Peer pressure when you are 30++


No pressure then....

This post was featured on ‘freshly Pressed’ on 12 Novenber 2010

It really doesn’t matter what age you are as there will always be peer pressure. Whether it is incited by societal or cultural norms or the media etc. it is still the same as when we were all in the playground and it doesn’t get any less stressful trying to conform to all of the separate activities, beliefs, attitudes and conventions that I am made to feel that I have to kowtow to.

As a woman in my early thirties there are numerous actions etc. expected of me. As a Londoner there is another list. As a member of the middle classes, another list.  My friends, family and workmates etc. will ensure that I adhere to these either by suggestion, example, or deception (okay maybe not deception, but it is still sneaky stuff and sometimes feels that way!)

To be all of these things takes more time than I actually have. For example I should be an organic gardener and I should grow my own vegetables as much as possible. I should have a wormery and make my own compost from garden and food waste. I should recycle as much as possible (meaning nearly everything) and I should only buy items from the supermarket (actually I should not be buying my groceries from a supermarket at all, but sourcing them from a local organic producer so that they are ‘organic’ and have a small global footprint) that come in recyclable packaging, or even better, no packaging.

I should be in a solid relationship (ideally married, or about to be) and I should be thinking about having my first child very soon. I should live in a nice suburban area. I should be an excellent cook and should regularly host dinner parties. I should bake my own bread and cook all of my meals from scratch. I should have a stylishly decorated and spotlessly clean home and follow all of the latest fashions. that is good to bring up kids in and has high achieving schools and that can provide my family with security and, of course, conformity.

I should have an upwardly mobile career and be happy in my job. I should exercise regularly and should not smoke. I should not drink to excess and by now I should like red wine and have knowledge of wines and grapes. I should pay attention to politics and world matters. I should hold structured opinions on politics, religion, world matters etc. and of course the weather (I am British after all!) I should have a broad and varied circle of friends and meet in wine bars to discuss the above. I should

So as you can see (and that was the abridged list) there are so many things that ‘I’ need to do and that my friends and other peers are already doing that it can incite resentment due to the fact that I am not allowed to choose for myself, but merely conform to the stereotype. Honestly I already do most of these, yet I still feel frustrated that I feel the need to do them and that once one more has been ticked off the ‘to do’ list another two are added. Some of them will never happen and I will have to reconcile that with my need to fit into society and have my place within it.

I think that I can honestly say that most of the stress in my adult life is down to all those things that I should be doing!

I may discuss this further at a later date….if I don’t have a nervous breakdown first!

Paige

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Comments
203 Responses to “Peer pressure when you are 30++”
  1. lily3527 says:

    Despite not quite being 30 just yet, I appreciate this entire post thanks to all of the things I should be doing doing and the ways I should be doing it.

    The only thing we should be . . . happy.

  2. damn you. im 29 and was hoping this crap would end at 30. congrats on freshly pressed.
    http://dearexgirlfriend.com/

  3. Karteek Manchala says:

    This is the plague of our society. Trying to make one follow the expected pattern, drive through the same path, marry, have children. They are ready with brands in case of non compliance – pervert, mad, gay, eccentric, so on..
    Thanks to globalization, it is common everywhere.
    If everything is fixed of what we have to do then why are we here?
    Can have some machines. But machines never do what they don’t like!

    Karteek
    http://karteekmanchala.wordpress.com

  4. runtobefit says:

    Well, I say you should look at all the things you should be doing, or at least that you feel society says you should be going…Then, don’t do it. The most important thing is that you do what makes you happy. After all, it is your life. Nobody can ever tell you what makes you happy. 🙂

    http://www.runtobefit.wordpress.com

    • blondecop says:

      Completely agree!

    • HimThatIs says:

      Well put. Try a little moderation in being a productive(or at least unburdening) member of society. There is no getting it right all the time.
      Besides, your differences and personal eccentricities are what people tend to like about you most.
      Life’s more interesting for the square peg.

  5. nearlynormalized says:

    Peer pressure? 30+ and you really have to consider peer pressure? If you pay your own way what are concerned about peer pressure…Ignore the crap that society has allowed you to feel…Get loose, get to Hawaii, Mexico or Catalina Island (off the coast of California) and hang loose.

  6. Sometimes, and this is just my opinion, we imagine those social pressures and expectations to be more than what they are. Overall, people simply don’t care what we do – they’re too busy leading their own lives!

    • baidanbi says:

      Well said. That is really the truth of it!

    • Jouji says:

      I fully agree that people do not care. What a freedom: you can die, and life around you would just goes on (but without you)!

      This is why i also find that the “I should” feeling is necessary but only to some extent. You cannot get satisfaction just from yourself but you have to create some logic, priority in the melting pot of your feelings and decisions.
      I’m 48, it is “easy” to be wise…
      The so called “Should feeling” should only be related to vital (survive and care for your kids) responsibility, and apart from raising up children, every other responsibility is the result of your choice.
      Apart from caring for your children, your responsibility is to be “happy” especially because you can share only positive feelings. (the rest is destructive – avoid them)
      How to be attractive, healthy, joyful, dynamic, feel well yourself and remain available to those you love in our stressful world – depends on you.
      Sometimes people need to get a “cancer” (this was my case) to recognise that life is nice, that to be happy they simply need less (less money, less relation, less activity, less admiration, etc).

      It is extremely important that you feel yourself happy by doing something for YOU!! and if there is no time for it, than make time, eliminate everything that you can live without.

      I think that pressure is related a lot to circumstances (because if you have no food, no home, out of work, ….) but also to your expectations and needs. Once one is above the second level of the Maslow triangle of needs (=food, home, sleep & sex + being not isolated = work) then you are that lucky resident of industrialised countries, and then: the social pressure that turns to be unbearable is generated by yourself.
      Cheer up, life is not that difficult if your basic needs are satisfied. Sort out everything that disturb you and BE HAPPY!
      You know, social economic exclusion is worse than having to prioritise duties you think your are expected to assume. Believe me, if not you, than someone else would do it and people do not care much (apart from your own children).

      I think that competition is generating bad relations everywhere.

    • regurgitatin says:

      This is exactly how every person reading these comments should feel. Perhaps, in some way, even though you blog about the pressures you feel, you actually create them, by wanting those things in your life. Otherwise, if you didn’t want them, why would they be there? Your words make it seem like you are trying to make an excuse for your genuine feelings. Perhaps you should become aware of what you really want. Then blog about THAT.

      • regurgitatin says:

        Sorry, that wasn’t intended to say that what i wrote is how every person should feel. I mean the post that i replied to!!

    • sonal chopra says:

      yup i agree… it’s just our perception of ourselves and wanting to fit ‘in’

    • pazagape says:

      nicely said 🙂

      • zongora123 says:

        Exactly!

        But the perception of ourselves (as mentioned by “sonal chopra”) is not a “just”, this is not a minor purpose, it is something hugely important; this is the esteem of yourself which can even generate a “war” in case it was not well connected to your expectations, capability and to what is available to get from the “society”, communities & organisations.

        And this is why it is so difficult to “fit in” because what’s if you want and cannot get??? and because of reasons beyond your means and awareness.

        And at this point precisely people have to be creative so as to create their own way to be “happy”. It is so difficult! “If you want to change your art, change your life” said Chekov. It is difficult for everybody, growing up is not painless and especially when you are challenged by various disabilities (ie Paige)
        I feel that once someone is about to develop a positive attitude towards life, without gratitude, the feeling of happiness on the long term remains an utopia. But again this can only be a concept for people living in a rich, industrialised & democratic society. (who knows what will be the result of our recession and ecologic destruction generated our organisation and ourselves?)

        It is extremely important to be connected to meaningful relations and objectives and to contextualise painful our troublesome situations. This can help us to make our own decisions. A think there are not many people who are conscienciousely being able to be responsible and who feel free in this sense.

      • Jouji says:

        Exactly!
        But the perception of ourselves (as mentioned by “sonal chopra”) is not a “just”, this is not a minor purpose, it is something hugely important; this is the esteem of yourself which can even generate a “war” in case it was not well connected to your expectations, capability and to what is available to get from the “society”, communities & organisations.
        And this is why it is so difficult to “fit in” because what’s if you want and cannot get??? and because of reasons beyond your means and awareness.
        And at this point precisely people have to be creative so as to create their own way to be “happy”. It is so difficult! “If you want to change your art, change your life” said Chekov. It is difficult for everybody, growing up is not painless and especially when you are challenged by various disabilities (ie Paige)
        I feel that once someone is about to develop a positive attitude towards life, without gratitude, the feeling of happiness on the long term remains an utopia. But again this can only be a concept for people living in a rich, industrialised & democratic society. (who knows what will be the result of our recession and ecologic destruction generated our organisation and ourselves?)
        It is extremely important to be connected to meaningful relations and objectives and to contextualise painful our troublesome situations. This can help us to make our own decisions. A think there are not many people who are conscienciousely being able to be responsible and who feel free in this sense.

