Getting Older When You're Not Where You Thought You'd Be

June 25, 2017 Martha Lueck

Getting older, no matter how old you are, gets tougher when you're not where you thought you'd be in life. Feel better about getting older. Watch this video.

This year, as I stared at the candles on my birthday cake, I could not take my eyes off of the second digit that said I was getting older—seven. Wow, I thought. Twenty-seven. What Should I Have Done Already?. It amazes me how fast one birthday turns into the next. Twenty is so far away, and 30 is right around the corner.I'm getting old and I'm not where I thought I'd be.

Getting Older Can Be Terrifying

Getting older should be a good thing. After all, I am another year wiser. Unfortunately, wisdom is not always the first thing that I think about when I get older. Usually, I think about my goals and accomplishments since my previous birthday.

Did I get a meaningful job? Did I save up a lot of money? Did I get a lot of stories published? Did I go on any dates?

The pressure that I put on myself to put a check next to every goal overwhelms me. For every empty box, I feel less confident. I feel that every goal I do not meet will foreshadow a lack of progress for the next year. When I think about that big three-zero, that list with a lot of empty boxes haunts me.

Making Peace with Getting Older

Although it can be difficult to enjoy getting older, I find that it helps to stop thinking about where I thought I would be and appreciate how I got to where I am now. To learn more about finding peace with aging, watch my video below.

APA Reference
Lueck, M. (2017, June 25). Getting Older When You're Not Where You Thought You'd Be, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 15 from

Author: Martha Lueck

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Maureen Cheshire
September, 16 2020 at 8:07 pm

I understand-my life is nothing like I thought it would be-I left a good life to come to the U.S.My mum needed someone,I was 38 fit and ready for anything.I spent 12 years with mum( I do not regret)but my life was non-existent,I was diagnosed as bi-polar at 40-environmental,I probably woild not have known,if I had stayed away.Then at 41 physical illness,disability,I was not me.Mum sick,her passing,I did everything.I live in a backwater of California.She dies,I have to save myself,I go to a clinic for 8 years,in the end for an intelligent conversation.16 years later I am 66,I have no idea what to do,no family here,just cousins in England.I should and was acheiving alot.28 years,I need real caring understanding and love.This is someone worn out by survival.

September, 21 2020 at 9:04 am

Hi Maureen,
I am very sorry that you have struggled so much. You are a very strong person to have endured all that. Can you think of any specific piece of advice or affirmation that a counselor has given you? Is there a support group in your area for people who struggle with grief, disabilities, or mood disorders?
At this time, there is a lot of online support. One app I use that is very helpful is called Wisdo. You can connect with people who have been through many difficult situations. The best part is, you can stay anonymous. So it is completely safe. I know that virtual communication does not replace the value of face-to-face conversations, but apps and the internet can be useful for convenience.
I don't know if any of those ideas will work for you, but I want you to know that you are a resilient person worthy of love and care. Thank you for reaching out on here.
Here are some links that I would recommend visiting.
I wish you the best of luck!
-Martha Lueck

June, 29 2017 at 1:22 pm

Thanks for the positive thoughts about a better future especially if you're going through a rough time now. I understand your fears of getting older and about not being where you want to be at your current age. I struggled with the same worries at 35, 40, and when I turned 50. If someone had told me 10 or 20 years ago what my life would be like now (for the negative), I wouldn't have believed it Even so, tomorrow is a new day and we don't know what it might bring. I live one moment at a time because of severe mood swings. I can't plan much of anything because I never know how I'm going to feel. As you said so well, we need to be grateful for the good things we have now and try to stay positive. All the best to you and thanks for writing about your experiences.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 9 2017 at 8:49 pm

Thank you very much for your kind words, Tamara. I am sorry that you have been struggling with age-related anxiety for so long. It is really sad because so many people share the struggle, but very few are willing to admit it. So thank you for sharing your personal experience and thoughts. I hope you keep thinking positive. :)

Lizanne Corbit
June, 26 2017 at 7:11 pm

Wonderful share. I love the addition of the video content. "I find that it helps to stop thinking about where I thought I would be and appreciate how I got to where I am now." -- YES! This is the mindset to have. While I know it's all so personal, 27 is still so young! After you hit that 21st birthday it can be easy to start focusing on all the things you feel you "should have" accomplished by now but that takes you away from appreciating all the amazing things you have done that weren't on that check list. The more gratitude we can cultivate for what we have and what we've accomplished the more confidence it will build to help us check off those other boxes (if those other boxes are in fact meant to be checked!) ; )

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 9 2017 at 8:59 pm

Thank you very much for your kind words, Lizanne! Haha yes. For most of us, 21 always "seems" like a big deal. Sometimes, it feels like it was just yesterday. Yet, so much has changed.

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