Here is a sentence that will either disrupt your worldview or free you, and probably both:
Everybody is having the exact experience that they are meant to be having.
This is hard to accept when we see people around us making what we perceive to be grave errors in their lives.
This is hard to accept when we witness the people we love struggling and we want to show them the way out.
This is hard to accept when we can’t stop judging and punishing ourselves for not being better, farther, and different.
When we are young, and before we really have a sense of autonomy, our lives are governed by a process, a specific order.
We know that we learn to crawl then walk.
We know that we learn to tie our shoes and put on our jackets.
We know that when we’re done with 2nd grade, we go to 3rd.
Our lives are built-in reinforcing systems.
We are reinforced by our peers, by our family, by our grades.
We know that the goal is to graduate, pursue a job or an education, get married, and have kids.
Then, of course, life happens.
We find that this one formula for an existence is just really a suggestion, one to guide us toward prosperity and not self-destruction.
We aren’t often given a lesson on how to be fulfilled.
We aren’t often told what to do if we don’t quite get there when everyone else does, if our big milestones are letdowns, or most commonly, if we check off every box on the list and find that we are, somehow, still empty inside.
Falling behind is an illusion.
There is no such thing.
There is not one way for your life to unfold.
Sometimes, we have to take the back road because the long way around teaches us what we need to know.
Sometimes, we sit in our own pain for years before we start waking up and adjusting our behavior.
Sometimes, what we learn from being different is more important than what we’d learn from fitting in.
Sometimes, our greatest successes are decades in the making.
Sometimes, we do peak early.
Sometimes, we need years of growth and self-discovery to decide what we need next. Sometimes, the point of the journey is to have different experiences, not just to cycle through a series of them until we decide on the one thing we want forevermore.
When we believe that it is possible to fall behind, we place limits on our lives.
When we believe that it is possible to fall behind, it is because we think that the point of life is just to arrive at a certain series of check points… until we die.
Graduate, get a job, pay the bills, mildly hate yourself, get married, fight with your spouse, have kids, fight with them, grow old, retire… and then try to enjoy what’s left.
If you are truly worried about falling behind your peers, please ask yourself what you really think you’re falling behind on.
So many people met every single milestone they were meant to and are no happier for it.
This is because life is not about just going through the motions.
Life is to be lived.
Life is to be experienced.
And we often find that our pain is the portal to awakening to that experience.
Discomfort is the signal that there’s more for us, there’s more to savor, more to feel, to be.
What if you did not measure your life by how it compared to who is around you, but instead how it felt inside of you?
What if your priority wasn’t on the type of growth that people can see, but the type of personal growth that revolutionizes you, the kind that changes the way you do everything from sipping your coffee in the morning to breathing in spring air.
Sometimes, the setback is the journey.
Because the path you were on wasn’t going somewhere you wanted anyway.
Sometimes, the setback is the wake up call you need to save your life.
Because otherwise, you were barreling toward your own self-destruction.
Sometimes, being different isn’t a bad thing.
It means you’re on a journey of something deeper, and something bigger, that most people wouldn’t even dare to dream of.