  7. The only things you should do are the things that you want to do. You shouldn’t listen to anyone else – well, unless that’s something you want to do. 😉 Congrats on being FPed!

  8. Very true. Even some of the more childhood pressures still exist – ridicule for wearing the wrong clothes, not having the latest technical gadget (smart phone), hanging out with the wrong crowd, or not being up-to-date with the latest music or media. I am not so sure that adults are better at dismissing such pressures, but I think they are better at avoiding them. We choose our social circles based upon what we feel comfortable with. As youths, we had no choice of where we were sent to school or who was in our classes. As adults, we can choose to avoid certain restaurants, businesses, or workplaces based upon our comfort level. If a man hates wearing a jacket and tie, he is unlikely to choose to dine at a restaurant that expects that wardrobe.

  9. Milly says:

    My (very wise) BFFadvised me recently during a similar what-I-should-or-should-not-be-doing crisis. She said to me, “There is no right or wrong, there is no should. There is only what you can live with.” Kind of a paradigm shift. I don’t think I’ll ever forget those words.

  10. Great post, So true. But not all peer pressure is bad. The first paragraph of shoulds are things that we really should be doing because of our consciences not because we want to fit in with our peer group. If peer pressure is the only reason some people do them, then at least they are doing their part if not out of the goodness of their heart.

    The rest of the shoulds are devastating to our happiness….if we fail at them we are miserable, if we achieve them and it is not actually what our hearts really desire, well again we are miserable.

    Good luck walking the line, as someone of similar age and class, my survival mechanism is to not invite anyone into my life that I think will judge me if I fail or refuse to live up to all the shoulds.

  11. Congrats on your FP status!!
    I’m so glad you said you were from London right off, so I can read your post with the correct British accent!
    This is so true (alas) and my kids don’t believe me when they complain about pressure at school and I tell them to “get used to it”.
    Thanks for your thoughts!

  12. Currie Rose says:

    Thank you for sharing. I march to the beat of my own drum. According to societies ‘shoulds’ I am waaaaaaaaaaaaay behind and ahead of schedule… but I know that I am on my own time line, on my own path, living my own life. If we all lived according to societies ‘shoulds’ there wouldn’t be a whole lot of flavor in this western world and (in my opinion) it would be chock full of oppressed people repressing their natural desires, unable to find themselves and purpose for being here. Keep being you. You are right on time…. and we are all exactly where we should be on our own time lines. 🙂

  13. This is an important theme, in my opinion. I actually identified and rejected all of these expectations back in university. I seem to recall the film Fight Club having an impact on my thinking, however awful that may seem to some. Now, I’m married and I find that it’s actually more difficult to resist these expectations than it was before.

    “Buy a house, have a kid, set up a retirement fund…”

    Just a year ago, I was living a pick up and go life. Now, I have “responsibilities.”

    I don’t want to say “appreciate what you’ve got,” but I guess it goes to show that the grass is always greener on the other side.
    Ryan
    PS – Arrived via Freshly Pressed.

  14. ryoko861 says:

    Ya know, when I hit my 40’s I didn’t care anymore.
    I love being a non-comformist.
    Wish I was like that in my 30’s. I would have been happier.

    Do what YOU feel GOOD about. Don’t feel you have to do it to make EVERYONE else happy. Screw them. Who are they to dictate to you how you SHOULD live, what you SHOULD compost, when you SHOULD get married. It’s YOUR life! You live it the way you WANT to. If they shun you because you didn’t grow the hybrid tomatoes they asked you to, then they aren’t your friends. Grow corn instead. Only because YOU like corn on cob and it’s easy to grow and no one else grows it. If they look at your all weird, it’s only because you broke the mold.

    It gets easier as you get older.

    And congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  15. White Ink says:

    First time reading you blog. Got in trouble from the boss for laughing a little too loud.

    I love it 🙂

  16. Teri says:

    Screw should, embrace want! (I have to remind myself of this, constantly.)

    Loved this post, and congrats on being pressed.

    http://yourlifesentence.wordpress.com/

  17. Good grief, clearly I am falling down badly on the feeling-guilty-and-inadequate front. I have utterly failed to lambast myself for not having a wormery, bugger.

  18. samiraesat says:

    at thirty something, I’ve taken ‘should’ out of my vocabulary…really cool to identify. thanks!

  19. sylvietoldyouso says:

    Excellent post, really strikes a chord!

  20. I’m in my late 40s, and the biggest progress I’ve made this year is eliminating the word “should” from my vocabulary, since it doesn’t really propel me forward, but rather, causes me to focus on the expectations of others, as you so succinctly and aptly put it.

    The first part of solving the problem is identifying it, and that you have done. Not many people get to first base on that one.

    I wish you the best of luck on your journey.

  21. I should tell you how much I enjoyed your post today! Oh wait, I just did.

    Blessings,

    Ava
    xox

  22. amez3 says:

    except as you age peer pressure becomes a matter of histology and politics.

  23. Is the red wine thing for real? Nothing more unpleasant in my mind. Regardless, great post of the needs/pressures of adulthood. Congrats on getting freshly pressed.

  24. As at 39-year-old single woman (in the US), I can definitely relate to what you’re saying. Here, at least, it seems as though a good deal of the pressure comes from women’s magazines, many of which seem (to me) anti-woman in nature.
    Further, It’s confusing to be told as a youngster “Just be yourself and people will like you for who are” only to grow up and receive a completely different message: “Just be this and this and this…and people will like you then.”

    Conformity is useful as applied to schoolchildren (helps keep them in line). As adults, we should be free to find our own path. Unfortunately, it rarely feels that way for those of us who seem to be in a societal minority.
    Keep up the good blogging, Paige!
    -Jennifer
    http://sasfiction.wordpress.com

  25. Peer pressure is for pussies.

  26. Jan says:

    I used to think that Western women were devoid of societal pressures. While growing up in my country in West Africa, i usually dreamt of migrating overseas to escape all forms of pressure but thirty three years later, here i am, bowed to societal pressure to marry so i can have children which is expected of every woman within most african communities. For a single woman of my age, not marrying indicates a past full of lewd association (societal perception). but i’m done bowing everytime. loved the post

    • Ka says:

      I hear you Jan. I must say it is difficult , as an African woman, to go beyond societal expectations of what you should ‘achieve’ in your life. Challenging the norm and following what works only for you, takes courage. What works for me is that I surround myself with like-minded people who allow me to be me. It also helps to know that despite all the ‘shoulds’ people might want to impose on you, at the end of the day, you are the queen of your life.

  27. diamonds4rubies says:

    don’t know how it is in London but here suburban school are the dumbest shit that ever existed

  28. Brianw says:

    I really enjoyed this post. I agree that people always feel like they need to “keep up with the Jones’ ” with all the things they “need” to do. It can cause a great deal of stress, at times it’s like being in highschool again!

    What do you propose is a solution to this?

  29. mct88 says:

    Ah awesome! I’m a 20 something college graduate lady… there are a whole SLEW of things that are expected of me. I warn you don’t be surprised if one day I disappear from it alL! 🙂

  30. GigiK says:

    Conformity is the slowest form of suicide. Life is like a novel , you have the power of the pen write according to how YOU want your life to be. PEACE & LOVE

  31. Hieronymo says:

    Your friends, family and workmates will ensure that you stick to suburbs, wormeries, and wine bars? Maybe you should move to Kyrgyzstan….

  32. Ah, I wish every woman could see life from the vantage point of thirty years in the future. The only “should”s are that you live your life from vision, rather than from circumstance. That being a “victim” to anything, whether a relationship or a job or what people expect of you, doesn’t serve you. And that one of the great wonders of life is that we all have the ability to reinvent ourselves. Daily, if needed. You have a place in society. But first of all, you have a place in your own skin. That said, I’m thinking you are a very special woman, indeed.

