In this day and age, I’ve come to realize that no matter how successful, how happy, how blessed a person is.. there is always an excuse to doubt, be unhappy and feel like a failure.
“I feel like such a loser,” she said, slouching lower in the chair. “Everyone else is doing amazing things with their lives. I want to be happy for them, really, I do. But it just makes me crazy when I realize how far behind I am.”
– Forbes.com article
Being that I am now in my thirties, I find myself constantly comparing myself to others. See, I tend to be harder on myself than others.. so much to the point that while others are proud of my accomplishments, I feel that I have yet accomplished anything. I get drawn into social media posts by acquaintances and friends, and in that moment I forget that there are three types of people: (1) the ones who only post the happy, successful posts, (2) the ones who actually post about their struggles and (3) the ones who post nothing personal or nothing at all.
I know you know exactly what I mean when I refer to those three types.
But what I forget to remember is that we all take our own paths.. and it’s what we do along that path that matters.
Let’s take a look back..
In my early twenties, I had set out goals. At that moment they were reasonable, within reach, and plentiful enough that if I didn’t reach them in those 5 years, I wouldn’t be too depressed. I have copied and pasted that list below:
Next 5 Yrs, by 2014:
[X] Early Childhood Education Asst Teacher Permit — 06/2011
[X] AA Degrees in Lib Arts, Psych, Socio, Child Dev — 05/2012
[X] LVN-RN — 05/27/16
[X] Car — 2009 Rav4 — 02/13/11
[_] My Own Jet Ski
[X] LVN School Loans Paid
[_] Home/Care Home
As you can see, I accomplished 4 of those before the deadline I had set for myself. Before 2011, I truly believe that I had reached a state of Self-Actualization (Abraham Maslow, psychologist). I cannot fully put this state into words other than.. I was genuinely happy with where I was at in life. I felt I was in the right place, right time and accomplished more than I had imagined. Everything was right in the world, and anything that were to happen next would be a-okay. It was truly a blessed and amazing feeling.. and I truly hope that everyone at some point in their lives can reach the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. But then my glass floor shattered and I went tumbling down quickly…
Major life changes had happened. My foundation was struck, shaken and shattered. Now, the major downfall to reaching your state of self-actualization is: the moment that you fall. You fall down hard and fast.. it’s a whirlwind, you can’t keep up and you feel like you’re drowning.. or like you’ve gotten the wind knocked out of you. See, cancer had hit my immediate family.. although I was an LVN, I could only do so much.. and financially we were struggling. I fought the struggle of working three jobs and going to school, and it was truly only difficult because it meant I spent less time with my family, including the loved one whom I later lost.
THIS.. This was when my life shifted and I felt like I had hit rock bottom. Every three steps forward led to two steps back. I teetered on that border of getting my Physiological Needs met and feeling Safe and Secure. This was when I forgot all my prior accomplishments and began to admire the “lives” that people were living, or so social media had portrayed.
And this brings us to more recent times. As I helped coordinate our ten year high school reunion, I got in touch with those I lost touch with and admired things in their lives. Some had their Bachelor’s, or even Master’s degrees. Some owned their own successful businesses. Some had a house, even two. Some were married and/or had children. And there I was.. I had my Associate’s degree but was still so far from my actual goal. I dropped out of my LVN-RN bridge program because I was so unstable and couldn’t focus, and was on my second attempt at the program. I had moved back home to help my family out. I was driving a Rav-4 that needed new tires, possibly new brakes and had just gotten a free oil change…
See, when you set higher goals for yourself than anyone else does for you.. it’s easy to feel like a failure. But I am slowly picking myself back up and getting back on track, though I do see a tough road ahead. I have reset my goals for the next 5 years:
Next 5 Yrs, by 2022:
[x] RN License — 5/4/17
[_] Babies and Furbabies
[_] New Car
[_] Own Jetski
[_] Two More BIG Trips, minimum
I have tried to start reminding myself of the experiences I’ve been blessed with. Not to showoff, but as examples: I kept my promise to myself (and my mom) of traveling to Europe.. and I did it solo. I was able to save up enough for half a decent downpayment, though I used it to survive through my first semester of LVN-RN school so I wouldn’t have to work the first semester. I managed to still hold some-what functional family gatherings, and keep my immediate family afloat. I, through my struggles, managed to accomplish a major goal of obtaining my RN license [read about that here.] In the end, although I hit my own personal rock bottoms, I try to remind myself that there is only one way from there and that is up. I believe that we are only given what we can handle, and damn.. I must be able to handle a lot.
And to you, reading this:
No matter what you are going through, know that it is only temporary. You’ll look back and be like, damn.. I made it through all that and look at me now.
‘Til next post,