Today, I was able to finally meet up with two of my closest friends from work (and life, in general) and got the chance to catch up on what’s going on. I am nothing but happy for them — it seems to me like they were able to keep it together, with jobs and goals intact — but at some point, I just can’t help myself from thinking about how lost I feel, and how much of a mess I have become, compared to them. I’m not pitying myself, but there are just times when I would feel like I am not at par with everyone else, and that I’m a such a loser for not being able to progress as quickly as the others. And I know that I’m not alone in this situation.
I guess the problem here is this: we put so much pressure on ourselves to accomplish x things at this age, or to get to this status by the time that we turn x years old, that we forget the fact that to be able to actually get wherever we think we should be, we have to do so much, we have to understand and learn so many things, and that this process really takes so much time than what we’ve projected in our heads. We have become the type of people who feels like there is no time for us to ‘figure things out’ because we think that the time that we’re spending to feel “lost” is time wasted. Sure, every minute is precious, but it doesn’t mean that there is no time for us to experiment or make mistakes. Just because you haven’t understood where you wanted to be, or just because you did something wrong, doesn’t mean that you will be perpetually unhappy. It might actually just mean that there is still so much more opportunities for us to grow and learn, and that along the way, we will eventually understand things, bit by bit. Yes, we only live once, but we also have to understand that to live doesn’t only mean to have fun and be happy; to live is to create mistakes, to learn from our failures, and to grow through all adversities that life throws at us.
I guess social media is also another factor why we can’t seem to honor our pace. We go online and see all these young people, traveling around the world, being successful, and just having the time of their lives. We look at them and then we compare ourselves; we look at them and we think of how small we are and how little we’ve accomplished. But really, their perfectly curated accounts doesn’t reflect their life 100%. It may seem like it, but that’s not how it goes. There’s no point for us to look at them and feel bad that we’re not on the same level as they are. Who knows, maybe they are privileged enough to afford that trip to Paris at 24, or maybe they are just exceptionally talented that they were able to live off on their passion at 20, but that doesn’t mean that we are a failure. Maybe it just takes us more time than they do before we unravel that thing that makes our heart beat twice as fast, or maybe we’re just late bloomers and our talent will come out a couple of years from now, and we can’t do anything about that. We just have to accept that we haven’t figured out ourselves just yet. We have to honor our pace.
I’m not telling you that you should just wait for things to happen. No, that’s not my point. My point is, you should exert effort and work very hard for your dreams, but if you were unable to attain certain things on your projected timeline, or if you made mistakes along the way, then that’s okay. It’s okay for us to slow down for a while and try to make sense out of the hurdles. It’s okay to be 23 and lost and experimental. It’s okay for us to be 25 and single. It’s okay if you’re 30 and it’s your first time to go abroad. It’s okay because that is your pace.
So what if it took you three years to save up for that trip to Hong Kong? Some people would just take 6 months (or even less!) to save up for that, and you know what? That. Is. Okay. Just because they work quickly and you don’t doesn’t mean that you are losing. Besides, life is not a race! Maybe it took you that long because you’re feeding your family and you have bills to pay, and that, my friend, is as admirable as being able to getting rakets left and right to attain a P50,000 savings in 3 months.
Our problem is that we can’t seem to accept the fact that there are just people who gets to climb up the ladder twice as fast compared to us. We were programmed to think that “if they were able to do that, then I can too”, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But in case you fail and you realize that you’re not as quick as they are doesn’t mean that you are a failure. It may just mean that your pace is a little slower than that person.
I guess at the end of the day, we all have our own pace when it comes to attaining goals, unleashing our potentials, and reaching our dreams. There is no need to compare to others and feel sorry just because you’re being left out. I know that this is so much easier said than done, but with the right mindset, then we can refocus ourselves and take credit of the things that we’ve done, rather than dwelling so much on the things that we did wrong.
My point here is this: let’s not be too hard on ourselves. I have been too hard on myself for the longest time, and it didn’t do me any good. It just made me feel more depressed and just perpetually anxious, because I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything compared to others. I don’t have a stellar resume, a huge savings on my bank account, a job to brag about, or even an assurance of getting a paycheck every month, and not honoring my pace just made things much worse for me. I think my visit to my friends and that catch up session was, in a way, an eye opener. These people that I love are doing great, and I’m not, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that I’m stuck in this rut forever, even if it feels that way. I guess this is just my way to remind myself that I will eventually do well, and I hope that that message would also come across to you, whoever you are. We will eventually do well, trust me.
To honoring our pace and accepting that life is no rainbows and butterflies.