  33. Abigail says:

    Paige,
    I don’t think you are alone on this, everyone gets overwhelmed sometimes. But you have to remember that you’re good enough and there is nothing you should do that you don’t want to. Most of the time we feel like everyone else is judging us when we are really judging ourselves. And if someone else is judging us, it’s really just them projecting their judegment of themselves on to us. Take a deep breath. You can never find peace if you focus your time thinking about whats expected of you. Take that energy and focus it on feeling good about where you are right now and doing whatever it is that you enjoy. GREAT topic.

    Abigail
    http://www.abigailsthoughts.wordpress.com

  34. Evie Garone says:

    I don’t think there is anything we SHOULD be doing! I think we should do WHAT we WANT as long as we don’t hurt anyone! So there! Don’t fall into the trick of society! Be yourself!

    evelyngarone.com

  35. You should write a blog…

  36. You’re absolutely right. When I compare it to how it’s actually going, I’m working to hard. At the end of the day i crash onto the couch and heat my meal in de microwave.
    Reality versus the “shoulds” are opposites…..

  37. Chico Mahalo says:

    You should tell all those people who are telling you that you should be doing this that and the other thing that they should leave you the **** alone… or something very similar.

  38. wadingacross says:

    Interestingly, most of the “shoulds” you list could well qualify as “liberal” or leftist ideas. Much of what you describe are legalistic expectations and while the left/liberals proudly proclaim themselves forward-thinking (progressive), tolerant, empathic, broad-minded, they can just as easily fall into legalism.

    Why should you be stressing? Do you subconsciously agree with much of what these “shoulds” are?

    My father thinks I should have been an artist. Bugger off. My grandfather thinks I should be working. Bugger off. My father and mother thought I should have been married and had children much sooner. In my own time thanks. The overwhelming majority of my close friends share my views on life, so there is no stress or worry about what they say. As to what liberal society says I should be doing? For the most part, bugger off. I’ll do as I’m able, when I please because I want to, not because of some elitist liberal moralism based in relative progressivism that places this earth above humanity.

    Major in the majors, minor in the minors. Make too much hay out of minor things and you will have a nervous breakdown. Who’s in control of you and your head; you or your peers? Screw your peers. Be you. And if they turn you out, they weren’t your friends to begin with. And if you find that you agree with much of what they say you should be doing, perhaps you need to do some very serious soul searching and analysis.

  39. goatsbeesplants says:

    Great post and only too true!!

  40. I have to say that topic crosses my mind more often than not. We end up being put between a rock and a hard place. Do you succumb to the pressures society imposes on us or do we rebel against it? It’s easy to say we can go against the grain but the truth is neither way is any less stressful. You’re either damned if you do or overburdened if you don’t. I guess it comes down to doing what you feel is right for you. In the end you’re the only one you have to answer to when you close your eyes at night.

    Cheers!

  41. LushFun says:

    The upwardly mobile career hits home…

    aye the peer pressure is haunting me

  42. frclube says:

    U can write a poem out of that post. U r not stupid baby. U r a prisioner though. How can somebody that intelligent be a prisioner of society. Ur time is about to come and u know it. The last breath of youth. Listen darling, take ur youth dream and make it real. Dreams oppose society in 99% of cases. This is the trick : contextualize ur dreams ( crazy ideas ) within a logical societal structure. U have a brain to do that. ( I do it through capitalizing my poet ideals, since u can capitalize everything this days ). Do that and u´ll be all right. Dont feel like everybody should point the finger towards u. A brain can engineering reverse that. U can point ur finger at them if u capitalize ur dreams. I dont know if u like business but they r too easy since u can get in the forbes lit out of buying tomatoes at 50 cents and sellin them at 1. The difficult thing is to dream. Only geniouses have that luxery. Get in the club. U have potential. And a hell of luck. Since i had 5 minutes absolute free time to write this down.

    Greetings.

  43. there is a simple very good phrase to describe this. “high school never ends”

  44. CK says:

    You know, I have two older sister, both of which have done the ‘right things’. They both got married to men who have decent carears. They both have children, 1 boy and 1 girl, which it just figures that would work out for both of them. Each have nice houses and are ‘good’ wives. Now, after those two…comes me. I’m 26, I’m an artist so work is there but not stable. No boyfriend, because there’s little time in my day to deal with men. I adore my dog, and they say too much. No kids, no marriage and I have so friggin’ happy. I really am! Sure sometimes things are hard but I am so happy and I know when they pick on me or try to beat me down it’s because they’re jealous. They’re stuck with two kids and husbands in tow while I can drop what I’m doing and go to Canada or London or wherever. I go to a casino once a year with friends, I truely enjoy life.

    So I say, let people like this keep their ‘nice’ houses and rich husbands and snotty kids. I am happy just the way I am.

    Thank you for posting this!!

  45. Great post! I can definitely relate to this as a thirty-something woman. It makes me want to sell all my earthly belongings and travel the world like a nomad.

    http://notcomplicated.net

  46. itsnoel says:

    I dunno, why do you feel that you ‘should’ do all these things because of the thoughts of others. Do it for you, who cares what others think, do what makes you happy 😉

    I did have to LOL at your ‘I should have a womery’. Woah, what kinda person thinks that ;P

  47. mamalazarus says:

    At least most of your “shoulds” are ultimately positive…most of my “shoulds” are all about dragging me down…it’s amazing what a difference in location and class makes.

  48. One of my least favorite words, “should”. I think you should drop it from your vocabulary! 😉

  49. karmafeast says:

    You do not need to do any of these things.

    Effecting that realization into action requires relinquishment of desire to achieve whatever value you feel you derive from these actions.

    the torment / frustration you feel, and its solution, lie only within you.

  50. baidanbi says:

    You know, you really don’t have to. Yeah it’s hard making choices outside the box and sometimes lonely when you don’t fit in, but often it’s worth it! Or maybe I’m just an American individualist.

  51. maria says:

    I am 40 and it doesn’t get any better.. Great post.

  52. seyruun says:

    bah, never mind.. people who only do all they do because everyone does are boring.. it’s ok to give in when it’s not a lot of hassle, but all of that? way too much.. o.O

    http://seyruun.wordpress.com

  53. Amanda says:

    As I’m reading this, I’m checking off in my head my own list and find they match right up. Except I’m American not British, but no one’s perfect. Just wanted to say, I hear you sister. I keep thinking I’ll sign up for that CSA, and what a good idea that sounds like. Or why I’d recycle one piece of junk mail but toss the take away flyer. Meh, Just do your thing and be happy.

  54. Cindy Eve says:

    are you my daughter?? 🙂 no of course not. but boy does she have the same issues!! & she has just reached 30!! advice from someone who has been there and is now watching her daughter go through the same thing….. you SHOULD just forget all the bs and enjoy your life 🙂 no such thing as should. do what makes you happy, life is way too short for SHOULD’s. hugs

  55. Osdale Berry says:

    Being black British, i agree their is still an era of peer pressure at our age. And i think the generations behind us had expected us to have gotten thins right by now. That is so disappointing

  56. This is rather interesting. Your list eminds me of “Fitter Happier” by Radiohead. Perhaps you can do a cover version. 😛 I think it would be interesting for me to make my own list as an American sophomore college student in the middle class, although I likely have rarely adhered to the status quos accumulating throughout my life.

  57. davcorn says:

    I was peer pressured into having a blog.

  58. Michelle says:

    Love this…makes me want to list all the unconscious “shoulds” that are lurking in the corners of my mind…

    I heard a wise man say: “Stop shoulding all over yourself!”

  59. Dylan says:

    As a 34 yr old Australian male I completely relate. I should be able to articulate these things like you have and should take the time to improve myself to be able to do so… or I can just be content with who am already. I can choose to be content with what I’ve already experienced, contributed and achieved however modest. I like most people feel inadequate by not seeing that what I already have is just enough. A content person knows they have enough.

    Where I get stuck with contentment is my desire to do good stuff. What about being motivated to do good stuff? How to have ambition but not feel overwhelmed by what could/should be achieved AND just be content???

    What is just an ego trip and me wanting to feel significant and successful in the worlds eye?

    I guess I SHOULD know, but I don’t.

  60. irenegeller says:

    Funny how those are much of the same pressures that are on me/ my younger east-cost American. If they’re not shoulds/should nots, they’re ‘you should be planning for this’ (regarding family and kids and whatnot).
    I struggle with the should/should not pressures of life too… But our lives *should* (oh the irony) be in our hands- ours to create. More strength for you and me when we can make that happen!

