not where i want to be
The last two months have been emotionally challenging. The sudden realization that I am twenty-six years old and yet to have a college degree. I don’t live in my own apartment and I don’t have a job out “in the real world”. I’m one of the oldest students living in my residence and it suddenly hit me like a two-ton train: I’m not where I expected to be at this stage in my life and I suddenly felt like a failure. But why? I logically know why it has taken my eight years of tears and perseverance to get where I am today, but that doesn’t explain the feeling of failure.
The answer to that is simple: I was comparing myself to everyone around me, the very people who have not walked a half a mile in my shoes or had to overcome the obstacles I had to.
They didn’t face similar struggles, so of course, they were understandably ahead of me, in whatever way you interpret that. My insecurities, my self-doubt, it all stemmed from my comparing myself to others around me and this got me thinking: why do we as individuals and a society feel the need to compare ourselves to others? How does that benefit us? What do we gain from doing it? For as long as I can remember, I’ve compared myself to my friends and classmates.
Why couldn’t I walk more like them?
Why wasn’t I as pretty as her?
I wish that I was as strong as him.
I would give anything to be as healthy as them.
own your journey
More recently, the stream of thoughts was that I wasn’t where I should be because I’m twenty-six, without her own apartment and applying for jobs. As a result of my journey, I cannot yet pursue my graduate degree… merely typing that sentence almost brought tears to my eyes. After a month of endless tears, far too many calls to my support system where I couldn’t speak through my heartbreak, breathe beyond the pain, I realized something that set me free. I am not other people, I am on my own journey and instead of resenting that, I have to find the lessons in it and grow. I’m going to share the secret that slowly allowed me to come up for air and take a breath: someone will always be “better”.
Someone will always be smarter than you. To your perception, or someone else’s, someone will always be more attractive. They will have more opportunities and they may be in the position to take the chances that for right now, you may not be able to.
I had to accept these very realities and when I did, I freed myself and became empowered. I may not be the most beautiful person in the room. I may be too old to live in a residence where most of my peers are twenty-years-old. I’m never going to win a running race and okay, I’m different. But I am me and I’m the best version that I can be and no one can take that from me. I spent so long comparing myself to others, that I lost too much time realizing the beauty, strength, and importance of myself.
I no longer wish that I was similar to everyone else or on their same paths and in doing so, I released the chains that threatened to pull me under.
Be you, be happy and be free.Published in