Most of the time I feel like I’m running late for my own life; while everyone else seems to be on time for theirs or maybe even ahead of schedule. Sometimes, I wish I lived in outer space. In space, time doesn’t matter like it does here on earth.
I lay in bed, unable to sleep as my mind won’t let me rest. I can almost hear my internal clock ‘ticking’ away. All of my friends seem to be in relationships, studying towards a degree or holding down a job, while I am doing none of the above right now.
On earth, all we seem to care about is time. How much we do have of it and how little we have left of it. Our phones show us it every time we look at them. Alarms scream it at us to remind us of it every morning. Our life sometimes feels like it’s dictated by times and dates on calendars.
From a young age it feels like society ingrains in us the supposed ‘timeline’ of our life. This supposed timeline that many of us unknowingly hold in our minds, it can make you feel like you’ve failed at your own life if you haven’t reached the goals society expects that you should have reached at a certain age. It can feel quite isolating, like you’re behind everyone else your age. It’s also exhausting trying to live up to other people’s ideas of what you should be doing, or what you should have already done in your life, especially since they have no idea about your life and what it’s like.
Just as they may have no idea what our life is like, we may have no idea about their lives either. Sometimes, it hard to see that others haven’t got everything worked out in life like we feel they do – especially since their social media tries to persuade us otherwise. It’s hard to see past all the accomplishments and happy moments people share online, to actually see the person whose life is far from the shiny perfection they are trying to show online. Most people’s lives aren’t a walk in the park like it may seem; they have their good times and their bad times just like you do – it’s just hard to see that sometimes. I’m sure the people that I compare myself against don’t have it all figured out and working perfectly like I think they do at my times of feeling like I’m falling behind.
So, when I start to feel that way, like everyone else has got it right and I’ve got it wrong, I have to remind myself that everybody’s story is different, we all face different challenges and obstacles in our lives. Life is never easy for anyone. This idea that society gave me for the ‘timeline’ of my life isn’t for me and that’s okay. And it’s okay if it’s not for you too – because everyone is different and our timelines will be unique. Comparing my life and the time scale of it to others will do nothing but make me feel upset and want to move to outer space. When in reality it is my life, and how ever I’m living it must be right for me, I might be slower to do some things and faster to do others but I’ll get to where I want to be.
I know it’s human nature to compare so I won’t ask you to stop comparing yourselves to others, but when you do or if you do, take them time to think about how your story and life might be different to theirs, think about everything you’ve had to overcome to get to where you are today. Just because we may not have the opportunity, or be ready to fulfil our life goals right now doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. It just means that it may happen at a different time for you than others, and that’s okay. We are all running exactly on time for our own lives.
Katy has spent many years of her life within the mental health system, she has received support and therapy from community mental health workers and in inpatient facilities. Katy’s experiences of the mental health system have encouraged her to pursue her goal of helping others that also find themselves in similar situations to herself to know that they are not alone, and that life is always worth living. With a deep passion for writing Katy wishes to put across this message within her articles.