  61. irenegeller says:

    *American generation (sorry)

  62. DawnieAngel says:

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!! I truly enjoyed and relate to you post, I too have accomplished and do accomplish (on a semi-regular basis atleast) most of the things on your list. I too have friends that “appear” to be on top of all of those things and so many more but the truth is that there is almost always something else wrong in the lives or relationships of those who appear to have it all together. A number of years ago (when I was younger, I’m currently 36) I made the decision to not sweat the small stuff and then decided for myself what the small stuff was and what the important things are in my life. After many years of feeling inadequate compared to others my age I have reached that point in my life that I can say I am happy with who I am and where I am in my life. I am happy with my contributions to the world and to my family and friends. I am a better person now that I was when I was beating my head against the wall of stereotypes and conformity and I will never go back. I hope that you and others that are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out over the “never ending” list of should’s and ought’s etc…are able to find themselves and be happy with themselves and just let the world accept them for who they are and not for all the should’s they have accomplished. In the end it’s how we live not the things we’ve done that are going to matter, so live for yourselves and too hell with society and it’s unreasonable and most times unnecessary expecatations!!!

    I’ll be keeping an eye on your blog to see where you go from here…GOOD LUCK!!!!

  63. Frankly, if your friends have such ideas about what you should do, then maybe you should make friends with more common sense. (Notwithstanding that some items, e.g. drinking only in moderation, are laudable.)

    Further, I am a little troubled by your paragraph “So as you can see (and that was the abridged list) […]”. I have too little information to make a definite statement (after all, I do not know you), but my first impression is that you need to grow a spine, learn to live without the acceptance of idiots, and so on.

  64. katrina says:

    Sounds like you need to train your brain; it is running you around in circles; refuse to let it. Learn how to be still; learn how to BE. And how to love yourself for who you are, instead of being upset over what you believe you should be.
    Whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report THINK on these things! Your mind will try and wander off; bring it back; and make it focus on what YOU want it to. After a time or two, it will understand that you are not going to allow this “dictator” of “shoulds” rule your life.
    I recently was talking with my aunt, with whom I had lived with when her children (4) were younger; both she and her husband worked, and he also was attending college. I told her that one of the things I admired most about her and her husband was that they openly stated that what was important to them was spending time with their children when they were young; as they could never regain that time, and way to soon they would be grown and gone. This included letting housework go, etc.
    She said are you sure it wasn’t just that I was not a “good” housekeeper? I said no: you had your priorities and it was on spending time with your kids; on a day off, in summer, she would openly state that well, I should stay home and clean house, do laundry and there is so much to be done! But she would gather the food, kids, and we would go to the river, and they would play and picnic. The “housework” always got done; but she chose to ignore the “shoulds” and do that which was most meaningful to her at the time.
    She built beautiful memories for her children and for me; she also taught me that the “shoulds” do not have to dictate your life; it is far more important to live; and be; rather than follow whatever you think you “should”
    be doing or not doing. Who is the person who anyway who is telling you what you “should” be doing? yourself.
    Learn to meditate; and learn to be. Never be so busy with doing, planning, thinking, etc: that you forget to just savor the joy and delight of life. Let others do all the things you listed; if they enjoy it. Doesn’t mean you have to. Kind of like sky diving: some folks enjoy it; I certainly do not nor do I have any interest in it whatsoever.
    One lady I met I admired greatly; she had a beautiful home, and a good business. However she had visited Dallas Texas and loved the dancing that they did there.
    She sold her home, sold her business items, and moved there to go dancing every night. She said she might or might not start her business up again; Bravo!

    • Jouji says:

      I fully agree with Katrina!!!! I like a lot her opinion!
      Absolutely, what is meaningful for you starts by knowing yourself!! and making decisions!!!!!!
      Don’t be afraid, do it!

  65. differentdimensions says:

    The pressure of conforming to the so called unnecessary set standards just stresses one out, and if you have no plans to conform, it still troubles you as its even harder to go against the flow!

  66. carlespoles says:

    Just focus on trying to be happy… no matter what the rest of the world is busy trying to figure out… who knows what: the latest restaurant or restaurant or book or??? Be yourself…

  67. celadona says:

    Lol* and you should blog about doing all of the above ‘I should’s when you are done with them!

  68. NYM says:

    Great article and I completely understand what you mean. Turning 40 brought a whole new set of ‘should’s, only a lot of them are things that ‘should’ already have happened.
    There’s really only one ‘should’ and it applies to any age: You should decide for yourself what works for your life. People doggedly pursuing all their ‘should’s are never as happy as they seem.

  69. Great new website!

  70. Naomi Cutshall says:

    I love this, England or America–it’s all the same!

  71. elmer says:

    At 30-somethings, I was always at conflict with the society especially the family, due to my belief in the non-conformists ideas. Once I passed by a bookstore with this poster that’s always been on my mind (then): “The challenge is to be yourself in a world that is trying to make you like everyone else'”

  72. You should definitly discuss this at a later stage 🙂

  73. Waj says:

    I hope you don’t mind my leaving a comment but this idea of ‘interference’ by others into one’s life is something I am very interested in at the moment and I recognised a lot of what you wrote in myself and in others around me. To me the ultimate aim in life would be to get my head down, ignore everyone else and just do my own thing but that is a near impossibility I know. At one point I thought a good idea to tackle this would be to act as if I was starting again and building a belief system up from the very bottom, acting only on what I truly felt myself to believe in after due consideration, and damn the consequences to my social circle. As you can imagine, that didn’t work out too well (talk about time consuming, and it really did affect my relationships with certain people!) If you don’t have the time or inclination for that, couldn’t you take each of the pressures you mention in your post as a starting point and think about whether you genuinely believe them to be worthwhile actions. This might not get rid of the pressures but you will at least know that you are carrying out the action for the right reasons rather than just being dragged along with the crowd (personally, my worst nightmare!) Anyway, sorry for going on, like I say I’m interested in these kinds of questions. Thought provoking piece, thank you.

  74. Iain says:

    Your peers will only think ill of you if you seem to have both adopted their values and failed to satisfy them. If, on the other hand, you publicly renounce the values of your peers, the pressure ceases to apply. If you present yourself as a member of a peer group, you will be expected to adhere to their aspirations. If you wear the uniform of the job, you will be expected to do that job. If you dress as Robin Hood, people will think you are lame if you can’t fire an arrow. If, alternatively, you don’t dress as Robin Hood, it would be impertinent for somebody to criticize your archery. If you present yourself as somebody who calmly and sincerely rejects these things as worthless, people will feel themselves arrogant to even suggest you behave otherwise.

  75. Great post.

    Few people can find a place to live where they are utterly free of peer pressure — the trick, as many people have said, is tuning it all out. I live in a NYC suburb where it seems every woman is skinny, blond, lives in a very large house with a $$$$$-earning husband, has kids…..and looks at me like a Martian because I have none of these things.

    Instead I have a life with all the things in it that matter most to me, and their approval of me is the last thing I want or need.

    Anyone who thinks a wormery is essential really needs to get out more. I can assure you that no one here would have a clue that that is.

  76. e6n1 says:

    March to the beat of your own band- with batons and pom-poms

  77. rootietoot says:

    At 40, it all goes away. At 40, you SHOULD be comfortable enough with yourself to enjoy a bag of Cheetoes and a bottle of cheap white wine. You SHOULD not care what other people think about your slighlty oversized thighs (thank you Cheetoes) or your silly car or the pile of laundry you refuse to iron because you’d rather watch reruns of CSI NY.

    I found turning 40 the best thing ever. Now that I’m 45 it’s even more so.

  78. There is always a compulsive confessor.But we must feel forced or feel pressurized by our peers.Giving i to peer pressure to do the right things is good.Giving in to pressure to do the wrong things is a strict no no.There are some really bad things one can give in to peer pressure given the type of group you are in.It may be things that are often unspoken of.There some secret groups and cults.Sometimes it is seen that 13+ to 18 are given much into peer pressure only because of their 30++.Nothing is hunky dory in the world,but it would be nice to live in a world of no pressures but there is no life without peer pressure,be it a child,a teen or a old man.That’s the reason people have mid life crisis

  79. There is always a compulsive confessor.But we mus not t feel forced or feel pressurized by our peers.Giving in to peer pressure to do the right things is good.Giving in to pressure to do the wrong things is a strict no no.There are some really bad things one can give in to peer pressure given the type of group you are in.It may be things that are often unspoken of.There some secret groups and cults.Sometimes it is seen that 13+ to 18 are given much into peer pressure only because of their 30++.Nothing is hunky dory in the world,but it would be nice to live in a world of no pressures but there is no life without peer pressure,be it a child,a teen or a old man.That’s the reason people have mid life crisis

  80. acetonescribe says:

    I hear you on this one. I actively fight against the pressure to confirm (in fact often accused of doing so purely to be non-conformist) but the pressure and expectations still get me down.
    At every turn there is a societal “norm” ready to make you feel like less of a person.
    Sadly I don’t think it will stop. On the positive side, it makes choosing (eliminating) friends easy…
    http://acetonescribe.wordpress.com

  81. britishjoy says:

    Hi, I’m 31, and yes I’m aware of these pressures abounding. But too be honest I don’t take any notice. I can’t achieve any of the upwardly mobile career, wine bar, theatre going stuff because I’m ill. Nor the kids or the suburban house. But some of the pressures you mentioned along with fashion, party nights out (many of my friends are still twenty somethings) and weight were definitely bothering me.

