According to psychologists on youth and identity, more and more people get into identity problems or crisis because of the demand for flexibility on your identity. Many people ask you have you figured out university yet? Have you got a family yet? Or other questions alike. What is the point? Is it really fair to be asking these questions? I know that many people use these phrases as icebreakers, me included. That doesn't make the question more irrelevant in fact it is the opposite.
We are all different people and we respond and act differently to the given situations. Therefor am I solely speaking from my point of view.
When you ask the questions as above, you put a great amount of expectations on another person’s shoulders. By expectations I mean, expectations to do great in life and reach out for your opportunities. But just by saying 'great', we all have different interpretations of great. By doing great, is that a successful career, a loving family or maybe even both?
Let us have an example. A hardworking dad of 36 is juggling both career and a lovely family. He loves life as it is. Though this man repeatedly gets asked the following question: when are you going to get married? This lovely man and his girlfriend doesn't believe in marriage and don't want to have a wedding or anything alike. They have seen it destroy so many couples, that they have lost faith in the meaning of marriage. He can't help feeling the pressure from his friends and family, even though they have his best interests at heart. The expectations continuously increase from family and friends, even at work expectations are crawling around the corner.
One day he realised how he was fed up with listening to other people's opinion on what he should do at work or how he should live his life. He started giving small hints that he wasn't the same person anymore. Sounds more dramatic than it was, but he started to not laugh at his co-workers jokes as he usually did and he started eating lunch on his own outside of work. These small hints that he didn't do intentionally, but realised that he had been doing for weeks, nobody noticed them though. Sure people asked about how he was doing, but when he said fine they ran away; as if they were avoiding the topic, but still wanted to be a good enough person to notice something's up. He went on for several weeks without anyone noticing and it slowly grew to be his new identity. A non-motivating sales director, struggling to focus, struggling to make new contacts or friends and in general struggle with any type of social life.
This entire time, all he has thought about was: I am not good enough, I never will be and why has no one reached out to me yet?
This is an extreme example of how important it is, to not only be there for your friends and family and push them to edge, but be nice them and lower your expectations once in a while. Though it is not only other people's expectations that are important to decrease. Your own expectation can work just as badly against you as the expectations from others.
What I want to express is that no matter what your plans are for now or later on in the future, try and take it slow. I am sure that you will have time to do what you wish to do. It might not happen today or tomorrow, but if you want it badly enough it will happen in this lifetime.
In hopes of anyone reading this far, I now challenge you to go an entire day amongst people not expressing any higher expectation for them or about them. Just for one single day.