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For a woman, her late teens and early twenties are the best years of her life. It’s the time to burn bridges and build new ones; to fall in love with both yourself and someone else, to find out your purpose, and everything in between. But, why is it like this? Why is it so glamorized to live an entire lifetime in just a mere fraction of it?

There’s this underlying pressure to have everything sorted out by the age of 25, an unachievable expectation that often goes unsaid but constantly lingers in the air. Is it a realistic or healthy outlook? Not in the slightest. Do we all still strive for it, thinking it’s now or never? Every single time.

So, where did this ticking time bomb come from? Who’s to blame for this looming expiration date? Is there even anyone to blame?

I look back to when I was young and impressionable and ask myself: What was I surrounded by? What were the depictions of early womanhood that I was immersed in? As I ask myself and remember, I realize that early womanhood was all I was ever shown. 

There were no stories, no songs, no form of media of a woman finding her purpose, falling in love or simply just living wildly in her 30s – or dare I say, her 40s. It was the same thing over and over and over again: 17 is the age of a “dancing queen;” 18 is the age of a broken-hearted “beauty queen,” and you party like hell at 22

But that was just while I was growing up, right? Surely, it’s different now, and this absurd, all-consuming need is lessening. 

Yeah, no way.

Now, we’re in a time where people share everything about themselves online (well, almost everything). From what to wear and how to wear it to grand achievements, only the good is shown and only the good is viewed.

Take TikTok for example. The app now has a heavy influence on this demographic of young women for all things music, fashion, beauty and more. The same kind of go-getter, put-together-lifestyle is being pushed forward. While that alone may not have negative effects, when only the achievements and vibrancy of the lifestyle are being shown rather than its true––sometimes tiring––reality, that’s where the problem begins.

It’s the equivalent of false advertising, leaving so many young women trying to replicate something that never existed and then feeling inferior afterwards. 

Every now and then, it’s important to rationalize with ourselves. It doesn’t make sense to experience a lifetime worth of memories in only a five to seven year span. It doesn’t make sense to know exactly what you want to do, when you want to do it and how you’ll do it all by the age of 23. 

There will be hurdles along the way that have the potential to throw off your “plan” or change it for the better; it’s just a part of growing up. Not everything has to be done at once and that is okay – it’s more than natural.

You are the creator of your own timeline; go at your own pace. No one has the right to set a countdown for you.

📖 Related: Are We Putting Too Much Pressure On Young Women to Stay Young?
📖 Related: Gen Z Women, Self-Esteem, & The Dark Side Of TikTok
Khushy Vashisht is a first-year journalism student at X University. She enjoys singing, hate-watching Twilight, and reading mystery novels. Her love for journalism comes from wanting to empower the voiceless by bringing new and important stories to light. When she isn't writing, she can usually be found watching true crime documentaries, procrastinating on her readings, or both at the same time.
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