    Until this year. A couple of months ago I decided that actually I don’t care. Ok, I wear long full skirts and blouses, and my hair in a chignon – I don’t fit in with working class fashionistas trying to copy celebrities at all. I don’t care. And I’m going to hold my head up high (chignon and all) and get on with life.

    Good luck to you, I hope you find the path that works for you.

  82. Great post….but now does this mean all these things need to be added to my “should list”….egads! Be good to yourself, there are always things people expect of you, but often they just notice and don’t actually judge you when you don’t conform. Your thoughts were fun to read.

    Congrats on being freshly pressed. Keep blogging.

    http://workingtechmom.wordpress.com

  83. Jean says:

    There’s probably a handful of “shoulds” in your list that “society” seems to impose on you, that you actually do believe it’s right for you, that define you deep down and are a top priority.

    So look after those few “shoulds”. Forget about the other stuff.
    But don’t lose your sense of morals and values. The “shoulds” that your customize to fit your life path and keep you steady on your course in life.

  84. Chris says:

    this article made me laugh a few times! thanks for writing! it also, made me want to start cooking and having dinner parties again! 😀

  85. Bess Collins says:

    I often find myself falling into the trap of social expectations even though I am barely 25. I sometimes find that if I feel like I am not “fitting in” I feel bad about myself. I really loved your article…it made me feel much better!

  86. Shannon says:

    What always struck me as weird is that, as a kid, you’re told to say no to peer pressure. You’re supposed to say no to drugs, alcohol, bullying someone else because your friends are, and you’re not supposed to worry about having something that they do because it doesn’t matter anyway. And then when you grow up, that all turns around. You’re supposed to have this and you’re supposed to have that, and if you don’t you’re looked down upon. The worst part is there’s no one there to tell you those things aren’t necessary.

  87. fnkybee says:

    Perfect.
    With all of these things that we *should* be doing how much of it is true to ourselves or is it just trying to keep up with the jones’. You must be yourself and always live for yourself and not just do things because that is what you are supposed to be doing.
    My motto~Life is too short..live it your way, not for others….and always be happy.
    Smile~
    Fnkybee

  88. Tracey says:

    Excellent post… as someone on the tail end (sigh) of my 30s, I can tell you that at the beginning of my 30s I felt the same as you.

    I was was supposed to get married, I was supposed to have kids (I even felt the need to have a “back up plan” to have them on my own if I wasn’t married by the time I was 35 which then became 36 and then 37…)

    Early 30s turned in to mid 30s which, inevitably, turned in to “late” 30s and I can honestly tell you, I’ve come to accept that I am who I am and no matter what society as a whole and my own personal society, comprised of my family and friends, think, the most important person in the decision making process about my life is me. I’m not married, I don’t want to be, I don’t have kids, I don’t want any and ignore those who have their opinions about it. I travel, I read, I focus on my photography, I cook when I want and order out when I don’t. I live my life how I see fit. I’ve seen too many people fall in to the trap of doing what society says is the norm only to end up unhappy (divorced, broke, what have you) and honestly, at 38 I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

    Best of luck to you!
    Tracey

  89. bantics says:

    do you really think you should be doing any of those things? I mean do you enjoy them? Do you believe in recycling everything? Or composting? it strikes me that if you did you wouldn’t sound so resentful. I understand what it’s like to live in a fashion forward, cosmopolitan city, there are those the people who seem to have fallen out of a magazine- swaddled in Stella McCartney, striding down the high street in heeled Chloe boots, Starbucks in one hand, fresh flowers in the other, vintage bag hanging carelessly from the shoulder or dangling at the crook of an elbow. We see women like this and we begin to imagine their lives:

    They get up at 6am to start their ashtanga yoga, visit the farmer’s market to pick up organic fruit for the breakfast table, cook porridge on the stove for the kids so they are sent to school with something wholesome in their stomachs. At 8.30 they cycle to their office, which is local, they’v stated a successful boutique in their affluent suburb, showcasing up and coming designers, but nothing too edgy. I’d keep going with their imagined schedule but I’m already bored. Everyone reads an interview about a designer or an entrepreneur who lives like this (usually in a women’s magazine or the Guardian) and starts to think this is how we should all be living. If I could only fill every moment of my day with activity I’d be happy. Well you won’t be. You will still have all the problems, worries and insecurities you have when you aren’t doing all the things you feel you should be doing. You can’t base your life around the lifestyle modern media expounds as ideal. The homemade, homespun, yet uber chic and affluent, woolly jumpers worn ironically, listen to folk music but drink in wine bars, tea parties and wellingtons is only one way to live your life, it’s a suggestion, it might be what the papers say everyone is doing but it isn’t FOR everyone. If you are trying to conform to these peer pressures you are a poser. All of these things are fads and it makes me sad that I can see this at 21 and you are 30 ++ and still think that you need to be keeping up with everyone else. What do you want to dress like? Where do you want to go on holiday? Do you LIKE red wine or baking? Do you even know? I think it’s time you asked yourself these questions instead of letting other people tell you what you should be doing. For Christ’s sake 30++ grow up! You only live once. Do you really want it to be a life of being shoved around? You’re a clever woman, don’t be a helpless twat!

    • sylvietoldyouso says:

      He he, excellent advice for us all, bantics! I actually read the original post and started thinking ‘bloody hell, should I be doing all that stuff??’ – thanks for the virtual slap in the face that brought me back to reality!

      • bantics says:

        thank you sylvietoldyouso! its good to know that not everyone is living in mad world. also lovely blogging, i like the sound of long walks long meals long spells of writing, i don’t think you should go changing that lovly life for peer pressurey stuff at all!

  90. mgrinnell says:

    Interesting lecture – the Idealized Self, and the Vicious Circle (how our self-imposed ideal is created in childhood). The use of ‘God’ in the lectures is offputting to some. However, it does not truly do anything to the material, and it can be embraced or disregarded without losing the deeper sense of what is in the lecture.

    http://scr.bi/c0oe9M

    Amazing responses to your post.

  91. Meghan says:

    I loved this post, because I also feel there are lots of things I should be doing as I approach 30. (Building a savings account, eating less junk food, working out more – lots of similar things!) But some previous comments have hit the nail on the head. What do you WANT to be doing? If none of those things are appealing to you, then what’s to worry about?

    Your blog is lovely and well written. I’ve subscribed! Cheers-

  92. you cant possibly be doing all those things! a wormery? yeah ok

    • limitedappeal says:

      Wouldn’t saving food and shit outside of your house attract mice and rodents anyway? Sounds like a bad idea.

  93. hezaire says:

    great post, and congrats!

    when will we stop “should”-ing all over ourselfves?! sigh. . .

  94. limitedappeal says:

    This is just pressure you are putting on yourself. You picked your friends because they are similar to you. If you want what they have then it is because you want it, not because they are telling you that you should be doing it. I am nearly 30 and don’t feel any pressure to have a garden, buy local, have kids, live in the suburbs, or have opinions about politics or the weather. It’s not because I don’t think those are good things to be doing, or because I don’t have friends that do them, it is becuase I don’t feel the drive inside of me to have those things. This is what you want and you externalize it as some sort of peer pressure.

  95. Dew says:

    Interesting post!

  96. Elyn Tibbs says:

    I’m 27 and I haven’t even accomplished half of what is on this abridged list. I’d like to be able to conform a little so I can fight to do the opposite.

  97. Eddie Vásquez says:

    Realmente sorprende que aun en tus 30´s sientas que tienes que, la sensacion de vacio, parecida a una sordida balanza mediatica ayuda a generar un estado de expectacion.
    La verdad, es que no tienes que.. absolutamente nada, en tu interior muchas metas ya las cumpliste a pesar de la vaciedad que piensas exista por no poder “tener el” que la sociedad demanda.
    Recibe un abrazo desde el otro lado del charco (from the other side of the pool).

