Navigating through my mid-late twenties has presented itself with some very interesting challenges. However, one of the most satisfying things about this phase in my life is watching my friends and peers create their unique life paths. I have some friends who have been to graduate school and back. A few of my sorority sisters are married and have families. Several of my peers have relocated to various parts of the country and built or bought homes. Being a witness to all of these major life events has been blissful. However, I have not hit many of these milestones and sometimes it leaves me questioning if I am behind in life. Although I want to save some of these accomplishments for my thirties, I find myself doing frequent life audits trying to figure out if I am doing enough.
When you see everyone living their best lives, it is so hard to not ask yourself if you are farther behind in life than your peers. You start questioning if you should be more established or doing more. Thoughts on whether you should have more money in your bank account or if you should be traveling more consume you. You put yourself down because you haven’t found “the one” yet and everyone is pressuring you into talking about when you are having children. All of this contemplation can negatively affect your self-esteem and your mental health.
Here are six ways to can push through when feeling overwhelmed with the thoughts of feeling behind in life:
Acknowledge How You Feel
The best way to navigate how you feel is to confront it, even if the feeling is not positive. Acknowledging your emotions gives you the opportunity to dig deep into why you feel that way. Write your feelings down on paper to get them out of your head or talk it over with someone that you trust. Take time to understand why you are feeling behind and what is triggering it using “I feel” statements.
Take a Social Media Break
Comparing lives is such a self-sabotaging activity but it is almost inevitable in any capacity when scrolling through social media. You can easily find yourself going down the rabbit hole of comparing aspects of your life to people you haven’t even met before just by a simple click onto their profile page. You have to keep in mind, people are only going to showcase the best versions of themselves on the internet.
If you find yourself questioning where you are in life when you log into your social media accounts, it may be time to take a break. Limit the amount of time you spend on social media each day. Try not to look at them when you first wake up for the day. You even can go as far as downloading an app that can limit your activity or you can temporarily delete the apps off of your phone altogether. Digital detoxing can be beneficial to resetting your energy.
Start a Gratitude Journal
Gratitude journals have so many benefits. They can help you focus on what really matters in your life and give you a new insight on what it is that you appreciate. Start your journal by writing down five things you are grateful for each day. You could also find guided gratitude journals that provide you with daily or weekly writing prompts. Once you make this a part of your routine, you can reframe your focus on all the positives in your life. Gratitude journals really map out all the things you are grateful for. Use the journal when you are feeling down or read some old journal entries when you need a pick-me-up. When you are too busy counting your blessings, you will not have time to think about what is lack in your life.
Rewrite Your Vision
Reevaluate your goals and vision. As long as you are breathing, it is never too late to reach some of the goals you have yet to accomplish in the time frame that you allotted for yourself. There could be several reasons why things didn’t happen when you thought they would. It could be that God is protecting you from something that could have happened in that time frame. Maybe He has something even greater in store for you this time around. You are not a failure because things didn’t pan out how you planned. Revise your life plan and your SMART goals to reflect your current reality.
Achieving your goals requires action. Goals do not get accomplished on their own. Being proactive with your plan will keep you focused on your vision and will leave you with little to no time to think about feeling left behind. Once you start knocking those goals out, you will gain that motivation you may have lost after feeling behind in life.
Having fun is one of the best ways to distract your mind from anything negative you may have been thinking about. Find a new hobby or revive some of your old hobbies that you do not participate in anymore. Travel to a new city or country. Start a new exercise routine. Start reading those books you have on your wish-list. Work on that creative project you have been wanting to put out. Fun not only distracts you and takes you away from thoughts of regret and sadness, but it makes you feel good and can uplift you as well. They say, if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans! There are so many reasons why things may not have turned out the way we intended them to, and that could honestly be for the better. Take this time to reflect on are preparation to receive these things. If you want to buy a house, assess your financial health. Work on yourself and get ready to be found, while waiting on your forever partner to find you. Most importantly, do not beat yourself up because you haven’t reached certain milestones in life. Just because it hasn’t happened yet, does not mean that it never will. What is meant for you is already yours!