So after Netflix asked, “Are you still watching?” one too many times, you decide to take a break from possible murderers, unrealistic romantic comedies, and undead creatures running amuck.
You end up on Facebook or Instagram — some social media site that helps us all keep tabs on our friends (or, more accurately, people we had two classes with in high school).
You scroll without a purpose; it’s purely a habitual thing at this point. You see the smiling, shiny faces of people who have it together. Who get it. Who are, somehow, so ahead of you. And the ache sets in.
You thought you’d be so much further at this point.
You know it shouldn’t be a competition, but Joey looks so happy and Carrie just bought her first home. All your childhood diaries filled with who you hoped you’d become still exist somewhere in the back of your mind. You pull up the catalogue on nights like this, when you decide to host a solo pity party and almost want to laugh/cry at how cliché you’re being. And right now, it feels like it’s you against the world.
It’s you, lost and stumbling in the dark, against a world that has moved on.
But here’s the thing, that’s just not true.
We all occasionally feel as if we’re inadequate in some aspect of our lives. Sometimes, it falls into a specific category: love, career, social, etc. And other times, everything feels a little lacking. Painfully human moments when damaging thoughts like, “What am I doing wrong?” creep in.
If you feel behind in life, I urge you to ask yourself, “What am I using as a measurement?”
Because quite frankly, this Milestone Marathon we think we’re supposed to engage in is utter bullshit. It’s almost guaranteed to leave one feeling like SOMEHOW they don’t quite stack up, and rarely does it lead to productivity. You simply end up feeling more alone.
Oh, so a girl you haven’t spoken to in four years just got engaged? Good for her, and her life. Which, reminder, is not YOUR life. That guy on your dorm floor who used to pass out in the common room every Friday night is now raking in over six figs? Again. Good. For. Him.
How are any of these people related to you? How do their successes (or calculated things you’re being shown) have any influence on your life?
You think that if you haven’t found your exact passions, your perfect career, or your clear-cut path you’re not doing life correctly? Who says such a thing even exists?
Who are we even competing with?
Imagine you are 87 and old and wrinkly, and dying, you think you’re going to remember those innocuous posts you were jealous of?
Everything has become so assumed. This is how you live. This is what someone your age should achieve. This is how you know you’re doing it right.
You should aim to be kind. Aim to be compassionate. Aim to be understanding. Aim to allow and give love.
Everything else we’ve been brainwashed to believe we need. Take care of yourself. And that might mean a totally different life than one you’ve been told you should attain. Only you can figure it out. No manual, no outside advice.
Just survive. Life is about surviving the best way you know how.