    Edi

  98. Lucas says:

    you “shouldn’t” do anything. ultimately society is people and you’re not really letting any individuals down by not doing said things. Maybe anyway..

  99. lowsaltfoods says:

    I too am 30 plus and I totally agree that there is pressure to be so many things because that’s what society or people around you want you to be. But the only way to challenge the societal ‘should’ is to develop one’s own sense of ‘should’ based one’s own beliefs, conscience, morality.

  100. wasitalladream says:

    Hear Hear, I completely agree with you. It’s the same in Australia – I guess it’s the same everywhere. Great article.

  101. acrankywomansview says:

    What a pleasnat surprise this post was. You are right, no matter what circles you travel in, no matter the age group there is a “norm” and the preasure, both externally and internally applied, to submit to it. We all have to find our balance of fitting in and still being ourselves ;0) I hope that your week finds you breathing deep with a little elbow room.

  102. Matt says:

    Women are at a handicap-not only do they get ‘peer pressure’ from friends, family, etc…, they get it from advertising as well. Daily you all are constantly bombarded with societies idea of how you should be… it’s just not right. Regarding your post, don’t worry about what you ‘should’ be, or what you ‘should’ be doing. Worry about what you ‘want’ to be and what you ‘want’ to be doing.

  103. bonzaisamurai says:

    I really liked reading this, and totally sympathize. on my own, I don’t feel bad about what I should’ve done by now, but when I go home for holidays, I feel like I’m in high school / college all over again. LIke everyone’s wondering “what’s she going to do?” this also combines with the feeling that everyone’s already given up on me.

    this is why I am anti-holidays this year! I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a lord of the rings marathon on tv. I’m pretty sure Frodo and the gang will make better company than my various aunts.

  104. Amber Austen says:

    I say you should drop it all and go to fiji,….

  105. noothergods says:

    I have been both a jobless bum (not entirely by choice) and worked in a number of different jobs. Honestly…my life was less stressful and more enjoyable as a bum. Not that I am suggesting everyone quit their jobs and go live on the streets (or off the government). However trying to do everything that whatever social group you might belong to consider’s ‘normal’ or ‘necessary’ is merely a good way to stress yourself. Peer Pressure can be a good impetus to do things, for instance I try to willingly succumb to the peer pressure to exercise, however too much conformity and there is nothing left of us.

    lanterhollow.wordpress.com

  106. Friday for Everything says:

    I used to get a lot of that. I ignored it, and for the most part everyone gave up expecting me to be normal when I cleared 40. Except my older sister. She’ll pester me until the day she dies and then her ghost will follow me around moaning “whyyyyyy aren’t yoooooouuuuuu maaaaarriiiiiiieeeeed yeeeeeet?”
    Cheers.

  107. Nice posting
    i like this article
    thank u very much

  108. I don’t know if it’s something that happens with age or if it’s something you just choose, but I don’t really care about the “shoulds.” I have always gone my own way. It used to bother me that I didn’t really “fit.” But now I’m 40 and I’m happy. Regardless of the “shoulds,” I became (and am still becoming) the person I was meant to be. Choose your own path. Pursue love…everything thing else will be as it should be.

    Congrats on FP! 😉

    http://cleanfoodexperiment.wordpress.com

  109. paulo says:

    even when you go live aboard you still feel this peer pressure!

    Having to live up to things! Your so right with this blog, even from a males point of view!

  110. gealach says:

    Thank you! 🙂
    I was actually planning to write something like this earlier this week, after reading a lot of status updates on Facebook about all the things my friends do, and which I don’t have time for 😀

  111. Bee says:

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed by WordPress!

    You’re long list of shoulds made me feel exhausted. But at the same time I identified with all of them. Yep, unfortunately we don’t lose the peer pressure when we graduate from high school.

    Thanks for a great post

    Bee
    http://lardertales.wordpress.com

  112. Yvette Co says:

    I woke up this sunday morning thinking that – trophies. Most of the establishments, organizations, foundations, are trophies, or are they by products of our beliefs? Society moves towards a pressure to acheive recognition. So sometimes our organizations become trophies, instead of expressions. as a person I must be careful to know what motivates my doing something. What I engage myself in should be a by product of my believeing in something and not out of fear that I have not produced anything in my life at all.

  113. Evie says:

    We all want to fit in, to feel like we’re ‘normal’, to have a secure and predictable place in society, and thus we feel the pressure of the “shoulds.” It sucks. I’m lucky (read: incredibly damn lucky) to have surrounded myself with friends who equally find the “shoulds” of society sucky and have always tended to accept it when I chose to reject doing X, Y, or Z because it wasn’t what I wanted for my life, even if it was the normal, expected thing at the time. I quit my job and moved to Costa Rica to be a starving artist trying to write my first novel, and not one of my circle batted an eye. They encouraged. They cheered. They said “I’m jealous.” For me, at least, escaping the pressure of those things I “should” be doing in my 30’s (according to society) had a lot to do with having the kind of people in my life who said, “Do what feels right, what makes you happy, what makes you alive. Don’t worry about the people who think you’re nuts, just go with your gut.” There is escape, but it’s not easy. I still sometimes feel the pressure of “should,” even here and now. But I also know that the people who love me will love me even if I don’t do the “shoulds.” They wouldn’t be worth my time otherwise.

  114. Moh Kafka says:

    Just think, there are people dying in war and people don’t find water to drink… And please enjoy your red wine and your women. Just be happy. You luckily born in the good part of the world, so enjoy it!

  115. alinblob says:

    It gets easier the older you get! Then you can just giggle at it all…

    But please, my beloved English people, do not get into the should and should’nt thing! I was born in Germany and fled away from that to England many years ago, where I experienced tolerance and excentricity and the freedom to be creative, no matter what…punk of 70tes and early 80tes, yeah Baby!

    Here is a funny little story about sorting out your rubbish from Germany:
    Some years ago when every good housewife in Germany was made to collect yoghurt containers for recycling, the powers that were (maybe still are), said: you absolutely should wash out your yoghurt containers…otherwise fingers will be pointed at you! (It did not matter by the way how small your kitchen was (and is): please collect your rubbish into differently coloured bins. If they take up all of your kitchen and you can’t cook anymore, there is always a takeaway…but please do not take your car to get to the takeaway: remember your carbon footprint)
    Of course a clever person, who’s name will forever be forgotten, realized that washing out those yoghurt containers uses up a massive amount of precious resources which will not be made up again ever by recycling yoghurt containers! At the same time another clever person, who’s name will forever be forgotten, realized that all recycled rubbish ended up all together at the same landfill for rubbish anyways…

    The moral?
    Do not ever take over should and shouldn’t attitudes, instead question everything!
    Remember you are good at that, you invented democracy and suffragettes!
    Yeah Baby!

  116. I try to see your friends ( and mine ) and where their at in life and cant help but feel compassion for them. Sometimes friends can make good points but often they are the victims of those who peer pressured them in years gone by. Its a continuos cycle and is a result ( I think ) of original sin. It is something nonetheless that we need to by the grace of God get rid of.

    http://www.loyaltothemagisterium.wordpress.com

  117. love the read!
    Makes me feel, I don’t need to live up to the created standards. 🙂

  118. cookiemomma says:

    Too bad the things that I should do aren’t really the things that I want to do, as this will be the theme for the rest of our lives! lol. Great blog

  119. Not to add any additional weight to your list, but you checked off another from the list with your blog: ‘you should journal/write about your experiences and opinions’. Thanks for your witty blog, and congrats for being fresshly pressed.

  120. sinwithme says:

    Agree, most of stress in western cultures people have from not being what they “should be”.

  121. touching 30 and loads of advice and suggesttions looks like u have reached some alarming stage or you are in last stages of some chronical disease, …everyone telling to settle down or blaming u for being too much in love with ur independence or being too choosy… I was thinking this happens only in India… but yes the globe is not away , and sitiation are more or less the same.
    This is a very nicely written blog and I reallyy admire the list prepared by the author for the should and should Not’s
    I hope the society grows up to respect the independance of an individual beyond the social norms and stop putting such unruly pressures.

  122. The fact is, at the end of the day, the only person’s expectations you have to live up to is the one in the mirror. Good post and something that a lot of people are struggling with.

  123. Dad says:

    The cure I have found is that “Should” comes from someone else. “Should” is not you and your thinking. A “Should” is not your goal. A “Should” is an outside influence. “Shoulds” come from other people, but not from those who are empathetic with you and where you are today.
    You are who you are. Listen to people who are for you. Don’t let someone “should” on you. Celebrate. Enjoy. Dance.

