10 Things to Do if You’re Feeling Left Behind

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. 

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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.

Cabin fever. 

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…

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.

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.


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What to do when you feel left behind


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. 

And so, I’ve made a list. And lists, make me very happy. 

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. 

When you feel left behind

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.

Feeling left behind in life

– All images from Canva

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.

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… 

Grand Canyon

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.

If you’re having problems with this, 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.

Any comments? Let me know below…

If you're feeling left behind


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More on life, from me

5 Tips to Help Us Calm Life Down 

How to Be Kinder to Yourself

6 Most Disturbing 'Hellos' I’ve Had on Internet Dating (This Month)
My Top 12 Unbelievable Press Trip Experiences

26 Comments

  1. by Nicole on July 30, 2017  8:07 pm Reply

    Thanks for this Vicky, I feel like I needed it. It's so hard not to compare yourself to others anyway and I feel like I'm in a massive rut at the moment. Trying to figure out what I want to do and what would make me happy is taking a lot of thought. I will get there though, everything just takes time, right?

    • by Vicky on August 4, 2017  8:09 am Reply

      Yeah definitely. I think we all need to go easier on ourselves instead of putting all this pressure on to be something, and then be a certain level at something. Often, no one else is even putting that pressure on. We're our own worst enemies. And yes, it's difficult when you don't really know what you want. Difficult to know how to get there. Chill out, relax, enjoy the journey.

  2. by Denise on July 30, 2017  8:33 pm Reply

    Wow! This was a post I needed. All of a sudden I feel peace of mind. It's nice to see this side of the coin every now and again. I thank you for sharing this personal perspective ?

    • by Vicky on August 4, 2017  9:12 am Reply

      From the feedback I've had on this no matter where you're up to in life it's too tempting and easy to compare yourself with others and think you should have what they have. 'Having everything' is a mindset. I reckon we all need to get off social media and start living our lives for what they are – the wins and the losses. I'm glad it's given you peace of mind Denise :).

  3. by Steve Biggs on July 31, 2017  10:40 am Reply

    Hey Vicky - I sometimes have this. I'm 41 now, not married, no kids and even some of my childless, same-aged male friends are starting to have babies now! A lot of my Uni housemates have children about to start senior schoo!! But for every time I look at them with a pang of jealousy, they look at me the same way, being able to travel and generally do more "stuff" without the responsibility of kids. So everybody is sat around the table dreaming that they could be in somebody else's shoes so I guess it's a case of just being you :)

    • by Vicky on July 31, 2017  11:00 am Reply

      You're so right. And the feedback I've got from this post has definitely confirmed that. Last night two of my oldest friends from school got in touch, both with lovely partners and two children, and said they feel the same. Wish we could all just stop comparing and enjoy what we have. I'm totally going to make a conscious effort to do this from now on. In our situations we need to celebrate our freedom!

  4. by Chadwick on July 31, 2017  11:57 am Reply

    Sounds like the change from nomad to mortgage has kicked in!
    But here's a weird thing... over here, where the grass is greener, right?... well, over here, we're all looking at you thinking how envious we are of your lifestyle. You've got security and freedom; you're not tied into a nine-to-five, you can do whatever you like, and yet you've still got your own bed to come home to every night and you can play house.
    From over here, you're doing great.
    Easy to say, but don't worry about feeling somehow dissatisfied with your life. It's normal. I think even those homebugs who seem so cosy and perfect with their 2.1 kids, secretly they want to steal an aeroplane and fly to Las Vegas (or something). I guess we need these periods of restlessness to either force a change, or appreciate what we've got.
    Don't stop blogging though. I read a few blogs and yours is one of my favourites.

    • by Vicky on August 4, 2017  9:20 am Reply

      Ha, good intuition there Chadwick. We'll have to see what happens... Yeah, I know I totally have a dream life. I have a dream life for me still too! Guess I just want a bit of security somewhere along the way. I definitely won't stop blogging, don't worry. No matter what happens I'll always do that. And I'm honoured that I'm one of your favourites – thank you :).

  5. by Hannah on July 31, 2017  5:05 pm Reply

    I started reading this and got to the instagram post and just had to come down here to comment before I read the rest.

    I've just moved to Canada and have had a great few months travelling but looking through instagram in the evening was making me so sad/jealous/angry. Then the last couple of months I've had no data, and I'm living in a van so no wifi, and therefore I wasn't on instagram before bed and I've been SO much happier. It's crazy how much some silly app can have an effect on us like that!

    Now, off to read the rest..

    • by Vicky on August 4, 2017  9:34 am Reply

      Yeah, I'm definitely a lot happier when I don't look at social media. I think it's too destructive to your mind and plays on any weaknesses you might have. Interesting to do these little tests from time to time to see if you can handle looking at the showreels of everyone's lives like that.

  6. by Emily Luxton on July 31, 2017  5:17 pm Reply

    LOVE this post Vickster - and not just because you've mentioned me ;)

    I know exactly how you're feeling atm. Been comparing myself WAY too much with other bloggers for one (why did so-and-so get invited on that trip and not me? Would I get more followers if I was as pretty and such-and-such? That sort of thing) - and it is NOT HEALTHY. Need to stop!! Also been comparing myself with all the engaged/married/babied/mortgaged friends because I just turned 30 and everyone seems to be expecting me to be more like them but I just don't feel suited to anything like that! Just need to give up comparison altogether and embrace what I'm doing right now - because it's what's right for me :)

    Great post!

