Mae L’Heureux gives new meaning to the phrase ‘eliminate your competition.’
Weddings. Babies. Houses. Careers.
These four things are regular visitors to my Facebook feed. I can’t scroll through without coming across a glitzy diamond and a long white dress. Or a snapshot of a baby in the womb. Or a happy couple proudly standing outside of their first home. Or updates about a new job offer or promotion. The interesting thing about these posts, however, is that they aren’t coming from thirty year-olds. They’re coming from people in their lower twenties, my age.
Somewhere along the way, life became a competition. If you weren’t developed in middle school, you were made fun of. If you went stag to your senior prom, you got weird looks. If you didn’t partake in the college culture, people thought you were strange.
People have always compared my life to theirs and others’, and it completely wrecked me. I wasn’t like everyone else, so I assumed that I was flawed and unlovable. These destructive thoughts caused years of self-hate for, what I’m realizing now was, no reason at all.
I wasted a whole decade of my life hating my body and soul. Ten years I could have spent cultivating my inner fire were spending dimming it because I couldn’t keep up with my competition. Truth be told, I still can’t keep up with the competition, but I don’t care about it anymore. Everyone walks his or her own journey in this life. I’m twenty-three. Some girls I went to high school with are already married and have kids. People I went to college with are making serious advancements in their careers, and we are only one year out. Others are buying their own cars, and paying mortgages on houses I could only dream to own. Should I feel bad that I’m not?
Age is biological. Its meaning is something that society has constructed, and that’s what stresses people out. I once heard that if you don’t have your life together by age 26, then you’re screwed. Yikes. I’ve never had a serious boyfriend, but I guess I have three years to find one to marry me so I can please society. How flawed is that line of thinking? So many live their lives for the approval of others, and it’s sickening.
People look down on those who aren’t always moving forward to an end goal. But what if I never want my life to be “settled”? What if I just want to take this thing day-by-day, never knowing where the adventure will take me? What if I don’t have a five or 10-year plan? Does that make me an inadequate adult, or does it mean that I am embracing what it means to get older by finally taking this tortured soul and allowing it to bloom in the way that it sees fit?
I’m done comparing, and feeling insufficient because I don’t lead the same life as those who flash across my computer and cell phone screens. Who cares that I haven’t found “the one” yet, or set up my ideal career? We are not any better than one another because we tackle life in various ways. Life is beautiful because we are all different, and I am finally happy with accepting that.
This article originally appeared on Real Talk Magazine
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