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Why You Shouldn’t Play the Life Olympics

Gabby Douglas won her first gold medal at age 16. Mark Zuckerberg developed the first rough draft of Facebook at age 19. Lorde released her first chart topping single at age 16. Jane Austen wrote Pride & Prejudice at the age of 20.

On the flip side, Steve Carell didn’t get his breakout role in The Office until age 43. Shonda Rhimes produced Grey’s Anatomy at age 34. Alan Rickman didn’t start his acting career until age 46. Rachel Platten did not reach fame until age 34.

No matter what point you are at in your life, it’s easy to get caught up in a spell of jealousy when the media is regurgitating accomplishment after accomplishment of the young and the promising.

Many of us probably watched the Olympics last year, gaped at the young prodigies and felt they have amounted to more in life than we ever could. Maybe now you are admiring your friends who have found love, got married and started a family. Perhaps you are marveling at your colleagues who have already gotten a successful head start on their careers. Envy is natural, however, envy can also easily fester into jealousy. Do not let that little green monster ferment.

Also, in relation to the Olympics, many top-notch athletes could not excel in a competition other than their own. Would you expect Michael Phelps to do well in a floor routine? Could Gabby Douglas perform a butterfly stroke and win? It’s a perfect example of the Thomas Edison quote that we are all too familiar with:

Cheesy, but true. There are many differing aspects of life. Don’t let someone who’s doing well in one department bog down your aspirations to succeed in another.

It is great that Gabby Douglas won a gold medal at such a young age, but that doesn’t mean you have to compare yourself to her. It’s stellar your friend from high school has already gotten married and is expecting her second child, but you don’t need to feel obligated to settle down.

Different people on this planet will reach various milestones of their life at different times. Life isn’t a race. You are not in competition with anyone else. There is no tangible finish line you can suddenly say you have reached. If it is taking someone longer to reach success, who is anyone to judge? Why does it even matter in the first place? 

It’s okay that you may still be in college working on your degree. It’s okay if you haven’t found the love of your life yet. It’s okay if you’re still living at home figuring out what you want to do with your life.

People glorify success to the point that it becomes a competition of who can do it better. Life is not the Olympics. Not everyone in life should be at odds with one another. We’re all just trying to do our best, and that’s okay.

Do not stress. Don’t be bitter towards others who are doing well; congratulate them. At the end of the day, we’re all just people trying to put our best foot forward, and that’s the only validation you really need.

Just an aspiring sunflower who enjoys trap music from time to time. 
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