    • by Vicky on August 4, 2017  9:36 am Reply

      Definitely not healthy, and unless you're doing it in a constructive way, totally pointless too. You do you Emily Luxtonburger and don't think of anyone else. Getting to 30 can be difficult as it's one of those milestone ages you put loads of pressure on yourself for. DON'T. Live it, love it, have fun and drink rum :).

  7. by Rachel on July 31, 2017  7:57 pm Reply

    There are many times when I feel left behind.. comparing your life to others on facebook and instagram - their heavily edited pictures making you feel less interesting and boring! I have chosen to follow a career in clinical psychology and it's been tough and a long process which really is only just beginning - this means no time for marriage, buying houses and children like many other my friends are now engaging in. I've spent years studying and working towards my goal and cant help but feel its been at the detriment of other goals I wanted to achieve. Guess life is a journey and its yours - we shouldn't really compare ourselves to others! Wifi-free Wednesdays will help with this! Thanks for sharing!

    • by Vicky on August 4, 2017  9:47 am Reply

      Ah that's awesome you've found your purpose in life though. It's good to have a focus like that to work towards, but yeah, when you start looking around at friends doing other things I guess it does start to make you question why and what you're doing it for. I presume the rewards and gratification you get from following that dream will be immense in the end though. Good luck with all of that. And I guess, really, even if we manage to achieve ONE of our dreams it's amazing.

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  9. by Jenny on August 3, 2017  4:25 pm Reply

    Just yes!
    Sometimes it's so easy to forget we all feel like this, and it's lovely when other people acknowledge they do. I've been doing a version of 'wifi free Wednesday' for a while now, partly because I was conscious of how much time I was wasting - like Pavlov's Dog I'd reflexive pick up my phone during adverts, when my friend went the loo, when I could be doing anything else. And so I've turned all my notifications off and have a dedicated scrolling session :) because I was feeling exactly like you - and Hannah above was. Not sure how feasible that'll be when I go back to blogging though...

    long live the list!

    • by Vicky on August 4, 2017  9:52 am Reply

      Yeah it's bad how it's like this little security toy we have isn't it? Whenever we're alone or got a few minutes to wait for something we pick it up. I really try to stop myself but I'm 100% full on addicted. Turning it all off just really helps me to focus and to get things done. Like you say about the scrolling session, I like to give 100% to anything I do, ideally, so I'll schedule in 10 minutes to play on my phone and then turn it off for the next few hours. We must beat the addiction together!

  10. by Elizabeth @ Rosalilium on August 11, 2017  2:07 pm Reply

    Yes! I totally feel this way too at the moment.

    Like the saying goes 'Comparison is the thief of joy' ... and it's so true. It's just quite the skill to switch off and focus exactly on what you want and what your path is.

    • by Vicky on August 13, 2017  8:55 am Reply

      Yeah, it's definitely a difficult skill, especially when you need social media for your job. I find myself 'just' checking out a company's Twitter, or something, and then half an hour later I suddenly realise I've been distracted by outfit posts, or seeing what someone had for their dinner. You need to be very disciplined to not let yourself get distracted by it all. And also, let yourself have some time off. Let yourself indulge in Twitter time, and then turn it all off. That's what I like to do anyway.

  11. by Cathy (Mummytravels) on August 12, 2017  12:20 pm Reply

    Love this post - and I think the comments above are right that it doesn't matter where you are in life, it's always tempting to rate yourself against others and rarely to your own benefit. I thought I should adopt the mantra 'I must not compare myself to strangers on the internet' (or friends for that matter). Somehow it never occurs to me that people might sometimes be comparing themselves against me. And a good list - of things I am happy with or that I genuinely do want - is always good.

    • by Vicky on August 13, 2017  9:02 am Reply

      Yeah, definitely. There are always going to be people who are better at something than you, so you need to celebrate them rather than compare yourself to them. I definitely know how hard this is though. Some days I feel fine about it all, and other days I despair – but I guess that's like everyone, and thanks to social media 'comparing yourself' is just something that's been emphasised more than ever. Think anyone, at any age, needs to find a way to manage it.

  12. by Eman on November 29, 2018  8:32 pm Reply

    this is a very useful article, I am so glad I found it, It actually speaks to how I feel right now,,
    I am so thankful for it .. God bless you ❤

    • by VickyFlipFlop on December 3, 2018  10:22 am Reply

      Oh I hope everything is ok Eman. Life can be tough sometimes! Hope the tips help you to feel confident in your life choices.

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  14. by Sara on June 6, 2019  12:27 am Reply

    Thank you thank you thank you so much for writing this. Your words capture exactly how I am feeling. After an argument with my parents about where I am in life, reading this article has let me reflect and write about the causes of what is bothering me, what I am ahead in compared to my old self, and what I am excited/ not excited for. It's reflective on myself, and not anyone else. I am very future-minded, but my views on my present situation is the stem of my angst. You have reminded me to pull myself back to the present. Things will change. We are all on our own paths, and comparing ourselves to others does not help us in that journey.

    • by VickyFlipFlop on June 6, 2019  6:51 am Reply

      Oh I'm so glad I've made you feel better with this post. It's hard when you have parents' expectations on you – I'm still feeling that now and I'm 34! It sounds like you know what you need to do, and what you need to work on, it's just coming up with a plan.

      Enjoy the journey!

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