The Pressure of Being in Your Mid 20’s

I’m 24, living in New York City and refer to both my tiny apartment on the upper west side and my parent’s home in upstate New York as my “home.” Besides the fact that I haven’t been able to disconnect my “home” in New York City with my “home” in upstate New York, there are other things that I feel have prevented me from feeling like I’m totally grown up.

As a kid I think most of us fantasized about what we’d be when we grew up, where we’d live, what we’d name our three kids and what kind of dog we’d have… or maybe I just shared way too much personal information and that fantasy wish list was just me?!  Regardless, I’m starting to feel like I’m getting to the age where some of my friends are actually engaged, married, starting a family or thinking about all three.  Is it crazy that I don’t feel remotely close to such monumental events? Should I be? Is this my quarter life crisis? (Don’t I have another few months until I hit my quarter life?)

My parents were married when they were 23 and already had my brother by the time they were 25; not to mention they had a house, a car and a yard!  I’m pretty sure by the time I hit 25 (in July) I definitely won’t be married, won’t have a kid, will still be renting an apartment and will have traded in a car for a $104 monthly subway pass.  The thing is, I don’t feel like I need to be further along at this point in my life.  Apparently, in 2008 and in New York, the median age of a woman’s first marriage was 28, so according to statistics I’m A-OK!  Thank goodness I don’t live in Utah where the median age was 24, whew!

All kidding aside though, I feel okay where I am in my life.  I love the freedom I’ve created for myself by moving to an amazing city, I love my job in a start-up environment in an office on the Hudson River, and I love that if I really wanted, I could go home after work and have an ice cream sundae.  Your early/mid 20s seem like a time when you get to discover who you are as a person.  You’re past the college years where you could do your experimenting, but you’re not (or I’m not) quite ready to buckle down and commit most of your life to other people (your potential husband and kids) – you’re really in a middle ground that promotes self discovery and self interest!

Some things on my list to do before buckling down:

  • Run a marathon
  • Travel abroad
  • Go skydiving
  • Take a cross-country road trip
  • Go skiing out west
  • Attend Mardi Gras
  • Fall in love
  • Learn how to use the Adobe Creative Suite
  • Sell a piece of artwork on the streets of NYC

Clearly there is no magic age when you’re supposed to get married, start a family and buy a house, it’s really unique to every individual person – where they are, where they want to go and who they want to go there with.  It’s a challenge sometimes, especially for someone like me who does wonder about the future, to open your mind, follow your heart and just live a little.  There really aren’t any expectations of you out there and your life is really what you make it – so go out there and just do you, you deserve it!


Have you ever felt pressured to get married, have children or get to a certain level of your career?  Why or why not? 

Sarah Fudin

Sarah is an inbound marketing manager at 2U Inc., an education company that supplies universities with the resources to go online. Sarah currently works with the George Washington University on their online MPH program which allows prospective students to earn an online Master of Public Health. Outside of work Sarah enjoys running, reading, and Pinkberry frozen yogurt.