expectations of growing up

Now that I’m officially in my late twenties, it’s been hilarious to reflect on expectations I had to life as I know it now.  My girlfriends will often share articles re: you know you’re in your late twenties when…  or you’re a child of the 80’s if you can rememberor articles such as this post: early twenties vs late twenties


So I thought I’d jog my memory as to my expectations looking back to where I’d be today (just for fun).

Going back to my five year old self, if anyone would have asked me what I would be doing by the time I was 26, my response would go something like this:

I’ll be married with at least 2 kids (twin girls, because ya know – you can plan your kids however you want when you’re five).  I’d be a teacher in the rain forest (that was my dream job for the longest time).  I’ll have two Dalmatian’s (yes, in the rain forest with us).  I’ll be really happy.

Going back to my ten year old self, my response would be:

I’ll be married with 3 kids (twin girls and a boy).  I’ll be a veterinarian (to jungle animals).  My husband is a doctor and my kids will come to work with us and I’ll be happy. (I’m adding in the “I’ll be happy” because I always pictured my family in the picture-perfect framed photo on the wall – so we must be happy, right?)

Going back to my sixteen year old self, my response would be:

I’ll be married with maybe two kids (at this point, one seemed like a handful when I’d babysit).  I’ll be surrounded with lots of close friends.  I’ll do happy hours often with my girlfriends and going on glamorous vacations with my husband.  We’ll spend our nights sitting in a coffee shop like they do on friends.   No thought of career, necessarily. —  Hello oblivion.

Going back to my twenty year old self, my response would be:

I’ll be married with one child – one on the way (a little more realistic).  I’m a recreation coordinator who plans lots of fun outdoor recreational activities.  My husband likes to kayak, travel and hike.  We’ll take our kids wherever we go and we’ll most likely live abroad somewhere warm.  (….getting closer).

Going not so far back to my twenty- four year old self, my response would be:

If Sam and I are not married in two years, that’s it! (ha!) If we are married with one on the way, I’ll be happy.  I’ll be a successful recreational professional and Sam will be in school.  We’ll focus on travel and happy hours with friends.  We’ll take weekend trips, go hiking, camping and jet set back and forth between pdx>msp and pdx>bwi.  We’ll live downtown in Portland and always be on the go.

At 26, it’s fun to look back and see how my life expectations changed during different parts of my life.  Having a family was always the forefront of my expectations in growing up.  Next was career and then as I entered my early twenties, my social life became a large priority.   For whatever reason, 25-26 was always my mental milestone for becoming a true grown up.  I knew that by 25-26, I wanted to be married without a doubt.  I knew that I should or would want to have started a family by then as well.   While I am so incredibly happy with where my life has taken me (happily married with a gorgeous little 7 month old), I wish someone would have slowed my expectations of needing to be married with at least one child by the time of 25-26 down a bit and said, “HEY, your twenties are for exploring, adventure, finding yourself, freedom!”  What’s the rush?  My ovaries will not disintegrate at age 30 so why the urgent need to feel like I should have 3 kids by 28?

Sam and I were very fortunate to have traveled abroad to New Zealand and Australia together for three months early on in our relationship.  We were also very fortunate to have done many of the things I had expected: lived downtown, developed a strong social group with weekend trips, day trips, happy hours, hiking, camping, etc.  He focused on school while I focused on my dream of a recreation coordinator.  We were engaged when I was 24. Picture perfect and pretty much right on the mark for my expectation’s.  25-26 is when I sped up the list full speed to married, daughter, house, career in one year.  WHOA – slow down, Weinstocks.  However, many of the things on the late twenties check list are so true: l love naps, happy hours are more for the food than alcohol, a vacation is a babysitter for two hours so we can clean the house, excitement is the purchase of a ceiling fan versus a new purse and sleeping in is now 8 a.m. if we’re lucky.

I feel like now that I’ve hit the 26 year old mark, it’d be fun to predict where we’ll be at 30.  Within the next four years, I hope that:

  • Evelyn will have at least one sibling (Sam wants 2, I want 3 … for now 😉 )
  • Wyatt will have another puppy sibling
  • I’ll still be a technical writer but will volunteer for the Local Park & Rec while also teaching a few adjunct courses somewhere.
  • Sam will either be an apple genius, a history teacher or a coffee shop owner
  • I’ll have run at least one half marathon
  • We’ll be debt free (HA!)
  • We’ll spend at least one week in Wisconsin and one week in Portland every year.

These may seem like funny “goals” or predictions but hey – I use to believe I’d live in the rainforest and be able to take my kids to work with me every day.  I guess I’ve always had a glamorous depiction of where life will take me but it can’t get any more glamorous than my sweet Evelyn’s smile.  Life has been great to us so far, and I’m looking forward to four years from now and reflecting back on this leg of the journey.  It doesn’t matter if only one of the predictions above happens between 26 and 30, the ride will be sweet, the lessons will be impactful and the memories will be cherished.

Just to prove (even further) that we’ve entered the late twenties- our choices for this weekend would be the Irish Festival (beer, food, party) in Annapolis or the Tomato Fest (salsa, spaghetti, farming) in Richmond, VA — guess which one we’re doing? (…visiting our friend could have a little something to do with this, but still – HELLO TOMATOES!)



2 thoughts on “expectations of growing up

  1. I really, really loved this post. I’m only in my early twenties, but one of the things that’s been on my mind lately is how much my expectations have changed over the years – and how much I know they’ll continue to. It’s so odd to look about five years, ten years, fifteen years, or even twenty years back and see what I thought life would be like when I got to this point. Some things are so similar – and others are so completely different!

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