Do you ever feel like you are being left behind? Like your friends are ahead in life somehow?
We go through school at the same pace, more or less, as all of our friends. Each September, we move into a new year and learn new things alongside our friends. Then suddenly we finish mandatory education and people start to do their own things.
It might be that a lot of your year group goes to University, and if you are one of those, then once again you are surrounded by people who are moving through life at the same pace as you. Your friends might go to University while you go straight into the world of work, or vice versa.
Once university is over, it feels like even more of a free-for-all. Some people go straight into work or a graduate scheme, moving up inside a company year after year. Some people go back into University, studying for a Masters or a PhD. Some people go travelling. Some people start having babies and getting married.
You might look at your friends who are settling down with partners and kids and wish that you were at that stage of life already. You might look at your friends who are moving up in their industries, constantly going for promotions or awards, and wish that you were moving that quickly. You might look at your friends who are studying for Masters or doctorates and wish you could have gone that far in your studies. Or they might be looking at you with the same wishes.
Almost everyone in life looks at others and wishes that they had what their friends had. The woman with the corner office might wish she had stayed at uni and become a doctor. The man with multiple doctorates might look at his friends who have houses and kids and wish he had settled down long ago. The couple with two kids might wish they were further along in their career or able to travel the world and explore.
It might be that your friend who has advanced further in their career is actually not interested in travelling or having kids, and they focus all of their time and energy on their work. It might be that your friend who has multiple doctorates is solely interested in exploring, researching, and discovering and is not interested in advancing their career for their salary. It might be that your friend who has a house, partner, and kids isn't interested at all in going to University, they just want enough money to support their family.
If you are singularly focused in this way, that is fine. However, most people have multiple interests and purposes in life. A lot of people want to have a career, family, kids, travel, and chill out with friends and family. And there are only so many hours in a day. So it is important to go at your own speed and maybe compromise in one area in order to bolster another. Maybe forgoing the company retreat to spend time with the kids, or working a bit later one night to get brownie points for your next promotion in order to afford that holiday with the family or that bigger house and so on.
It is okay to say no to going out if you are tired. It is okay to forgo buying a house so that you can travel more (nothing wrong with renting anyway)! It is okay to go back to uni if you want to change your career.
You may feel like you are behind in comparison to others, but they may feel like they are behind you in other ways. It is all about how we prioritise our own lives and what we value in life. There is no right or wrong way to prioritise your life.
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