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July 26, 2022

Why do I feel so behind in life?

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.

Why do I feel so behind in life?

I ask myself that question almost daily at the moment.  It’s the one question that has the power to bring me down, even on the happiest of days.

Why is it that we feel like we have to compare every inch of our lives to the people around us; to the people on our newsfeeds on our social media that we aren’t even in touch with anymore? Why does it matter that a girl I went to school with now has 2 children and a husband, while I’m living at my parent’s house? On paper, that makes me feel like a failure. But I shouldn’t have to feel like that when I have had a good life so far and I’m happy with where I am at.

I could sit there for hours and think about all of my achievements and feel so incredibly proud of myself and accomplished, but that can be diminished almost instantly when I compare myself to other people and their achievements. Numerous questions can enter my head that have the power to bring my self-esteem from a solid 9 or 10 to a 0.5 at best, but with ourselves and our own futures to focus on it shouldn’t matter what stage anyone else is at. In our own lives, we should be our own number 1 and our own cheerleaders.

I’m sure you’ve heard the quote that says everyone has their own timelines in life and there is no single direction/path that we must take to be happy. Individuality is imperative in life and if we were all the same then there would be no excitement; no challenges and ultimately no interest to our daily lives as we would all have set the same expectations and things would essentially be the same and very boring. Individuality is about the way that we express ourselves and show our differences and what makes us all unique.

Myself and Sally down the road are bound to have different ideas about marriage/children/ education etc, and that is OK. Our uniqueness is what makes us interesting and what helps us bond with each other. It helps to make life more exciting and unexpected.

I think the main thing to touch on here is WHY DO WE CARE SO MUCH?

In society, we are raised to care a lot about what other people think. We are raised to be educated on ‘social norms’ and about the idea of having a ‘nuclear family’ – that the process to life is to meet someone, get married, have children and settle down. But what if that is now becoming a thing of the past and people are learning to prioritise other areas of their lives such as their education, their career or even pursuing hobbies and leisure activities. The downside is that a lot of the current generation are still stuck in that archaic way of thinking; that we should start a family and earn money to provide for said family. In the modern day this isn’t the route everyone immediately follows, and this should be normalised.

Sitting here writing this article I am very aware that only myself and 1 of my friends are currently single. Everyone else in my circle is currently in a long term relationship, engaged or married. Now if you asked me whether it bothers me that I’m single, the answer would change on a day to day basis depending on my emotions that day – there would be no clear answer.

On the one hand, I feel behind. I feel like everyone has reached their happy ending while I am still here struggling to find mine. I sometimes feel almost immature and left out, and even jealous that I don’t get to do some of the things that the people around me are getting to do – you know: romantic holidays and days out together or even planning for the future in terms of weddings and having children.

Nevertheless, if you asked me on a day where my confidence and self-esteem were higher and I was generally in a happier place, my answer would be no. It doesn’t bother me that I am single. I have the same opportunities as everyone else. I can still do the things that I want to do in life. I can focus on myself, my career/hobbies, and do what makes ME happy without having to consider anyone else in that equation.

Modern society is gradually becoming more accepting of the different and more modern lifestyles people are choosing to live, however, will it ever be ‘normal’ to not have the pressures that we have nowadays?

Women grow up with the expectation that they should want to have children whereas this may not always be the case. Personally, as a 25 year old female, it is expected that I should be in a relationship and beginning to think about having children. Although it is expected of me, realistically I am still in an unclear mind-set about whether children is something I will want in my future and that again is OK.  Even though in my eyes this is a normal feeling to experience and I expect that many women will feel the same way, it doesn’t mean that this is something that is normalised in society. I could only assume some of the negative responses I would get for verbalising my concerns.

As humans there are so many pressures and expectations for the lives that we choose to live. There are so many rules and regulations, laws and even just opinions from others that we have to listen to and that may become part of the decisions we make.

In terms of feeling behind in life, if this is the way that you are feeling right now I want you to know that you are not alone. I can imagine many people are feeling the same way right now, and may even be envious of the lifestyle that you are living and feel isn’t good enough.

If I could give anyone one piece of advice, it would be to follow your heart. If something you want to do feels right for you, then do it. It doesn’t matter what other people think of a decision that you make, as long as it feels right for you.

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