.

I believe that Katie Hopkins purposely publishes hateful views on subjects she knows very little about, in hope that the outrage that follows her latest tweet will gain her 15 minutes air time on a daytime television programme. How very pitiful, I almost feel sorry for her….

Motivational Middle Ground

Motivation is the desire to do things. What I want to know is this, why is it that some people seem to have bundles of goal orientated behaviour in their make up and why do others feel like staying in their pj’s and binge watching Breaking Bad on Netflix on their days off? Personally I am an all or nothing kind of girl, I have no motivational middle ground. I’m either going at it like a jack rabbit enthusiastically ticking off every element on my to do list with pure delight or I become the queen of procrastination, managing to stay in bed for 24 hours straight whilst devouring family sized bags of crisps and those pouches of chocolate that are labelled ‘made to share’ all to my greedy self.

One Theory – Incentive 

After reading up a little on motivation, one of the theories I stumbled upon is that we are driven to do things by yearning the reward involved. These rewards/incentives push people to work towards and complete their chosen goals.

I can relate to this in some respects, call me materialistic but money seems to be my motivator, however I also have a strong desire to be a size eight but struggle to get up at 6am every morning to get my sweat on. Mainly because I despise any kind of cardio. Much to my dismay I don’t seem to receive this rush of endorphins that fitness fanatics thrive off. So can people only truly be motivated by the tasks that they enjoy?

Another Theory – Intrinsic

Intrinsic motivation is something you do for it’s own sake, the task is the reward itself.You find enjoyment in working towards achieving the end goal. When you find something pleasurable you don’t tend to look at it as a chore. This theory I find a little harder to swallow, is this motivation or just a hobby?

We have all seen or read those amazing success stories where ‘obese person turns hot by eating clean’ but I’m pretty certain that in most cases someone who weighs 500lbs doesn’t tend to relish the dieting process. In this scenario intrinsic motivation obviously doesn’t come into play however the external reward/incentive of loosing weight and becoming healthier clearly did.

Wrapping it up 

Perhaps I will never find my motivational middle ground, rather than feeling guilty about not completing my daily tasks list or fulfilling my life goals as quickly as x, y and z, I’m starting to accept the fact that it’s fine to do things at my own pace. Life is not a competition.

Does this make me lazy? Hell no, I know I work hard, and I believe what motivates a person and their incentives is personal to them. Who am I actually hurting by not making the most efficient use of every minute of my day? Yes I want to live life to it’s fullest but who is to say that taking a hour out to finish reading that book I’m loving instead of going to that spin class isn’t a productive use of my time? It’s my bloody time!

As well as incentives being personal our indicators for motivation change over time, and the rewards that would of driven us 10 years ago are now completely different to what they are today.

My 19 year old self was motivated by boozy holidays, nights out and a cute wardrobe. My 29 year old self is motivated to save enough money to get my size five feet onto the property ladder. I wonder what my 39 year old self will be motivated by?