If you feel left behind in life, let me let you in on a few ways to deal with it. Feeling left behind is not a nice feeling, but I’ve been there…
At the start of this month I felt left behind.
Seemed like all my non-blogger friends were / are off having babies, sometimes going in for seconds, getting promotions, planning their weddings, just generally getting round that Game of Life board faster than me. While all my travel blogger friends are working on cool campaigns, creating better content, improving their businesses and picking up accolades while I can’t even clear my inbox.
Sometimes I get like that. I don’t like it. I definitely don’t like to admit it, but it happens. I just felt like everyone else was doing better than me. Getting further ahead.
Leaving me feeling left behind in life.
I think part of it was due to weeks of being in all day, inside my flat, by myself. I’m used to being out and about. I was working hard, trying to clear a backlog of work, but on the treadmill of bloglife I wasn’t really getting very far. Waiting for replies from clients, from a guy, and from friends was driving me a bit crazy.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’d check my phone looking for an answer.
So, I decided to do something about feeling left behind. I couldn’t keep going along at the same speed I was, I needed to feel like I was catching up somehow.
Here’s how I got out of that particular little funk…
What to do when you feel left behind in life
“I feel life behind” – sound like you? Have a read of these top tips and see if you can put any in to action to help your feel better about your lot.
1. Say yes to something different
A work opportunity came my way I normally would’ve said no to. I said yes and was excited to work on the project. It brightened up my month and gave me some time to think about what I want to do in the future, and why I was feeling like this. It got me away from my desk and back out into the world.
Say yes to something you wouldn’t normally, and even if nothing else comes of it, you’ll know not to say yes in the future, but at least you gave it another go. If you need a bit of a pep talk, then check out this list of trying new things quotes to give you that push.
2. Pinpoint the problem
If you can work out exactly what you’re feeling left behind on, it’ll help you work out what you can do.
There was a number of things for me – relationships, babies, work opportunities and skills, fitness, being able to cook anything but stir fries and eggs, the mess my room was…
But the only way I even knew to compare myself on any of the above, or even knew the leagues most of the people were in, was down to bloody Instagram.
I’d go on, scroll and feel considerably worse about myself when I finished. So I gave up. I had a dabble in South Africa, just because it looked so good and since then I’ve barely looked at the images, although I do like following my friend’s stories. Think I just needed a break from comparing myself in work, appearance, life, clothes, y’know, just everything.
Emily sums my feelings up perfectly in ‘Instagram is Ruining My Life‘.
3. Embrace your feelings
If you sit around worrying and moaning about how you feel left behind in life, it’s only going to get worse, you know that right? It’s literally the worst thing you can do as you’ll only fall further behind.
But, then again, I’m all about feeling your emotions. Give yourself some time to fester and wallow in your self pity – not too much, not too little – and then move on to step 4.
4. Get productive
Choose one of the aspects you’re feeling left behind on, or the aspect if you’re lucky, and make a plan. In between writing this post and uploading it I’ve already tidied up, so that’s progress. One factor down, at least six to go.
It did actually take me a few hours, but I worked out what was going right, what was making me happy, and what I think will still be making me happy in a few years time. I did look at others but more for inspiration of what I do or don’t want to do. I have a plan for the next stage and with that a renewed excitement for work, and for other aspects in my life.
5. Turn off the internet
I like to call it ‘Wi-Fi free Wednesday’, whether it’s actually Wednesday or not. I turn off the internet on my phone and laptop for a good few hours and I get SO much more writing done, bringing me closer to my goal of feeling on target at work.
Release yourself from the notifications, just for a few hours.
Your goal might not be to write, it could be to watch a film without picking up your phone, to start a project or just hang out with someone and give them 100%. I promise you, without the internet you’ll be so much more productive, and feel so much more connected to whatever it is you’re meant to be doing rather than getting distracted. You’ll feel better.
Stupid, beautiful, brilliant internet ruining our attention spans.
6. What do you actually want?
After a few days I realised that I felt left behind on things that I didn’t even necessarily want. That’s why I think it’s a great idea to do a little analysis, perhaps even a business plan, of where you want your life to go.
I was just feeling like that for the sake of it – I didn’t even want what they had! Hadn’t even tried!
“I want to do that / be like them / go there / have that” – but do you really?
I did want a change though, and that was why I was grasping at straws with jealousy. I worked out what I was excited about in life, and what I wasn’t, and then made a plan for how I was going to adjust my life.
Maybe you need to reevaluate what you’re doing in every aspect of life and make sure it matches with the future you want for yourself now, not the future you wanted two years ago, or even five.
It’s not really surprising I feel like this – I’ve spent the last three years with huge change almost every day. I love living in Southsea and my life here, but to sound cheesy, I wasn’t doing anything new, I wasn’t growing and changing – and I like doing that.
7. Set the wheels in motion
I think I’ve just made a massive change in my life, or at least I’ve taken steps to it. I’ll reveal all if it’s confirmed but it’s very exciting and a total lifestyle change for me. We all have our own paths, with our own interests, measures of success and things we want to achieve, and that’s always changing.
Even if this doesn’t work out, I’ll try again until it does, now I know it’s what I want.
This is what it was btw: I’ve Bought a House!
8. Take other lives with a pinch of salt
I saw a sign in a bar in Knysna, in South Africa, that said:
“If the grass is greener on the other side, it’s because it’s usually fertilised with bullshit”
So. Damn. True.
This has been added to my mental list of mantras that help me in life. Anyone who bangs on about what a great life they have, or looks like they have, isn’t to be believed.
If you’re feeling left behind by friends, or family, try and work out whether whatever you’re feeling left behind about is actually valid. Probs not.
9. Embrace your life as it is now
Two things are guaranteed: you’re born and you die, and there’s a third, you change.
Whatever situation you’re in now, whether it’s positive or perhaps, slightly negative, then know that your life is going to change soon, for better or worse.
One of the many things travel has given me is a strong perspective on the life I lead in England, but it’s also shown me the importance of allowing you to feel what you feel (point 3). If you’re feeling left behind, make sure to remember all those aspects you’re ahead in – and only compare yourself to past you, not to your friends and family. Also, bring in a touch of perspective, maybe a little schadenfreude, and you’ll soon see things differently.
Life as you know it will change, so it’s important to enjoy this moment in time for whatever it is.
You could try writing out some positive affirmations, they’ve definitely helped me in life. Check out my top affirmations for travel here to see what I mean.
10. Write it out
Writing doesn’t have the same effect on everyone, I know that, but writing this on the train back from York has made me realise…
I think at the start of this month I wasn’t feeling challenged, or like I was changing. Perhaps, despite having so much work and a million things I could be doing, I was slightly bored. I love Southsea, I’m meant to be here, I have friends, my parents came to see me for a few glorious days but in work, I’m not creatively challenged and I’m too consumed with things I don’t necessarily want to be doing.
I have my plan though. Slowly but surely things are going to change around here.
I hope that helps. I think it’s totally normal to feel a little left behind sometimes no matter how far you are ahead. Feeling left behind by friends is horrible, I know the feeling well.
If you’re having problems with feeling left behind, stop comparing yourself, work through the few pointers above, and keep going with what you want to achieve in the life you have.
Analyse, adapt and try to live life as you want.
Remember, you can’t actually be left behind, as we’re not all on the same path.