This is a contributed post approved and edited by myself. But it is something both Mitch and I have thought about a lot as we approach 30. Our 20s flew by and held a lot of excitement: graduating college, getting married, travel, moving across the country twice (3 states), new jobs, starting our family, and career shifts. What areas are we focusing on as we move forward into our 30s? (I still have a couple years fyi).
One of the fastest growing genres of books is self-help. There are thousands of books like these on the shelves of every bookstore and library. Wherever you go, an expert has had their say on telling you how you can improve your life and live in a happier, more fulfilling way. A lot of people buy self-help books to see how they can improve their situation and circumstances, from their home life to their work life. Family, friends, home, goals; all of these things are put together to make you feel like they are giving your life a purpose and a meaning.
As a culture, we are obsessed with finding ourselves, achieving dreams and passions, and pursuing success in all areas of life. Now, I am not against self-help or pursuing dreams. Quite in support of it really. However, I will make this important note that we sometimes lose when we obsess over it. Don’t forget that life is made moment by moment. It is lived in the small things around us and our everyday choices. We can miss a lot of beauty if we fail to find joy right here in this moment.
All of that aside, there are areas where we should seek to pursue growth. Because if we quit striving, we may grow stagnant.
Home refers to our physical home and our home life. And these are two very different things, though connected. When many people think of a home in the physical sense, they think of buying their first home or trying to climb the property ladder. Now this is an investment in your future. It can help you build wealth and if you rent out properties, residual income. However, having a nice, impressive house does not guarantee happiness. But making a house (impressive or not) into a home can bring great joy. One way is to surround yourself with art, books, photography, things that make your mere house into a home.
No matter how beautiful your house may be, the tone is set by you. Do you want your house to be a refuge for the weary–a cherished place in the hearts and memories of friends and family? That comes back to you.
Your chosen career can change your life; whether you realize it or not. Your career choice may have the power to dictate the rest of your life, and while you can always self-improve and work your way through education classes and change careers, your career may define how you live. I believe that this also goes for stay-at-home moms, because that is very much an intentional job choice as well, and it influences your identity.
Pursuing a career means balancing financial needs and goals with personal satisfaction. Sadly, these two things are often in odds with each other. Oftentimes people try to find both by starting their own business. If you dream of owning your own store or showing off your creative side in your own designs, then purchasing commercial property is one of the first steps for moving your little home business to the public. (If you are interested in that, look at this guide http://www.propertyguru.com.my/resources/buy-property-guide/the-complete-guide-to-buying-a-commercial-property to help you with a property purchase).
Don’t be put off by the hard work that comes with owning a business; it’s an investment not only in your future, but the future of your children. This means you will always have something of value to pass down to them, even if that is just ethics and the value of hard work. It’s never too late to pursue growth in your current career or to take the plunge and change careers or even to strike out on your own.
This will vary of course. Not everyone desires to marry or have kids. And that is okay. But most people do. When you decide to marry and start a family, you are signing up for constant change and growth. When people grow stagnant in their marriages, it is not because life doesn’t ever change, but because they fail to prioritize each other. They fail to do the work. Whether that means on themselves or together as a couple. The excuse for divorce that the person you married “changed” rarely holds water. Because the truth is that we all change. Every. Single. One of us. You have to keep re-falling in love with who your spouse becomes. And, of course, strive to be the best you you can be.
If you are considering having kids, I would encourage you to do so. However, it is one of the most life-changing choices you will make. Most of the ways it will change your life are positive, but it requires a lot of sacrifice. And it can create marital strain if you are not proactive about keeping your marriage strong.
All of these areas of life can bring added stress or pressure. Life will be exponentially more difficult if we don’t strive to take care of our physical and mental health. It will be harder to keep up with our kids, engage with our spouse, travel, work, and the list goes on and on. And few things can sabotage family life or pursuing your dreams like not dealing with mental illness or depression. There should be no shame in struggling with these things. But if you do, please be courageous enough to seek help through therapy or other means. And always remember, you are not alone.
Passion and Faith
Much of your purpose in your life will depend on the passion you feel for yourself and the people around you. You have to understand what makes you come alive inside and hone in on that fire. You start out in life with a purpose, but it’s passion that fuels that purpose. If your passion is for success, then starting a company or a business that you believe in will be your way ahead. If your passion is for comfort and love, a family will be the driving force that helps give your life meaning.
However, the biggest thing that can give your life meaning is faith. You can try and fill that hole with success, careers, travel, and even family. But the only thing that can really fill that hole and give your life purpose and passion is Jesus. So, as you strive to work on yourself and chase dreams, don’t lose sight of what is most important. And remember that “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9 and “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2