Ever looked at your group of friends and compared where you are to where they are? Bad idea. But we all do it. So even if you’re in denial and you have convinced yourself that you are perfectly okay with your life and where you are and you don’t feel the need to compare yourself..you’re lying. It’s a natural response. To compare. To compete. Survival of the fittest.
But we are not cavemen and we are not striving for the same things.
I’m a 23 (almost 24) year old college graduate with no idea what the fuck I’m doing with my life. Does that scare me? Yes. Should that scare me? Maybe. But should I be comparing myself to the success of those around me? No. And I’ll tell you why..
One of my best friends..let’s call her Jess..and I attended the same college. She studied biology and I studied psychology. She played lacrosse in school, I spent most of my time with my friends, a personal choice. We both graduated college and her and I now work for the same company, at the same position. Does she have her life more together than I do? Yes. But none of us have the same path, regardless of whether or not our paths cross with someone else. See, Jess and I did not have the same experiences in life and we definitely don’t have the same goals. She wants to travel the world with her boyfriend, experiencing different places and different people, living life to its fullest. She does not have a care in the world. I, on the other hand, have no fucking clue what I want to do. She is going places…in our company, in the world. I look at Jess’ life and I listen to her plans for the future and I can’t help but feel more lost. But then I stop myself..
It. is. not. a. race. There is no finish line. There is only you and the expectations that you hold for yourself. It absolutely terrifies me that I have no clue what I am doing. And that everyone around me seems to have at least some idea of what they’re doing, or at least they’re doing a real good job faking it. Two of my best friends are engaged. WE ARE 23. STOP IT.
Every journey is different. No one has the right to judge anyone else’s journey but their own. People move at different paces and the success of another should never be thought of as a failure of yourself. It is so hard to look around and see everyone around you seemingly in control of their lives. But trust me, if that’s not you, you’re not alone.
I think about my past and all the days I told myself I wouldn’t make it. I think back on the hours upon hours that I would struggle to hold myself together. And I realize that my journey has been a journey completely different than those around me. Many of my friends live by the relatively common journey of getting an education, finding a career, and getting married and starting a family. And maybe at one point in my life that was my plan too. To study hard in school and get a career that I’m in love with and come home to my happy little family. But things change. Journeys change. And sometimes we have no control.
While most of my friends in college focused on school work and extracurriculars to build their resumes, I was on a completely different track. I must admit, school was not important to me. My second semester of college I ended with a 1.4 GPA. But what I’ve realized is that my journey was spent keeping myself together, alive, and well enough to at least fake that school mattered. What was important in my journey was my pulse, not my papers. When I think about it, I regret not learning more in school. I regret not studying and not going to class and not asking questions and not opening my mind to new ideas. A part of me feels as if I’ve missed a stage that is so important in society’s idealistic journey. But some things are more important than education in your journey.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m smart. And I did graduate on time in good standing with the school despite all the shit I went through. But my journey is not about education and classes. My journey is about life and living. When I look at my friends, I understand their journey. I may not understand how they got there or why they did the things they did, but I get it. Education. Career. Family. I get it. When they look at me, I know they see someone that’s lost, someone that may not amount to much. They ask me why I didn’t try in college? Or why I didn’t do this or that? They question what my goals are (because what’s a journey without goals?). And sometimes I wonder if they question if I’m an asset to their lives.
But I don’t care. You can’t see my journey on my college transcript or in my resume or through the success of my career. But if you know anything about me, which you probably don’t, you’d know that instead of focusing my energy and my life on normal things, I focused on my pulse. If I could just keep fighting through the days.
My journey is invisible to most, but not to me. My journey is different than that of everyone around me and you’d probably never get it. But my point is that journeys don’t look the same, and sometimes you can’t see them at all, but everyone is traveling on one. Success does not look the same on anyone or to anyone and judging someone’s journey only highlights the ignorance of the true meaning. Your journey is not meant for those around you, it is meant for you. Do not get discouraged if others do not believe in your journey. Wherever you are going, you deserve the chance to grow and strive for the things that have meaning to you, not just to society.