The Fear of Being Left Behind

This post is a little different from usual: in a departure from my travel content, I wrote this article a few months ago without any real intention of ever publishing it. But now, after reading it again with a fresh pair of eyes, I wonder whether it’s something that a lot of people at my stage of life can relate to. Possibly not and instead, I’ll have just made a massive tit out of myself on the internet. But what’s new there? So here it is, along with some unrelated pictures from a couple of wintery walks I’ve been on lately.

Thurstaston Beach Wirral
Thurstaston Beach House

Today, my ex got married. This isn’t a wailing lamentation of how different things could have been or a letter filled with heartbreak. I moved on years ago. I can almost feel you rolling your eyes at this but it’s true. There’s no bad feeling there, our lives have gone down two completely separate paths but in spite of this, it’s a big day.

It could feel more momentous because it’s the first person I know really well – although the word knew would be more appropriate – to make that huge commitment. To walk down the aisle and commit to sharing their entire life with another person. And as somebody who is struggling to cope with the ageing process (as ridiculous as that sounds at age twenty-six!), I suppose it marks the start of a shift in how the lives of my peers will play out.

Rather than trying to discover what we want to do with our lives, as we were a few years ago, my friends are starting to settle down, to find ‘the one’ and pledging themselves to huge life changes. One of my best friends got engaged recently and although it was really exciting, it awoke similar feelings of realisation in me. I almost want to put the years on pause – just for a little while – to enjoy the time where nobody quite has it all figured out before it seems like everybody does.

Whether it’s deciding to move country, have a baby or saving a huge chunk of money to own your own home, the changes feel pretty natural and exciting on some days. And on others, it suddenly hits me that heads will start turning towards me and wondering when I’m going to follow suit. Usually this train of thought leads me to panic mode where the only way to comfort myself is reverting to childhood and watching a Disney film. You could say probably true that I’m not quite ready for all that adult malarkey or maybe it simply stems from insecurity.

Snowy woods - being left behind
red phone box snow

The weight of expectation has a lot to answer for and it feels like it only grows heavier with each birthday I celebrate. I’ve basically been living like the ultimate woman-child since coming home from travelling – I mean, from the outside, it looks like I’m in the same situation as I was back in 2014. I don’t necessarily feel the same: I want to start making future plans, to have my own space to decorate and to shed that teenage self-consciousness as I move through the years. But I’m also not certain about what I want out of life and this is where the worry creeps in because what if I never know?

Rather than trying to figure out my whole life out over the course of a single blog post, I’m trying to ask myself a simple question. Am I unhappy with my current situation or am I simply feeling like I need to race towards this mysterious ‘finish line’ of success just to keep up with other people? To an extent, maybe it’s both. If I could afford to own my own place right now, I’d jump at the chance but we all know how tough it is to get even a toe on the UK housing ladder these days. But I’m certainly not in a rush to figure out whether I want kids or if I’d prefer to be able to jump on a plane at short notice for my entire life. The only thing I can say scares me with certainty is being left behind.

So, as you can see, it’s not really a post about my ex getting married but more the feelings that are awakened by such a monumental event in the life of somebody I was once close to. Maybe you’ve experienced this already or maybe it’s still to come but as we grow older, it’s something a lot of people deal with and I can imagine it leaves us all feeling somewhat pensive.

I’m not sure whether I’ll ever post this but if I do, I hope you understand why. The writing process has always felt incredibly cathartic to me and even as I type this, I can physically feel the strain draining out of my shoulders like trickles of rain chasing each other down a window. Getting my thoughts out there means I feel more ordered and less like the anxieties are muddled in my head and eating up my insides. I just hope that one day, everything will start to make a little more sense.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, I’d be really interested to know if anybody has ever felt this way too.

Laura x

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  • Reply
    March 4, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    I feel the exact same! However, I never expected to feel anything like this at the tender age of 20! I was engaged at 16 years old and had all my peers judge me for it and often distance themselves. A few years later, the engagement fell apart and the relationship as a whole ended. Four years later I am officially the single friend. Not only that, I have been the single friend since that first relationship fell through. My friends all have children or are expecting. My friends are meeting someone via tinder and 4 months later announcing their little bundle of joy’s due date. My friends are getting into a relationship to then purchase a mortgage with their newfound partners a mere 8 months later. It’s funny how I felt that I was leaps and bounds ahead of everyone my age and now I have well and truly fallen behind. I don’t mind because I want these things to come to me as naturally as possible rather than force them for the sake of keeping up. However, it’s making it so difficult to maintain friendships and even have to day-to-day conversations! I’m glad I have found a post covering this topic, thank you for sharing your feelings.
    Best Wishes
    Amy x

    • Reply
      March 6, 2018 at 9:17 pm

      Wow, it sounds like you’ve been through a lot already! You’re so young though Amy so don’t let yourself rush into anything for the sake of keeping up like you said, there’s so much time to spend doing those adult-like things, cling onto being free with few responsibilities for as long as possible! x

      • Reply
        March 6, 2018 at 9:50 pm

        Haha thank you for your response! I definitely am not rushing to keep up which is good, however, I don’t do anything that could be even closely described as free! I’m always at home but hopefully that changes in the near future x

        • Reply
          March 6, 2018 at 11:17 pm

          I hope so one day 🙂 even that is hard in itself but we’ll get there hey! xx

  • Reply
    March 4, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    What a great post! I could definitely relate. I feel left behind because of the bloggers I see with x amount of followers at a really young age and can take amazing pictures, or how my ex boyfriend started a company at 20 years old and I haven’t accomplished anything in the same league. It’s funny how we always have a tendency to compare ourselves with others and compete. It’s ‘natural’ I guess, but I feel that there is no competition. Well it shouldn’t exist anyway, because everyone goes at their own pace so there’s just no point comparing! I love your blog btw, it’s amazing!


    • Reply
      March 6, 2018 at 8:25 pm

      Comparison makes things so tough but you’re definitely right – everyone just has different goals and wishes so we can’t expect to all be the same! I think it’s society’s expectations above anything else that makes me feel like I ‘should’ be following a certain path xx

  • Reply
    March 6, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    Yes Laura, you know I definitely relate to this. I remember talking about everything with you and thinking we’re on the same wavelength! I am currently unemployed, looking for a job; I hardly ever see my friends, and I definitely don’t have any money to travel, let alone move out at this point and the next birthday is looming. It just feels like we’re lost in a world that was created for those with their lives sorted at the moment. This phase will pass, we’ll be back to feeling on top of the world soon and we’ll look back and be glad of feeling unsure. That’s what life is for! Xx

    • Reply
      March 6, 2018 at 8:02 pm

      We 100% are! I bloody love your positivity, send me some of those vibes xx

  • Reply
    Merle Findhammer
    March 11, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    Beautiful and striking post. I recognise a lot, if maybe on a smaller scale, since a lot of my fellow classmates in art academy are falling in love one by one me feeling kind of frustrated (why does no one like me that way?), but it’s good to remember everyone travels trough time in a different rhythm and that’s the way it’ll always be. So no worries. I hope it maybe helps you too. Thanks for this great read!

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