Small life; Big dreams
Recently, I've been feeling like I'm behind.
And by that, I mean....everyone around me seems to be buying houses (or apartments), getting married, settling down and having kids. People seem to be buying more than I am. New cars, new TVs and consoles and computers, hundreds of dollars worth of clothes, cute dogs/cats, elaborate trips around the world....well, you get my drift.
And here's little 'ol us. I'm working on diligently paying off my student loans, living in a small 1 bedroom in a fairly boring neighbourhood, I rarely ever buy new clothes (or much of anything, if I'm being honest). We drive a vehicle that's got nearly 300,000 kilometres on it. I haven't gone on a trip in nearly 2 years. Our idea of eating out is usually a $10 bowl of Pho from the vegetarian restaurant down the street. C is still working on finishing up school.
It's easy to feel sorry for myself when I start comparing myself to other people.
But, as cliche and stupid as it sounds, I'm not unhappy. In fact, I'm more happy than I've been in a long time. I've been tracking my moods with an app (Shoutout to Daylio!) and....95% of the time, I've had a good day and go to bed looking forward to the next day. My "status" in life hasn't really correlated to a worse life.
So, that got me thinking - why? Why am I happy when I'm "behind" on adulting like most of my FB/Instagram friends?
It came down to a few things, so I'll just list them out.
1. I have a fantastic relationship with C that brings a lot of joy into my life.
2. I've been volunteering and getting more into activism. This has made me feel like my life has a purpose.
3. We've been working towards being debt-free by the end of the year and that feels good. We'll have a fresh-slate going into our 30's and that financial freedom is very important to me....more important than "things."
4. It feels like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. C is nearly finished school and we'll be debt-free by the end of the year. This puts us in a position to move if we'd like to, I can start a small business, more vacations and travel. A lot more doors will be open by next year.
5. Feeling more confident in my job and having made it through the hard part of the year makes me feel more optimistic going forward.
6. I've also realized that the life I thought I wanted....probably isn't the life I want. The narrative that we were told we needed to have to be "happy" just doesn't appeal to me as I much as I thought it would. I don't really want a big elaborate wedding (don't even really care about the dress, tbh), I don't think I want to have children, I don't really want to stay working in a 9-5 job. So that pressure to have everything figured out isn't as pressing as it used to be. I have more time than I thought I initially did.
7. Treating my ADHD has improved my quality of life in leaps and bounds. What a shocker, huh?
8. I know that C and I are working together to get through the hard parts right now. I'm not naive enough to think that this is the -hardest- time in our lives, but I know that this shit isn't easy. We've been both broke as fuck, in jobs we loathed, and struggling. And we both made it through that together and it brought us closer. When you're on the bottom and work together to make it to the top....that's true partnership, is it not?
So, for all of you folks who feel like you're behind - I feel you. I know how hard it is to feel like your timeline is skewed and you're not as successful/pretty/rich/married/pregnant/athletic/etc as everyone else. But remember that those things won't make you magically happy. What will make you happy will be being true to yourself right now. It's about following your own timeline and...making your own timeline when things don't seem to be lining up. If you're depressed because you wanted a family and feel like it's not happening, start babysitting your friend's children. Go back to school for early-childhood education or start nannying. It may not be exactly what you want - but it's a step closer than nothing at all. If I've learned anything at all, it's that you are capable of finding happiness and contentment in far more places than you think. You just have to think outside the box and be prepared to be more flexible.
Hell, timelines are for chumps anyways.