Why I Hate Those “25 Things You Should do at 25…” Lists

So I’m gonna go on a little rant here. I was on Facebook (first mistake) and saw that an acquaintance posted a list from Thought Catalog titled: 25 Things Every Woman Should Have By The Time She Turns 25. Naturally I clicked on it (second mistake). Then finally, I read the whole entire thing (third and final mistake) It lists a bunch of things like “having a best friend that’s like a sister” and “having thank you cards in your drawer”, the list goes on and on. Please feel free to read it to get the gist of my annoyance. While I understand that the writer is trying to “empower women” and all that jazz, I can’t help but be supremely irritated by lists of this nature.

1. They are just as oppressive as the oppression they are trying to go against

I can tell you right now that I know a bunch of people (myself) included who do not fit this criteria who are either 25 or near it. So apparently I’m doing life wrong according to this list. Let me go crawl into bed now that I’ve realized I’m a failure at life. WRONG.  The author I guess identifies herself as a feminist, yet uses words and phrases such as, “tact, grace, and the ability to find shoes off of a 40% off rack” to describe how women should act or aspire to be by 25. I’m not even going to get into the gender connotations those words and behaviors imply. If you were going for gender equality, boy you sure nailed it. She also talks about the confidence to eat whatever and to be herself. Hm, how about the confidence to realize and justify that this list is chock full of romanticized crap that I nor anyone else has to adhere to. I mean seriously? How about this, I’ll “be myself” and forget that I ever read this list. Anyone (both male and female) should be able to live their life without having to check with a list to see if they’re doing it right. Life is not a “one size fits all” endeavor and everyone comes into their own path in a unique way.

2. It perpetuates the “Should” mentality

Everything on this list tells you what you “should” be doing. People are impressionable and by creating “standards” for them to live by can make them feel like crap if they haven’t achieved them. One of the biggest problems I see in our (millennial) generation is that we compare ourselves to each other way too much. The only thing that you “should” know when you’re 25 is that life is a confusingly beautiful adventure and it’s yours to do with as you see fit.

3. It is saying that every 25 year old has the exact same aspirations and expectations out of life

We are all different in this amazing and crazy world. My “norm” may be completely off base of what your “norm” is. And you know what? That is perfectly ok. We do not have to see eye to eye on everything, nor should we aspire to be cookie cutter drones. The dangerous thing about lists like these is that the author is perpetuating her sense of normalcy onto others and is passing it off like it’s dogma from the heavens. Who cares if you waited until you were 35 to learn how to change a tire. Maybe you hate shopping and are not savvy at a clearance rack. The beauty of life is that, as long as we’re still on this earth, we have the ability to learn, grow, and change when the time is right for each and every individual.There are no time limits on growth and all expectations need to be thrown out of the window.

Ok, now that I’ve said my peace, my only “list” for you is to live your life in a manner that makes you happiest. So long as you are not hurting others, be free to be whoever you are. Don’t take lists like these to heart, if you are 25 and you don’t have 3 months of livable income in the bank, don’t fret, most people of that age don’t (I mean, student loans, anyone?). Let’s stop placing our expectations of one another and just enjoy life as it comes. Lastly, if you value your life at all, forget that Thought Catalog ever existed. You’re self esteem and wellbeing will thank you for it. Also feel free to ignore my advice, I don’t have all of the answers either, nor do I want to place my values on others. On a side note, today is the 1 year anniversary of this blog (yay!) I will do a post on that later, as for now I’m off to find a 40% off shoe rack… 😉

 

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