Feeling Left Behind by Peers

When was the last time you felt behind your peers? Like everyone was achieving their goals and gaining traction and you were just barely past the starting line. 

While some are gaining promotions, or having babies, getting married, moving to a new city for their dream job. You are still single, still working the same job, still living with parents or roommates, and still have no clue what you want to do next.

What you see is not what they get

In the age of social media, we are not often getting the whole picture of what is going on in everyone’s lives. Yes, 3 of you friends may have posted about getting a promotion last week. But maybe they all hate their jobs and feel stuck. Maybe they each have no clue what they really want to do with their lives.  They may be too scared to go back to school or to start the business they have been thinking about for the past three years.

The difference lies with us having the full picture in our own lives. We see and feel everything that happens to us but only get a glimpse into what other people are seeing and doing. What you see isthe highlight reel of their lives. 

Your cousin that you see once a year is not only getting married but just got a promotion, is traveling every other month, and just bought the house of their dreams.

That girl from highschool just had a baby with her long time partner, has a new car with all the bells and whistles and gets to be a stay at home parent. 

Your coworker just quit so they could work their business full time, the business is now shipping internationally and they hired 3 employees just last week to keep up with demand. 

What you are likely not seeing is that your cousin and their spouse are struggling to pay their mortgage and the house is full of repairs. All the traveling they are doing seem luxurious but all the trips are paid for by the company. All the pictures you see are after long days in conference rooms with no windows.  

The acquaintance from highschool never wanted to be a stay at home parent. They want so badly to be able to go back to school but they don’t know where they will find the time. She loves her child and her family but still feels they could be doing more. 

Your coworker may be struggling to make payroll for their three employees. They may be expanding and pursuing their dreams. But they are likely wondering everyday if they made the right decision to leave the job with a stable paycheque, benefits, and an RRSP. 

What does this mean for you?

Do you have dreams and goals you are scared to pursue? Are you worried about going backwards? 

If I go back to school I will undo everything I have already worked for. 

If I quit I will put my family in jeopardy. 

I have no clue what I want to do. 

I’m still living with my parents. I will never be able to move out. 

I have this idea for a business but I’ve worked so hard in my career I don’t want to lose that progress. 

There may often come times in life where we need to start over. You may have a choice in the matter you may not. The pandemic is a good example of people being pushed into starting over. Mass layoffs lead to people being forced to move back in with parents or others to save money. 

Starting over OR making your next move forward?

During the pandemic we saw many people thriving within new hobbies and an exponential increase in small businesses. People gave themselves the chance to try new things and explore new opportunities. 

When we were children wanting to try something new there was never a question of whether or not we could. We put all this work into learning new skills and then we move onto something else without a second thought. We change our answer to the questions we have. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” more often than we change our socks. One day we found ourselves stuck in a bubble that we are unhappy in. Not knowing how or if we are allowed to break free. 

There is always the chance to move on and try something else. You should never be ashamed to try something new. Change is scary no matter what and sometimes it means your future is uncertain. But taking calculated risks is how we grow and change. Starting over isn’t about falling behind or being left behind by your peers. It is challenging yourself to be the best version of yourself and showing yourself and your peers that you are capable of more than you thought you were. 

Final Thoughts 

For every person you feel behind there is another that is looking at your life and thinking that you are living the absolute dream. For every person you think has it all together, they  are likely also hoping that they have the guts to follow their dreams and up and start over just as you are. They wish their lives were simpler. Or they wish they had slowed down and taken more risk. 

No one’s path is linear and in fact we should attempt to have a path as far from linear as possible. 

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