Underwhelmed: Why Do I Feel So Behind in Life?

I've never had a boyfriend. I've barely had a first kiss. I don't have many crazy partying stories. I've never had an internship, held a position on an executive board or even thought about being the president of a club. I've never been abroad. I don't have stories of summer romances. I don't consistently get over 100 likes on an Instagram post. I've only had one job, and that was for a summer. I don't know what I want to do after I graduate.

I've always felt like the one left behind. When my friends in high school had their first kiss, I was the one they told all about it. I was always a supportive friend, the one who everyone could rely on to be there for big moments because I didn't have many of my own. I found more interest in others' lives than my own as I attempted to fill a void where my dreams and hopes should have been. I felt like I could never achieve my goals. I lived my life for others instead of living for myself.

The truth is, I burnt out in high school. I was always a smart kid. The one whose reading level was considered extremely advanced. My reading classes were always ahead of my peers and I was always, always the one people asked for homework answers, but when the homework got harder, I wasn't adequately prepared to do it. I didn't know how to study. I didn't understand how to ask for help because I never needed to do so. Because of this, I let my anxiety consume me. I didn't know how to study, so I didn't and took the C. I didn't know how to explain to my teachers that I didn't understand the homework, so I didn't show up to class. I ended my junior year of high school with over 40 absences. And yet, I still graduated with honors. Because I was always the smart kid, and never anything more. 

Courtesy: @anthonytran on Unsplash

However, I was wrong. I only let myself be the smart kid. I never let myself be funny or kind or flirty. I confined myself to a box and told myself for years that I was only smart. And then when I got to high school and was no longer the only smart kid, I felt lost. My life had no meaning. It was when my life lost all meaning that I found myself again. Not the version of myself that I had convinced myself I was, but the one I truly was. And I'm still learning who I truly am.

I feel so behind in life and yet I'm not because life is not a race. There is no finish line that all of us must pass. Life was not created with a list that has an obvious place to start and end. In the end, there is only who we are and who we love. That's it. It doesn't matter that someone my age has two internships, three jobs and six figures in their bank account. That's their life. Life has no one meaning. You create your own.  

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