    Living well is the best revenge.

  124. lurkertype says:

    Other than the recycling, drinking moderately, and not smoking, stuff the rest of it. Growing your own worms? Yuuuccck. Having children when you don’t want to? Major mistake for you and them.

    Go down the pub and eat junk food. It’s your life.

  125. zskdorset says:

    i hope you’re not doing any of them – i’ve just moved out of london but i’m still not!

  126. Sounds like you got the case of SCW (shoulda coulda wouldas) How about doing those things you think are so right, one at a time based on priority without worry of you peers agendas, unless ofcourse they are what makes who you are.

    There is a time and a place for everything. It takes a baby step and then another until you’re fit enough to leap.

    Do the things that make sense and make you and others happy on as many levels as humanly possible even if that means gaining courage through others contradictions and faulty views.

    Its not what you do its why you do it. Live somebody else life and live in misery. It has nothing to do with the things you “should do” but what is the proper way of doing things and the motivations behind them. If your will is too weak to resist peer pressure then you have no personality you are just misinformed informant. If you have sincere reasons behind what you’re doing, there should be no second thoughts.

    Eliminate every contradiction and misconception you are faced with no matter how small, to make informed decisions through which you gain effortless existence. Efficiency will find its way through elimination of faulty views and ways. There are no questions you cant answer yourself but that requires seeking…

    “The power of will is potentially absolute: acceptance of any imposed picture of our personality and environment is a sign of weak character and will”

  127. I luckily don’t get this peer pressure thing at all.
    If you don’t bow to any pressure, nothing bad will happen. But you will find out who really likes you for who you are, as all others will slowly remove themselves from your life. And you’ll have much more time for yourself!

  128. Mario says:

    I don’t feel the pressure at all. I don’t care and mostly don’t know what other peole expect of me.
    I know what I want to achieve and try to make it happen. I don’t care what the rest think. Most still believe the 911 official version anyway.

  129. marcys says:

    Paige, Your litany of “shoulds” sounds very familiar to me–not the content, but the process. I have a sneaking suspicion it is not other people bombarding you with these shoulds as much as you’re doing it to yourself. It just sounds too much like the trips I’ve been laying on myself even longer than you, being in my 60s now, Are people actually telling you to do these things? You could find different friends, you know, if this isnt how you want to be living.

    Just some food for thought. I could be totally wrong

  130. danablair says:

    this is great! Definitely something that is underlying in all the decisions I make as I approach 30. The thing is, that a lot of it you just don’t have control over, so societal pressures aside, the main question is are you happy?

  131. Lòt Poto-a says:

    Well, it was said once that High-school is just a sample of life. I guess it’s true.

    After all, if you you’re seventeen and single, people think you’re in the closet. If you’re 30+ and single, people start trying to hook you up with people of your sex, even if you never claimed to be homosexual…

    My dad once told me that there is nowhere on the planet that I can go without finding stupid people. I guess he’s right. Don’t succumb to peer pressure, mate!

  132. Dan says:

    I had to learn that “Should” comes from someone else. “Should” is not me and my thinking. A “Should” is not my goal. A “Should” is an outside influence. “Shoulds” come from other people, but not from those who are empathetic with you and where you are today.

    People who don’t have a solid sense of who they are look to others for direction and validation. Trouble is, you then resent the other people because the “shoulds” they prescribe are not authentic for you.

    Don’t let someone “should” on you. You are who you are. Celebrate your uniqueness. Laugh, Dance, Enjoy.

    Living well is the best revenge.

  133. Cherie says:

    Quoting you: “I think that I can honestly say that most of the stresss in my adult life is down to all those things that I should be doing!”

    Really, a nervous breakdown….because of what you are ‘made’ to feel you ‘should’ be doing….and you are letting these things ‘stresss’ you out why?

    Maybe you don’t really want to live to see sixty…stress kills!

  134. Tyka Ndutyke says:

    so i guess that ‘adult peer pressure’ happens everywhere in the world. in our country, well we have that kind of ‘adult peer pressure’ too. i call it, the never ending WHEN-questions. it started when we’re around 17 or 18 y’ol.

    WHEN will you have a girlfriend/ boyfriend?
    WHEN will you start doing your thesis?
    WHEN will you graduate from college?
    WHEN will you get a serious girlfriend/ boyfriend?
    WHEN will you get a better job?
    WHEN will you get married?
    WHEN will you get pregnant (this is THE WORST ‘when-question’ for married woman with no child yet, LIKE ME!)
    WHEN will you have another child?
    WHEN will your baby be able to do this and that?

    and the list shall continues till the end of our life. ha!

  135. so i guess that ‘adult peer pressure’ happens everywhere in the world. in our country, well we have that kind of ‘adult peer pressure’ too. i call it, the never ending WHEN-questions.

    WHEN will you get a serious girlfriend/ boyfriend?
    WHEN will you get a better job?
    WHEN will you get married?
    WHEN will you get pregnant
    WHEN will you have another child?

    and the list shall continues till the end of our life.

  136. jamesmoore80 says:

    I just turned 30 this year and I’ve been reconnecting with my true self for the past couple of years. My Mother passed away and it made me reflect on my own life/mortality. I grew up on Army bases, went to a high school with gangs, was a U.S. Marine, and was in a fraternity in college. During all that time I took on the roles of each identity I assumed in those groups. I never lost touch completely with my original/unique thoughts though and I’ve always remained a skeptic. Over these last couple of years I have reacquainted myself with my own true and unique self.

    When my girlfriend asked me what I wanted for Christmas last year it was the first time that someone had asked me to make an actual Christmas list in a long time. So it got me thinking like a 12 year old once again and it was invigorating. I asked her for a remote control helicopter, binoculars for star gazing, nunchucks, and other things a pre-teen would probably ask for. She thought I was joking, but I told her about how her request for a list rekindled the childlike curiosity. Since then I’ve proudly reclaimed my nerdy passions and it has made me so happy.

    I even sold my car and have no intentions on buying one again since I get around fine on my 2 bicycles(this is of course because my girlfriend has a car that we can use for long trips and errands), but when you tell people that you’re going car-less in Ohio they look at you like you’re crazy. I still act according to what’s expected of me in some of my roles, but when I get an odd glance for straying I don’t mind because I’m happy and there are a ton of other happy people just like me in the world and easily found on the internet.

  137. blackvelvetsea says:

    Its good to know that an Egyptian and Cairene woman in her early thirties share the same feelings and concerns with a British. Well put and please don’t break down..Life in mega cities can get really hectic but we shouldn’t give in. We should just ride the wave.

    May Kosba

  138. Paige,
    All your worries have been living in millions of women´s heads worlwide… and I don´t think this scenario will change soon. Trust me, some men, after listening that all, will tell us that it´s all the freedom women fought for some time ago…
    And I must say that part of this pressure is some other women´s fault! Yes, it is! How?
    Well, every single day, I meet some women that will keep asking me how come I´m not married, or why wouldn´t I be in a steady relationship with someone. Fucking ridiculous as I check their lives and bodies being consumed by a boring marriage.
    I think you should do what I try to do… not to give a damn. Their lives can´t be 100% perfect… no way.
    Age is just metrics, if you do care too much about it, you´ll regret for not living and for just worrying about what other people say.

  139. magzillarva says:

    A line that should never be crossed is someone telling you what it takes to make you happy. Everyone tells me I should go to grad school, but some things that others do may be things that aren’t for me.

  140. cocobambi says:

    I can definitely relate to this. We are always told what we should and should not do… particularly, like you said, by the media who tell us we SHOULD wear mineral makeup, we even get told things like how we SHOULD behave in a relationship (despite the fact that we all know every relationship is different, etc…) Plus I think being a woman, the “should” list is substantially longer… and it’s hard to ignore.
    A lot of people feel the need to impose what they think is right, they get so passionate and at times self-righteous that they believe what they do is what everyone SHOULD do. But if you’re different, I say EMBRACE it!
    I’m 22 and personally have never wanted children, when I tell people this they look at me like I’m a martian and I’m always told “one day you will” because you know, every woman SHOULD want to have babies. It really cheeses me off. However, I’ve learned to ignore the “shoulds” and “should nots” – just drown it out with the tune of your own song 😉

  141. Vintage Barbie says:

    I am way past 30 and when I was your age women had a lot of shoulds that turned out to be negotiable, except nobody told our mothers so we had to discover this for ourselves (Those of us that had the balls). If the should doesn’t fit, don’t wear it.

