I know what you’re thinking: “why would you NOT be ok about turning 26?” “26 is YOUNG, what’s the matter with you?!”
& you would be right! 26 is young.
But what I’ve had to teach myself to ‘be ok’ about, is that by 26 I expected more of myself.
Do you ever feel like that?
I’m almost certain I’m not alone. You know when you’re 16 and being made to pick the subjects you’re going to study at college? & everyone who’s anyone is asking you what you want to be – at 16, how can you know! That’s not to say everyone doesn’t know. Some people do; I just always found it a bit ludicrous to expect someone to know their life paths at such a young age.
That said, ten years on, & I still don’t know mine.
I’ve beaten myself up over it for years. I always felt this need to make people proud, and I consistently felt like I didn’t. I always felt left behind by everybody else – I’ve seen friends travelling the globe, going from strength to strength in their careers, having families…and I’m over here like… I can boil an egg? (But don’t ask me to cook rice..)
I’ve suffered from mental illness in those ten years; so it’s made me a little slower to blossom. It hit its peak this year, and I feel like I’ve definitely been at my lowest ebb. So what I guess I’m trying to teach myself, is that actually I haven’t NOT achieved anything. I’ve just not achieved those particular things that other people have. Yet. I have achieved other things. I’ve lived with this mental illness, and as much as it’s taken away from my life, I’ve not let it take me. Yes, at times it’s made me ‘less me’, yes I’ve felt defeated – there are still days like that. But I keep fighting.
One of my favourite quotes is a Japanese proverb, that goes;
‘Fall seven times, stand up eight’
I try to live by that. No matter how many times I fall down, I always try to stand back up. & I’m proud of that. That’s my achievement everytime.
Plus just because those people have those things I thought I might have by now, it doesn’t mean that their life is perfect. Nobody’s life is perfect. Even if they make out that it is, maybe there’s something they’ll not talk about, and that’s their prerogative. Mostly, you’ll only see/hear what people want you to see/hear anyway.
So, on Monday I turned 26. & I didn’t sit there and think…’I wanted more for myself by now.’ I expected more of myself by now. I blew out the candles on my Colin the Caterpillar cake (yassss), I let my boyfriend squeeze me tight and I unwrapped a huge box of Lush goodies. & I smiled. Because mental illness isn’t a life sentence, and every bad day doesn’t make a bad life. & all those things will come in time – the career, the babies, the globetrotting. Until then, I’ve vowed to stop comparing myself to other people. & you should too. We’re unique in our own ways – and if you’re not where you wanna be right now, keep going. Age IS just a number & the grass isn’t greener on the other side; it’s green where you water it.
Til next week…