In the game of the Life, and I mean the actual board game, there’s a pretty set pattern in which life unfolds. You to college, or don’t, get married, have kids and continue on with life. Off of the board game it seems like that’s the same straight line we judge each other off, but why?

This year I will turn 30 and won’t be engage or married, have any kids or own a house. I own my car but it was 11 years old when I purchased it. I also don’t have debt; house, card or any other sort including paying off my student debt. I’m not following that straight line and definitely hear about it.

A question I hear on the regular is “When are you going to get married?” Being on radio, and in general, I am a pretty open book with my life but that question really starts to get on my nerves. It’s not that I have a problem answering questions about my future but it’s what the word when implies. ‘When’ changes that statement from a general question in to this implication that I’m behind on some made up time line. Where does this pressure come from that we put on each other?

I have friends that have bought houses, cars and have kids, and I’m not criticizing what they’re doing, but even from them I’ve been asked questions about where I’m going with those big life decisions. The roles reverse though with their astonishment at all the traveling I get to do; Italy last year and Asia this year. I’m 100% not saying one way is better than the other, but from my perspective aren’t those experiences there to be had and those big life goals waiting for whenever you want to start them?

A coworker of mine has three kids and said his thoughts on it was he could have his kids in his 20s and when they’re full grown he will still be young enough to travel and do things. That’s one way to go about it, but for me I think this time (20s to 30s) is way more valuable. Planning for savings and retirement and having the money to do that has always been something that means a lot more to me. It also allows me to make sure I’m a great position to be prepared to be financially ready and in a good place in life and mentally when I do get married and have kids.

I’m not saying this is every couple out there, but so many of the kids I went to school with wanted to go to college and then be married shortly after, then job, then kids and that’s about the extent of it. So many times I’ve had to give advice to people that just because you’re in your mid-twenties and not married doesn’t mean life is hopeless and that you’ll be alone forever. There’s so much pressure that has seemingly been formed that puts a deadline on these massive decisions that need to be thought about.

Something that has always been a draw to me, and is a big reason why I love radio, has been the chance to see the world. How do we know what we like? We try it. We go out and find it and experience it. That becomes much more challenging when you put down those roots because of course you try not to just up and move. Perhaps it is a little fear driven because of stats like ‘the average person visits only nine states’ or ‘the average person settles down within 60 miles of their hometown.’ That has never appealed to me and I want to see as much of the world as possible to figure out where I want to be.

I’m not saying there’s any right path for one person but there seems to be this map of life achievements people are generally held to which doesn’t make sense to me. We’ll all do what’s best for us and get where we want to go but it doesn’t have to take the same route or time.