Society has this way of making us feel as though we should be at a certain place at a certain time. This fictitious timeline of life is not only terrifying but detrimental to our self-worth, and we’re all victim to this at some point. It makes you question your own path, your own accomplishments, and your own dreams; eventually, you’ll begin to question where you fall on this timeline in relation to those around you. There is always somebody who seemingly has a better life, who is further ahead, snatching those opportunities that feel out of your reach. Who has the education, the money, the relationship, that seemingly has it all put together. But comparison is the thief of joy. We’re all guilty of it, but it robs us of celebrating our own achievements for what they are.
Bigger house, bigger promotion, bigger bank balance. The goalposts are constantly shifting, moving further from our reach as we struggle to obtain this nonexistent utopia of success. Those around you seem to be moving on, advancing, pursuing their objectives, and it’s easy to feel static, as though you can’t keep up. When did life become this race that we were thrusted into without consent, our mind forcing us to participate? We question whether we’ve done enough. Our wins in life suddenly are not good enough, and the more we seek more to satisfy that feel-good reaction, the more we lose sight of what’s important.
Society is particular about the categories that constitute a win. Engagements, wealth, promotions, obtaining the big house, pregnancy announcements, they all fit. Anything other than the social norm does not. We rarely celebrate independence, travel, skills, or hobbies. It’s no wonder it’s so easy to feel like you’re not doing well enough. Life is meant to be full of joy, but where is the joy in constantly comparing your own life to your assumption of those around you? Your time will come when it’s meant to come.
It’s time to focus on what you do have, what you have achieved, and the successes that are yet to come, because these leave us with something exciting to look forward to. We are singular entities on our own paths that simply cannot be compared. No two stories are the same, nor should they be. Forget their milestones, it’s yours that are important. You can’t walk someone else’s journey, nor should you want to, because yours will be just as good. It’s not only important to be in the moment, but use that moment to look around at what we do have with gratitude.
Celebrate each other’s wins no matter how big or small. Life is relative, and we have to learn to trust the timing and trust the process. Take this timeline for what it is—an illusion.