Just thought about this because it’s what I’ve been doing with my Journaling all week. I fell behind because I was doing longer hours at work than I’m used to and it took a toll on me.
Playing catch up is not a new concept though. It’s something inherently human. Something we all do at one point in our lives until we realise you can never catch up with everyone. Some of us are lucky and we learn early, others skate through and realise it later in life when they think they cannot turn back.
We are raised in a catch up system. Mainly because of school and the way it’s set up. We spend about 19-20 years of our lives in the system on average so it’s bound to happen. When you start school, you hardly care about what’s going on around you but as you fit in and get accustomed to it, you see how competitive everything is. You’re conditioned to want to be the best in class, sports, everything! And if you cannot be the best, you want to at least be somewhere in between and not the last. Again, it’s a human thing.
As we grow older, we start forming groups of friends, colleagues and teammates which mould us even more. The desire to stay as one of the group increases, peer pressure is what they like to call it. What isn’t set in stone though, is your character and this is where the conflict comes in. Your character usually determines which path you want to take in your life. In most cases what you want to study, where you want to go, and where you eventually end up. The younger you are, the less it influences you because you don’t really see the consequences in the future. All you care about is moving with the herd.
It’s only when you have to fall back, that the important bits strike you. Playing catch up all the time is a hard thing to do. Sounds cliché but experience really is the best teacher! You have to go through something yourself to see it differently. Many times we are sure of how strong we are but if we are not tested, how do we know?
You see your agemates starting jobs when you’re still at university and it hurts a bit. They go on to get married and you’re just hitting the pavement on your job hunt, it hurts a little more. By the time they start having children, your single status that you were comfortable with starts to get unsettling. The “forever alone” and “cat lady” jokes slowly become less funny. The “where is he” questions from the family become much more annoying. You hate the fact that you’re behind everyone you know on this life journey. Sometimes you hate it, other times you’re okay with it.
Until one day you say fuck it! And you start your own timeline. You fall, get up, and fall again but it’s comforting because you’re on your own time. In competition with no one else but yourself from yesterday or the month before. Doing you everyday.
It’s satisfying and you get much more joy out of it.