Recently I was invited to a reunion for my school class - I went to a Steiner school so each year only had one class and we were all incredibly close knit. This is such a lovely and exciting concept but it also terrified me because I haven't seen most of these people since I left year 11 and went to sixth form. (The Steiner school I went to ended at year 11 so I had to move onto a 'mainstream' sixth form or college.)
As is very common when confronted with the prospect of seeing old friends I found myself comparing my achievements to theirs. Now my life hasn't exactly been a dream world since I left Steiner. (Warning this is about to get quite personal but I promise it is leading to a bigger picture.)
I ended up at a grammar school sixth form which flared my anxiety to a point where I was completely unable to function. It got to the point where I couldn't go to classes without having a panic attack and after only two months I had to leave because it was causing problems not only with my mental health but physically as well.
I moved on to an apprenticeship which was perfect for me, it gave me a chance to tackle my anxiety without the pressure that I had to resolve my issues in a set time and within a few months I was pretty much back on my feet. However I couldn't complete my apprenticeship due to a devastating loss in the family which threw me backwards when it came to my anxiety and obviously generally chucked my life up in the air.
So when I was first confronted with this idea of a reunion I was terrified. All my friends have been off doing brilliant courses and doing amazing things, checking off every life event box on the way so I was left feeling like I was behind and it felt a bit like I hadn't accomplished anything.
Then I thought about it more calmly.
I realised that although this has been one of the most difficult times of my life over coming that is achievement enough for me. Getting to the point where I feel like I could go back to working and not have a mental breakdown is such a huge deal to me even if it doesn't mean much to other people.
I haven't spent this time doing nothing, I've been educating myself, learning all these incredible things and am finally starting to figure out what I want to do. This is my point. When we compare ourselves to other peoples accomplishments it is easy to make our own seem insignificant when really they are just as incredible. It's ok to go at your own pace, to take the time you need to achieve your goals. It's taken me 18 years to realise that life isn't a race.
We don't need to live in fear of keeping up with everybody else in our lives, our lives will move at their own speed with setbacks thrown in occasionally, but that is ok. As long as you keep trying it doesn't matter if checking off those life event boxes takes you longer then everybody else. Your twisting, turning, epic journey through life will be completely unique to you. So don't worry yourself with what other people are doing.
Do you guys ever feel this way? Let me know your thoughts and I hope you're all having an amazing day. (: x