Many of my patients come in because they feel that they have not accomplished what they feel they should have accomplished for their age. I frequently hear “I should have …. by now” or “Everyone else I know is …. but I am not even close”. These thoughts generally lead to anxiety and a feeling of being “lost” in life.
We grow up with a timeline in our heads that tells us when we are supposed to be working, or buy a house, or get married and have kids. As time goes by we realize that there were so many other choices in life and that even if we plan for something to happen a certain way, it usually happens in its own time. Even so, there tends to be social pressure and self pressure to reach goals in a certain way or timeframe.
Today, social media adds to the pressure. Not only do we hear what they should be doing from the people around us, but everyone else’s accomplishments are clearly visible. It is easy to fall into a bad habit of comparing our lives to others. This adds to the idea that we are not doing enough, that everyone else has found their path and that we are far behind.
The truth is, there is no timeline. Each person needs to ask themselves what makes them happy and follow that path, wherever it may go. Goals are important but each person establishes their own goals and the timeframe in which they would like to reach them. Many unexpected events happen in life and planning for the future can only help us focus on our purpose but cannot guarantee a result. There is no late. There is no being behind. There is no should have. There is only the beauty of each individual path.