A Message to My Fellow “Late Bloomers”
If you feel like you’re a late bloomer, you’re not alone.
In this day and age of social media, it’s easy to feel like you’re falling behind while you read post after post about your friends, family, and peers making the next big step in their lives. It’s easy to judge your own success based on what everyone else around you is doing. Let’s face it, no matter how confident or successful you are, you’re going to compare yourself to others. It’s just something that us humans do, but the level of severity differs from person to person.
If you’re a “late bloomer” who is struggling and focused on what everyone else is doing, you are not alone. You are also being too hard on yourself, and I bet you’re every ounce as successful as those around you. You just don’t see it.
In order to be successful, we all have to look fear in the eye and stand up to it. But that’s easier said than done.
I’ve recently been doing a lot of soul-searching and planning the next steps in my life. Being in my mid-twenties surrounded by question marks and anxiety hasn’t made for an easy year, and as summer is morphing into fall, I can’t help but question everything I’ve done this past summer, spring, and winter. I feel like I should be further on my journey than I actually am. I want to be proud of myself for the things that I have accomplished, but I can’t help but overlook those things and just focus on what I haven’t accomplished. Does that sound familiar to you?
Our own definition of success is what drives us, but each of us has a different definition. I may think of myself as a successful writer because I write posts for Millennials 365 every other week. Or, I may think of myself as a successful writer only after my first novel is published. We all should look at our own definitions, and figure out the next steps we must take in order to be successful in our own eyes. Success is suggestive; stop worrying about what other people around you are doing.
The same can be said about timelines and milestones. It seems as though everyone around me is announcing that they just received a promotion, are making a career change, getting married, buying houses, or are expecting their first (or second, or third) child. Life is moving and happening all around me and it’s beautiful. These people I look up to are growing and taking steps in exciting directions, and I’m so happy that my friends, family, and peers are fulfilling their lives with their own definitions of success. I’m lucky because the people that surround me are strong, positive, and supportive not only of themselves, but for me as well.
And then there is also the envy that creeps up my neck and pokes me hard on the back of my head. It says “hey, when will it be your turn? When are you going to finally be successful like everyone else?” Everyone around me is making big life decisions’ and opportunity is knocking on their doors and they are answering. My door is either quiet, or I run away and hide when the doorbell goes off. And that’s my fault. The fact that everyone else is getting what they want is because they’re going for it! In order to be successful, we all have to look fear in the eye and stand up to it. But that’s easier said than done.
Life is changing; embrace it. Define what success means to you and then use that as a driving force.
Right now I’m not married, I don’t own a house, I’m not expecting a child; I’m still trying to figure everything out. I know that I have the rest of my life ahead of me to make these steps on my own time, but compared to everyone else I’m moving a little slower. I feel like a late bloomer, a feeling that I’m no stranger too. For instance, when puberty hit, I was the last of my friends to physically show it. While the girls around me sprouted hips, my figure went straight up and down like a plank of wood. Eventually, I gained a womanly figure, and learned first-hand about the horrors of puberty. There wasn’t anything wrong with me, but I couldn’t help but feel like there was. I’ve always compared myself to others and blamed myself for things that were out of my control.
Okay, let’s be real…I still do that. But I’m working on how I treat myself and measure my success, without comparing myself to others. It’s hard, but this new way of looking at my life is helping me navigate a little easier.
If you’re stuck feeling like a late bloomer or that you’re being shadowed by others’ successes, you’re not alone. In fact, there are probably people looking at your success, right now, and feeling the same way. So, stop focusing on everyone else right now, and just focus on yourself. There are no right or wrong timelines for our lives, and it’s important that we keep supporting each other, while also supporting ourselves in these confusing and terrifying times. Life is changing; embrace it. Define what success means to you and then use that as a driving force.
Regardless of the fact that I’m feeling like I’m falling behind, or that I’m not doing as well as everyone else, I’m actually doing just fine.
And guess what?
So are you.