I like to think of life and relationships as a series of train cars on diverging and intersecting tracks. Each individual has their own track that differs. Yours may be minimally or vastly different from any other human's track in the entire world. Our tracks inevitably collide, which allows us to observe, judge and compare not only the other's track but the track we are on ourselves.
Sometimes we are given the opportunity to choose which track to jump on, but often we are not. Sometimes we are just left coasting down the same train track with nothing to do but wish for some valleys and hills.
Trust me, you are where you are supposed to be.
You will be on this Earth for around 80-100 years. Some days will be easy, and some days will be heartbreaking. Now, this is all coming from a girl whose track has only run for 19 years, so you can take it for what it is worth. I feel that often it is not even the heartbreaking days that are the most difficult, but the days that are neither satisfying nor heartwrenching.
The hardest days are the ones where you wake up late, stumble into the kitchen for breakfast, take a midday nap and are in bed by 9 p.m. Even worse are the days where your friends are busy on their own tracks and you have nothing to do but sit and evaluate your own. The worst of all are the days where you find yourself questioning why you are not in a place that's different from the one you are in right now.
You'll ask yourself a million questions, but that's inevitable. You just need to trust yourself.
Is anything fair nowadays? I put in the work and I did my time. I know what the results SHOULD BE, so why am I not there? Whether it be sports, lifestyle, wealth, school or relationships there are a million avenues that get us to this breaking point.
So, where does this "should be" standard come from?
I was recently asked this question by my swim coach after a difficult end-of-season finish. My response to him was the rehearsed and practiced "I know what I am capable of." At that moment, it felt like the truth.
However, as I look back on the conversation I realize that this standard really came from the accomplishments of my teammates, past teammates, and competition that were seemingly greater than my own. The standard I felt like I had to hold myself to affected the entirety of my swim season and ultimately put me in a position where I was unhappy with where I was on my track.
It is easiest to compare tracks when yours isn't as good as you think it should be.
When life is great, it is easy to be content with where you are. It is still very likely that you will compare your track to the other tracks that cross your path. However, sometimes you will be asked to sit back and ride the coastline. Just across the horizon, you will be able to observe the tracks of people whose lives you pass through and it will be easy to loathe and lust over their seemingly more exciting navigation.
Comparison kills and thinking you aren't where you "should be" will lead to heartbreak.
Life is not fair. It is actually extremely unfair in retrospect. It doesn't make sense and there is no participation trophy at the end of this. You have nearly 26,000 days on this Earth. You can spend it wishing you were somewhere else doing something better or you can appreciate exactly where you are right now.
You can ride your own track and embrace the hills, valleys and long stretches or you can watch other's embrace their own. You can be a victim to the "should be" complex, or you can realize that you are exactly where you need to be and that is more than enough.