You’re Not Your Parents and You Have Nothing to Prove

My parents had me by the age of 20, they also got married, finished college and got a house. I’m currently about to turn 20 and I have none of those things…And that’s okay.

For starters, I would like to state that I decided to write about this because I have recently talked to a lot of people struggling with the pressure of meeting with goals in life-based on how their parents did things at their age. The truth of this is that we really have nothing to prove. Although we do love our folks, we don’t owe them anything, (I’ll come back to this.) Living with the constant fear of “failing life” just because you are not where your parents were at your age will mess you up. Really, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration when it comes to the different times we are living in. So hey, if you are feeling bummed out or sad, check out what I have to say.

The times have changed, and that’s just not a phrase old people say at el Mercado while doing grocery shopping—things have changed. Buying a house can be much pricier than it was 10–15 years ago. House prices in Puerto Rico are even higher than before, and yes, if we do the economic analysis, we can get to the conclusion that salaries may have gone up as well but the raw truth is that most young people in their 20’s   are still students trying to graduate, and if they have jobs, all their incomes are spent paying college bills, or lodging apartment bills. The economy has dropped drastically and taking out a loan could be an option, but getting into debts may not be the smartest thing to do at the moment. Talking about university expenses, trying to get a degree can be more expensive than it used to be as well, and students, in order to accustom to the high prices of college tuition, end up taking fewer credits per semester, making it a lot slower to graduate. In comparison to our parent’s education which tended to finish in 4 years, some of us can end up doing 5 or even 6 years of college to get the same degree.

There’s also the starting a family thing. Yes, starting a family can be a life goal for many, but it really isn’t something you need to do or something you need to rush, to feel like you have your life together. A family is a big deal. It implies lots of things like, again, the money issue. and of course the responsibility of raising children and keeping a healthy relationship with your significant other. Rushing it may take a wrong turn, like ending up speeding a toxic relationship because you felt that it is your only chance to have a family of your own. Before you do make the decision, you need to evaluate aspects of your life and in the life of your partner. This is a serious commitment, not just something you buy, like a house. There will be a time, and you’ll know it. Enjoy the moment and this thing will come to you when you’re ready. Also, don’t let your family pressure you as well, they have no say on when you choose to start your family.

Parents and family overall can sometimes tease you with questions about your life and questions about your future and it’s normal for them to do so, they just want to know what your plans are because they care. My parents, love me, and I couldn’t be more grateful for all of the things they have done for me, but at the end of the day, I need to remind myself that I owe them nothing. Yes, they do all these amazing things so I can get an education, have a house and food by my table, but they aren’t pressuring me with questions about when am I leaving the house or when I am graduating. They know I’m trying my very best, but my head can get twisted sometimes and I end up pressuring myself. I think things like, “They have done so much, I need to hurry up and get my own house,” or “I need to graduate fast,” and all of this is just in my head. I know this is my particular case and that some of you do live with the pressure of your parents but really, you have nothing to prove. Your parents are just doing their jobs at being parents and they shouldn’t be haunting you and asking of you more than what you can do.  If you are doing your best then chill, you are doing just fine because you are not your parents.

Our mental health is very important and we need to take care of it as much as we can. Dealing with the struggle of meeting impossible life goals at our age can consume us, and we need to take a break. We need to breathe, take a moment to realize this is not a competition. You are not your parents and you need to stop pushing yourself to the limit. Keep up your amazing performance in college, and keep up your best, but don’t go into asking yourselves to tackle more than you can take. Put yourself first. Remember, there’s no rush.

Finally, I really hope you can understand that you are doing great, and if nobody has told you this in a while let me tell you, I truly am proud of you and someday you’ll get all of these things you wish for your life. Just because you don’t have them now does not mean you are wasting your time. You are where you need to be. You are going to be just fine. Remember to keep in check with your feelings and take time to relax. It's not the end of the world if you haven’t graduated yet, you will soon, just keep up the good job. Again, I’m proud of you and I hope you’re proud of yourself. Take care, babes.