Hello mental health champions, how are you doing?
Today I just want to speak from my heart. This has been weighing so heavily on my mind and I know that there are a lot of other people that feel the same way. Something I don’t think school or the movies prepared us for: what it is like in your 20s. And if you’re no longer in your 20s, don’t stop reading now. I think what I am going to talk about can help people of all ages. For some reason though, in my twenties is the first time I have felt this way.
So...let’s talk about competition and stages of life. I never knew that once you got into your twenties, everything seems so competitive. Now let me preface this with YES, I have always been an extremely competitive person to the point where it was a total detriment to me and friendships were nearly ruined over it. So when I talk about this, I myself, have also been guilty. However, after years of therapy, I finally feel that I have gotten over all of that. I didn’t know that when I was trying to compete with people, I was really just trying to make myself feel better because I had felt so inferior. I also faced the question “What are we even competing for?” Most of the time I didn’t even know. Now that I have grown out of acting like that, it drives me nuts when others are still stuck in that space. And for some reason, it really seems like I am seeing this from so many people in their 20s.
I feel like people are always trying to top each other and it is so frustrating. Everyone wants to have the hardest major so that they can complain about it and try to make you feel worse that your major isn’t as “hard” as theirs. I notice it with jobs where people try to top each other by thinking they’re superior if they work full time versus part time. People are like this with relationships and comparing how long they’ve been together or who has the better relationship. People compete for the best car, apartment, house, job, degree, etc. And it is starting to drive me absolutely nuts.
I know that through my own experience, I only was competitive because I felt so badly about myself. So then when I see this first hand, it makes me think that maybe in this age group we are all so insecure. When you think about it, this is the first time we really are experiencing independence and growth into the adult world. It would make sense for all of us to feel inferior and scared and like we’re not doing enough. This can leave us feeling like we need to overcompensate by trying to put others down around us because we think what we’re doing is superior. And quite honestly, I am so sick of it. There are so many times where I want to tell people that we don’t have to compete. We have different lives and passions and therefore there should be absolutely no competition.
I also think that many people can make you feel bad by trying to devalue what you’re doing. Then we have an even bigger problem if this is working and making people doubt themselves. I think a big reason we always feel so inferior is because of social media. Everyone acts like they’re achieving all of their goals right at 20 and it can be extremely hard not to compare yourself. But today, I really just want to be your reassurance that if you’ve been made to feel like you’re not enough and not worthy, we can change that.
There is one video I absolutely love and will try to embed in this post if I am able to locate it. It is all about timelines. Once again, social media and movies can make you feel like things need to all be done by certain times. If you’re 30 and not married with at least one kid on your hip, you’ve failed. If you’re 23 still working towards your Bachelor’s Degree, you’re dumb because you didn’t do it quick enough. If you don’t have a full time job in your field the minute you’re out of school, you’re a disappointment. If you haven’t purchased your own car and apartment by 24, you aren’t successful. I am so DAMN SICK of people thinking like this. And most of the time, it is the voice in your own mind making you feel this way. However, family and friends can contribute to this too, and that’s not okay. Because the truth is, none of those things I said are true. The video I watched was all about different “greats” of our time and their timelines. And let me just tell ya, most of their timelines were not the “typical, expected” timelines. Let me give you a few examples.
-J.K. Rowling was 32 when she published her first book.
-At 25, Mark Cuban was still a bartender.
-Morgan Freeman got his big break at 52.
-Steve Carell got his big break when he was 40.
-Vera Wang designed her first wedding dress at 40.
-Samuel Jackson had his break out role when he was 40.
-Betty White made a name for herself when she was 51.
-Stan Lee didn’t have his first comic book hit until he was 39.
-Harrison Ford was in Star Wars and had his break at 35.
-Colonel Sanders founded KFC when he was 62.
-Liam Neeson got his big break when he was 40, 15 years after his first acting role.
-Susan Boyle had her opera singing break at 47.
-Ken Jeong was a physician and didn’t like it. He pursued comedy and found his real passion at 38.
- Viola Davis got her big break at 43.
-James Gandolfini’s big break was at age 38.
-Jane Lynch was 49 at her big break.
-Our Scandal queen Kerry Washington didn’t get her big break until 35.
Now hopefully that convinces you a little that there aren’t timelines on success. However, all of these stories are celebrities, this doesn’t count the average person who finds their passion later in life. It happens ALL THE TIME. I think we forget that some of the most successful and intelligent people of our time were different. Many of them didn’t fit in during school. Or they didn’t go to college. Or they developed a business that no one supported. So allow me to be your voice of reason and support today.
I was once told that if you are always looking left and right, you will never see ahead. I thought this quote was incredibly powerful. If you are always concerned with what the person next to you is doing, how can you ever advance yourself and your own dreams? That quote became such a good reminder for me when I was starting to compare and feel less than. Everyone has their own path and successes and failures. The truth is everyone fails at something. It can be hard though when all you see is the success story on social media and none of those failures. But you have to remind yourself that we all have them! I think that it is important to value your own success and accomplishments. Sometimes we focus so heavily on the love and support from others. But the only person you really need supporting and loving your goals and achievements is you.
So I hope today my post did a couple things for you. I hope that this made you realize there is no need to compare yourself to the person next to you because we all have different timelines. I hope this made you realize that no, it never is too late to give up on your dreams. I hope this post makes you realize that you can be supportive of a friend and proud of them without making yourself feel worse. I highly recommend watching the video below because it is so powerful.
Timelines video: https://youtu.be/CoQ_3m_i4cw
Talk to you soon brain battlers, Gracie <3
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