8 Things I Learned While It Felt Like Everyone Was Growing Up Without Me

Blonde woman thinks about her life in winter while drinking a warm beverage

1. Life is the one thing we will all inevitably finish.

Before we even get started here, let’s reflect and ask ourselves what the hell are we rushing for? We rush everything. We rushed through middle school to be high schoolers. We rushed through high school because it sucked and we wanted to be in college or to get on with our lives. We rushed through college because of the workload and stress. We rushed through our first jobs because we wanted to do something more. Where are we rushing to? We think the answer is happiness but it’s, unfortunately, a lot more morbid than that. So, when you find yourself wanting to be somewhere else, and that somewhere is in the future, take a moment to soak in where you are right now.

2. We have different races to run.

Think back to what you wanted to be when you were a kid and consider what you thought that job entailed. Say you wanted to be an astronaut. You thought you got to put on a suit, go on a cool rocket, and then prance around on the moon, right? Then, you grew up and realized how much schooling, studying, concentration, brilliance, dedication, and risk it took to actually be an astronaut. You realized it was more work than it was glamour and changed your mind. It wasn’t so much giving up a dream but realizing that this one was not meant for you. It’s truly a beautiful realization that gets mislabeled as a failure or quitting. The next time you compare your journey to another’s, your job to a friend’s job that’s “cooler”, or any place you are in life that does not measure up to someone on a completely different life path than you, think about what these ideals might entail in the nitty-gritty. Then, if you find you still want it, go get it.

3. We have different paces for those races.

There is no such thing as an overnight success. Every person you know that has become successful in their field has put in a lot of time and effort to get to where they are now. And in a rare case where they truly did get lucky and became successful on a whim, do you really think they’ll appreciate it? Do you think they will handle that success well? Do you think they will strive to work hard for more, assuming they know what hard work is? Embrace your pace and try to stop comparing.

4. Growing up is not a matter of reaching a status, it is a matter of learning a valuable lesson.

Watching your friends get jobs can be frustrating when you’re unemployed. Watching friends get engaged when you’re single or have been in a dead-end relationship can be frustrating too. Maybe in these moments, growing up isn’t getting exactly what we want though. Maybe it is realizing what we are distracting ourselves from truly wanting and deciding to reach for that instead. Maybe it comes from a delay in getting what we truly want and learning valuable lessons on the journey. Maybe we just need to chill out and do what we can to better ourselves but know that life will take us where it is meant to take us.

5. Usually, the things that make you grow up faster are the most painful experiences.

Have you met someone who seems very sure of themselves? They did not get there from having an easy life.

6. Social media only tells a small part of the story.

Yeah, yeah. People only post their highlights. You know the deal. Seriously though, everyone lies on social media and only posts their highs. Why the hell would you post your lows? You’re really going to filter a picture of you crumpled up in bed after not showering for three days because you can’t see the point? No one’s judging you for that. I remember during a fitness kick of my own I was posting how happy I was now that I cared about my health, which was true. But I definitely didn’t post about the time I cried to my best friend because I ate a bagel (too many carbs) after running for 10 miles. I was getting a little crazy but no one on my Instagram feed needed to know that. Instead, I got to hear about how inspiring my posts were while I was being way too hard on myself in private. Social media is like comparing yourself to a Barbie doll. We will realize how ridiculous it really is in hindsight.

7. More freedom comes with more responsibility.

Think about how badly you wanted to be out on your own. Then you realized you didn’t have the absolute luxury of being told what to do, where to do it, and when to do it. Having that freedom comes with the unforgiving consequences of every decision. Sure, you can eat candy for dinner every night. Just be ready to buy bigger clothes. Sure, you can stay up until 3 a.m. Just be ready to hate yourself for it tomorrow. This comes with the glory that is learning how wonderful it is to actually parent yourself. You have the freedom to choose how to execute your responsibilities to yourself. It sounds boring, but it is actually very, very satisfying.

8. Don’t strive to be the smartest, richest, or greatest person in a room. Strive to be the most grateful.

You know that quote about how if you’re the smartest in the room you’re in the wrong room. Yes, intelligence is great. As is fitness, and wealth. At the end of the day though, do you really want any of these to be your claim to fame? Do you even want a claim to fame? Strive to be the most grateful person you know. Rejoice in the shower for having warm water. Feel that bloated tummy and think about how amazing it is that you have enough food to stuff yourself. Laugh about the silly things you cry over once you are done crying. Think about how hard it used to be when it’s easier and think about how much easier it will be when you look for the silver lining in everything. The fact that you’re here and even reading this is a damn miracle. Treat it like one.

For the love of God, just grow up on your own terms. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Let go or be dragged.

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