I don’t know about anyone else but my twenties have felt like a constant race. A constant competition. A constant uncomfortable feeling of always being behind someone or everyone else. Of always wanting what someone else has.
I must be in a serious relationship by the time I’m 21. I must have my own flat or a mortgage by the time I’m 25. I must be engaged by 26. I must be married before I’m 30. I must already be set up for my dream career. Omg, I’m not? But she is, they are. I’m a failure.
It seems to be the decade where you’re checking items off a list and comparing that list to your friends, siblings or strangers on social media. It seems to be the time when you feel like you’re constantly playing catch up, constantly chasing after the next thing and not making time to appreciate what you already have.
And I think what we all forget sometimes is that everyone’s journey is different. Everyone finds the love of their life at different ages. Not everyone knows exactly what they want to do; for some of us, it takes a little bit of figuring it out. It takes dipping our toes into a few oceans before we want to leap right in. That doesn’t mean we are failing. It doesn’t mean everyone else is happier or more successful or more together. It just means, the universe has a different plan for us, it means our journey is going to be a little different. And that’s okay.
I think it’s time we all start being a little kinder to ourselves. Time we sat back and looked at what we have achieved so far. You’re in a happy relationship? Great! You’re living with your parents so you can afford that flat in the city? That’s sensible. You’re working a shitty job whilst you apply for your dream career? That’s incredible.
Because you know what? Working towards something, enduring work you hate or getting up every day and living the same routine which makes you miserable because you know it’s going towards something magical, that’s honorable.
Having commitment and determination and smiling in the face of everything so ready to pull you down, that’s brave. That’s worthy. That’s how the people who made it to the top got there in the end.
And I know how easy it is to forget all that, to simply look around you at your friends and feel such intense jealousy, it makes you sick. I know what it is to be happy for everyone else and wonder when it will be your time. When will everyone cheer for you or celebrate you? When will you finally get what you want? I know what it is to fight back tears when people ask you for the thousandth time if you’ve heard back about that job yet, or if you’ve moved out of your mum’s yet. I know what it is to wish for someone else’s life.
It sucks. And it’s miserable and it makes you feel stuck and trapped and ready to scream.
But people only want to talk about the view from the top; no one wants to talk about how long it took to get there. How painful it was. How exhausting. How they had to work at it every day, even on the days when they felt like giving up. It’s okay to feel lost. To be unsure. To still be figuring things out. It’s okay to feel frustrated at life’s infinite hoops, impossibilities, and trials. It’s okay to wish everything happened as easy as social media makes it look. But maybe that feeling when you do finally make it, wouldn’t be so magical.
So on the days when you feel as if you are failing, that your time is running out, that you will not be successful by the time you’re thirty, remember life is not a race. Age does not determine how wonderful or worthy something is. And most of all, remember that the people who fight for what they want, get there eventually.
Maybe not today, tomorrow or even next month. Maybe not exactly when they want or how they want, but they will.
You have greatness inside of you. You are loved. You will get exactly what you want, just be patient. Love yourself. Believe in yourself.
No one got to where they wanted by giving up.