It’s dawned on me that I’m far closer to my 30s than my 20s. I’ve started reading articles like ’30 things to learn by the time you’re 30′ and ‘Get out of these habits before your 20s end!’ but my age nor some stupid Buzzfeed list will define me, I assure you.

If the last 12 months have taught me anything, it’s to ignore the milestones that society and social media have lead me to believe that I should’ve already achieved.

At 26, I decided on a ‘career’ change (inverted commas denote my reluctance to call a string of seemingly random jobs a career) and embarked on studying towards a Master’s on a subject that I didn’t know much about but I’m falling in love with.

I’ve been in a loving relationship for 7 years and engaged for 3 of them; without a true intention of marriage (until recently) with a 28-year-old man, who was just as lost as I was. We’ve no children and we don’t own a home.

Just under a month from my 27th birthday, I will be an intern in a kickass company. Of course, 12-year-old me (also baby-boomers, Gen X and Y) expected to be at the top of my game, being the boss but it doesn’t always work like that (mainly because millennials do nothing but kill industries, am I right?). I’m ready to graft and I’m ready to enjoy myself whilst doing it.

To say I was upset with my progress would be an outright lie – perhaps I’m not where they want me to be but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Quite often I find the metaphorical (and sometimes literal) happy-dancing ceases due to a blip in my confidence but I’m lucky to have a great support network. Especially my other half who gives me perfectly timed reflections on our journey like “hey, 6 months ago you were putting faces on mannequins, and now you’re gonna be working in PR!” (That needs context; I’m an ex-first aid trainer.)

I’m in the best shape of my adult life. I’ve found great friends, I’m a little bit closer to understanding who I really am and who I might like to be one day. Of course, there has been ups and downs, mood swings, panic attacks and massive urges to drop to my knees and scream like at the end of a soap opera cliffhanger but that’s what growing up is all about, isn’t it?

I challenge anyone to take a look at their last 12 months, whether they choose to do so the day after their birthday or in the new year and tell me that it all went to shit. (It probably didn’t all go to shit.) In fact, I want to challenge you to work out your wins and pin down your progress from the last 365 days. To see how far you’ve come and try to crack a smile.

I’ve known too many people fall foul of comparisons to what is either not right for them at the time or just simply unattainable – but that doesn’t mean you’re not progressing.

Your timeline and your trajectory are as unique as your fingerprint.

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