  142. smspang says:

    Peer pressure is one of things that doesn’t have an age barrier. No matter what you are expected to act, look, or dress a certain way. Its up to you if you will conform to others opinion. Or if your going to be your own person. No matter what decision you make. There will usually be consequences.

    http://thefreakazoid.weebly.com

  143. Wow! I got stressed just reading this lol.. don’t let this world get to you

  144. humblewalker says:

    I hear you loud and clear.

    PS: wine tastes like what I envision gym sock water would taste.

  145. Court says:

    This reminded me of the “truly accomplished woman” diatribe in Pride and Prejudice. So much to achieve and no time (or willingness) to do it!

  146. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

    Well said!
    I wonder if men feel the same way.

  147. vibaku says:

    enjoy this life just think age is not a problem. Need to consider is the purpose of your life, your ideals, do not be too detailed because it makes you stress. Too many do you think will be more and more obligations you get

  148. behaviorjunkie says:

    Spot on observations.

  149. charlene says:

    Got here via Freshly Pressed too. I’ve just turned 30 and identify (very much!) with all of the shoulds and should-nots you’ve made note of, and the dozens you doubtless haven’t 🙂

    I’m about to upset a lot of people and throw it all away and bugger it. It’s rather exciting and a bit scary. But heck, can’t please anyone so might as well please myself…. I may not be saying this in a while though! 😀

  150. koroshitchy says:

    The problems is not pressure. The problem is that we are too coward or weak to just ignore all those “you should” and do whatever we want.

  151. shining722 says:

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  152. Great post!

    >>> actually I should not be buying my groceries from a supermarket at all

    Have you read Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan? 🙂

  153. Kat-Cat says:

    Great Post!

    Why should we do things just because other people around us are doing anyway? I was unfortunate back in the days and hang out with some pretty terrible people, thank god I didn’t conform and do what they do, or else I’ll be in pretty bad shape by now. I think we should have our own mind and do what we want to do not what we should do, as long as we’re not hurting anyone then who cares?

    http://kateandherlife.wordpress.com

  154. What you said is very true. The peer pressure gets worse at the early thirties. I am also experiencing it and it prevents you from being your real self.

  155. Tanushree says:

    i m 26 and almost murdered by expectations. when they come from people who build ur life, how much can u do?

  156. I can completely relate to what you’ve said here. It’s very funny, but also not! All the rules we grow up thinking we have to follow that are completely meaningless. What we should be doing is exactly what you’re doing – saying to hell with them all! Great post, thanks!

  157. Great post: sorry to tell you, it doesn’t (never will!) get any easier. But what the hell!?

  158. adamdubai says:

    To be honest, people will question themselves in life. That’s just the way it works, if you do not at some point in your life there’s a problem. How many times a day I think about what I want to do and what I should be doing, however I WILL NOT just change for the sake of changing, Who really cares what other peope think about your life unless they are close to you.
    You have too many to-do lists, bring it back to basics. Consider a few areas where you feel you need to improve/ change and make it happen but if you are going to think of everything it will become mission impossible. Damn it, i’m 30 next year and maybe I’ll be writing a blog just like yours……

  159. Doll says:

    On growing older….
    I read an article in the Observer this weekend and it discussed an issue I’ve often wondered about but never dared to voice…why are we so obsessed with ‘owning’ our own home? Unlike pretty much the majority of our forefathers(and mothers), we do not start working at 16/18 and work our way up in the same company until we retire at 60 – which would mean we would easily pay off a mortgage not having to owrry about moving or being made unexpectedly redundant.)
    and why do people who have just bought a house act smug and superior to those who are renting when they’ve effectively just taken out a humongous loan and probably wont ever pay it off?!?

    http://www.christ-couture.blogspot.com

  160. Jess says:

    I turned thirty this year also and am glad to see this post Freshly Pressed. We really need to stop “should-ing” all over ourselves. 🙂

    “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”
    ― Chinese Proverb

  161. Uncommonlyu says:

    Love this post! And its so true. At some point we’ve got to stop listening to the noise about what we “should” do and just be content to live by our own rules. Would love to have permission to repost on my blog.

  162. sanveron says:

    i’m young (23), but i wonder what would happen if you’d just move to a different country with people that hold different expectations

  163. I love it- though I will reiterate what some others have said- it gets easier as you get older. I’m 41, live deep in the fly-over, no-man’s land of the American Midwest, and I’m more comfortable in my own skin than at any other time in my life. It’s OK to throw out the shoulds that don’t really matter. I reconciled it long ago that no matter how much I starve or exercise I am not going to weigh 90# and look like Calista Flockhart. Big deal. I exercise and pay attention to nutrition to maintain my health, and if I’m healthy and feel good at 150#, without starving to death and spending every free moment working out, so be it. It’s OK to embrace your own ideas of what’s beautiful, what matters, and to maintain what your own standards of vanity (yes I dye my hair black and I have acrylic nails- because I like black hair and sculptured nails!) The people who love you will love you regardless. Everyone else- who cares? My dogs love me no matter what I look like.

  164. sayitinasong says:

    Oh my god… if you continue thinking like that you will end up with a nervous breakdown…lol… take it from another Londoner… it is not worth it- life in London is stressful enough…in the end… THEY don’t live your life, you do. You have to live according to what is right for you- not what other people perceive as being right. There will always be peer pressure… but it does get easier I think when you get older… mainly because then you just don’t care so much….

  165. Best Damn post of the week!

  166. That was a good read, I enjoyed it. I always have the feeling that there are thiings I should be doing, then I just shrug it off and forget about it for a while.

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  169. starryeyed says:

    Well, this post certainly provoked a reaction didn’t it!

    In me, it was disgust with myself that I was sucked in to it and immediately started thinking about which ‘shoulds’ I have done. And then I read the comment by bantics, woke up to myself and started this blog:
    http://mestarryeyed.blogspot.com/

    Thanks for disgusting me, I guess!

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Freshly Pressed, Static Dynamics, Things, Francis Unson, Laura Hargreaves and others. Laura Hargreaves said: #blogs Peer pressure when you are 30++: It really doesn’t matter what age you are as there will always be peer p… http://bit.ly/cDc6eM […]

  2. […] Posted November 12, 2010 by inislamicworld in news, food. Leave a Comment It really doesn't matter what age you are as there will always be peer pressure. Whether it is incited by societal or cultural norms or the media etc. it is still the same as when we were all in the playground and it doesn't get any less stressful trying to conform to all of the separate activities, beliefs, attitudes and conventions that I am mad … Read More […]

  3. […] Peer pressure when you are 30++ (via Paige Lucken’s blogzine) Posted on November 12, 2010 by inislamicworld It really doesn't matter what age you are as there will always be peer pressure. Whether it is incited by societal or cultural norms or the media etc. it is still the same as when we were all in the playground and it doesn't get any less stressful trying to conform to all of the separate activities, beliefs, attitudes and conventions that I am mad … Read More […]

  4. […] It really doesn't matter what age you are as there will always be peer pressure. Whether it is incited by societal or cultural norms or the media etc. it is still the same as when we were all in the playground and it doesn't get any less stressful trying to conform to all of the separate activities, beliefs, attitudes and conventions that I am mad … Read More […]

  5. […] on the home page of WordPress, there was an article entitled “Peer pressure when you are 30 ++” by Paige Lucken of London, England. She detailed many of the peer pressures that she experiences as […]

  6. […] It really doesn’t matter what age you are as there will always be peer pressure. Whether it is incited by societal or cultural norms or the media etc. it is still the same as when we were all in the playground and it doesn’t get any less stressful trying to conform to all of the separate activities, beliefs, attitudes and conventions that I am mad … Read More […]

  7. […] It really doesn’t matter what age you are as there will always be peer pressure. Whether it is incited by societal or cultural norms or the media etc. it is still the same as when we were all in the playground and it doesn’t get any less stressful trying to conform to all of the separate activities, beliefs, attitudes and conventions that I am mad … Read More […]

  8. […] It really doesn’t matter what age you are as there will always be peer pressure. Whether it is incited by societal or cultural norms or the media etc. it is still the same as when we were all in the playground and it doesn’t get any less stressful trying to conform to all of the separate activities, beliefs, attitudes and conventions that I am mad … Read More […]

  9. […] the never ending WHEN-questions i read an interesting post here: […]

  10. […] is a topic I’ve been thinking about lately after reading a blog post called ‘peer pressure when you’re 30‘. I read through the list of things that apparently every respectable woman should be doing […]



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