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When I’m…

Teresa talks about growing and changing with your life plans

Written by Teresa Clifford and posted in opinion

This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for please contact

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“When I’m 13 I’ll get to go to discos and I’ll have my first kiss.” 

“When I’m 16 I’ll have a boyfriend and I’ll be able to go out with my friends whenever I want .“

“When I’m 18 I’ll be able to drive and I’ll be in college and party every night.”

“When I’m 25 I’ll have my dream job and a house and a fiancé.”

When we’re younger we have all these plans for when we’re a certain age. Each age brings with it new things we can do and new milestones we should reach. It all sounds like a lovely plan and it all makes sense when you’re younger but as we grow up and reach those ages we realise that life doesn’t follow our lovely plan.

Maybe you’re 16 and you still haven’t been allowed to a disco and haven’t had your first kiss even though your best friend has been to every disco since first year. Maybe you’re 19 and you’re still not in college for one reason or another but you saw a student at the university open day who’s younger than you but already starting the second year of their course. Maybe you’re 22, just finished college and you’ve never been in a relationship and you work two part time jobs to afford rent for a flat.

When your big life plan you’ve had since you were a kid doesn’t work out it can feel disheartening, like you’re not living life properly and you’re failing, but that’s not true. Life is an ever changing thing and it doesn’t always go to plan but that’s not a bad thing. Even though you may not reach a goal when you think you should or life takes you down a different path entirely, it’s still your life and you’re living it just as you should. You’re doing your best and that’s all you can do in life.

Beating yourself up about life not going exactly how you planned will only make you sad and you won’t be able to appreciate how great your unplanned life can be.

So what if by 17 you’ve never had a boyfriend? You’ve got brilliant friends who make you laugh until your stomach hurts and there are tears in your eyes. So what, you’re 20 and you’re not in college and you’re still living at home? You’re doing a job you love while saving up to travel the world like you have always wanted to. You might not have a fiancée and a house and you may not be able to drive because in your last test you ran into a stop sign but you’ve got three great new friends as your house mates and you’ve run your first 5k.

I’ve spent plenty of time worried that I’m doing something wrong, not only in my own eyes but in other people’s, because I haven’t reached these milestones at the time I thought I should or because I’m doing things that I never thought I’d still be doing or working on at this age. But one thing I never seem to remember is that I’m not that little girl anymore who thought she would have her life sorted out at 25. I’ve grown and I’ve experienced so much in life (even if it hasn’t gone to plan) and I’ve realised how different life is to what I thought it was like as a kid.

We make well-meaning plans for our lives as children, but as we grow and change, we have to let our plans grow and change with us and we can end up with a life even better than we could even imagine as those plan making children.

This article was written by a volunteer. Check out our volunteering options here and get in touch if you’re interested in getting involved.

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Published January 9th, 2018
Last updated February 13th, 2018
Tags life wellbeing happiness
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