26 Sep To the One who feels left behind
I remember quite clearly what it means to be in your shoes.
Constantly checking social media, scrolling through different feeds and convincing yourself that you are nowhere near where your family and friends are in life. Many are in long-term relationships, graduating post-secondary with high credentials, and/or are starting new full-time positions.
I’m not gonna lie to you, because this feeling of being left behind is the worst. I felt that I was still in the starting line while others seemed to be finishing the race already. It was awful. It was like I missed a giant memo that we were all meant to be successful in our lives. I was nowhere near where I thought I was supposed to be.
I am sorry that you are feeling this way. But I promise you this, it won’t last forever.
Trust me when I say that this feeling of anxiety and fear of not being where “you’re supposed to be” will gradually disappear when you realize that there is no set timeline for your life. Not everyone will undergo a four-year bachelor degree, obtain a full-time position, then get married. This isn’t high school anymore.
You don’t need to be on the same page as everyone else.
That’s something that I’ve learned in my early twenties. I graduated college in the early age of 20. I received a job offer in my field at 19, the summer before I graduated, and I thought that my life was set. I was working in the field that I studied for the last three years.
Friends were curious and wanted to know what it was like to be in the workforce at 20. They thought that I had it all figured out. They wanted to know my secret.
But, honestly, I wasn’t happy.
Then, life took a different turn. I am no longer in school or in the workforce. I was left with this brand new path ahead of me, and I felt lost. It was scary. What was I supposed to do?
I have analyzed every outcome and decisions that I could make, but it left me in a paralysis. There was simply no right or wrong path to take, but I was utterly convinced that it was terrifying to move forward in a path I couldn’t see quite clearly. In time, I lost faith in myself and in my abilities.
Many months passed and I saw a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. I sought out for help and advice from those that I trusted. Many of whom were priests, religious sisters, and friends who were older and had more experience than me. They bestowed upon me words of wisdom that changed my perspective forever, that I am hoping will help you too.
When paralyzed and anxious in the thought of making a life-altering decision (ie. my vocation in life), my parish priest advised me that I don’t need to make a decision this year or the next. I didn’t need to force myself to make a decision in life right away, but rather take small steps that will help me get to my goal.
A religious sister told me that this “fog” that I am experiencing isn’t a bad thing. I may not see what lies ahead of me, but that is where my trust and faith in the Lord comes in. I must trust in Him and take action in moving forward because He has plans greater than I could ever imagine for my life.
On a long car ride home, an older friend of mine reminded me that I am still in my early twenties. It is perfectly normal and understandable for my age to want to know everything right now. However, it would be wise to understand that I am in my current stage of life for a reason – it is where I am meant to be right now.
My friend, you are in your stage of life for a reason, too. You may not know what it is yet, but it is intentional. This is your time to take chances, to learn, and to experience new things!
It is your season of growth.
This is the prime time for you to learn more about yourself and what you’re capable of. Try new things. Travel and see the world. Take things one step at a time.
You’re not left behind. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.