AdviceHey, Bonita!

I’m Insecure About My Life Path

I’m in my early 30s, and admittedly was pretty lazy and did a lot of screwing around in my 20s. A lot of people around me feel levels ahead in life, and I’m just starting to get things together. When I make some progress or achieve what I’d consider a life milestone, instead of celebrating with me, everyone just kind of treats it as if it’s about time. It’s really hard to be proud of myself for something positive, and their reactions have me doubting myself, regretting my decisions and feeling like I can’t catch up. How do I get on track and feel good about myself? 

Late Bloomer

Hey there LB,

Before we go further, I want to enthusiastically encourage you to dump those friends who don’t want to celebrate your milestones. I’m not saying that you need sycophants in your life, but I think you’d greatly benefit from friendships with people who want to see you succeed in a way that makes sense for you. Your friends should be meeting you where you’re at instead of judging you against their own standards. Find people whose standards align with your own, and be friends with them instead of those other assholes.

I once had a college classmate who would find me on social media every few years and rub her “achievements” in my face, but it turned out that the “magazine” at which she was “editor-in-chief” was just a poorly designed website that she both started and abandoned in the same year. After college, she moved back to the Midwest and lived with her affluent parents (I think she still does, and I don’t care enough to go check), and she works in a field that has nothing to do with our undergraduate program. Simply put, she is not doing any better than me when you peel away the braggadocious facade of social media. At least I never moved back in with my parents.

I’m full of fun stories about my twenties on the East Coast, but I’m still renting. My social media timelines are overflowing with high school classmates who own either sprawling ranch-style homes or McMansions with yards overrun with dogs and children. I have a friend who had a giant wedding last year that was actually too small for them, so now they’re having another giant ceremony only a year later. My high school crush just toured the Southwest with their spouse and two kids in a camper, while also towing their giant pickup truck behind them. My dad bought my current car for me over a decade ago, and this morning I glued the heel back onto a pair of boots. I had to take off my $30 Zenni frames so that I could see my shoe-mending job because I couldn’t afford to upgrade to bifocals, and today I chose to buy KN95 masks instead of a pair of reading glasses.  

There are definitely days when I feel like a tremendous failure for these reasons, but I can’t lie: I love my life, and I do not regret a thing. Most people aren’t even happy with what they’ve got anyway, and sometimes the normies are even envious of the freedom and whimsy of skidmarks like us, people who dared to live a life without so many commitments. Work sucks, you know? Being a parent is stressful and scary as hell. Owning a business is expensive and rarely as fulfilling as “entrepreneurs” on the internet would have you think. 

How many times have you been propositioned by a married person? Personally, I’ve lost count, but I bet that it’s higher than the number of those people who were also ethically non-monogamous. People are generally unhappy and unethical, and life is rarely as fun as others would have you believe. You’ve probably lived your life with a degree of brashness that stirs jealousy in those who can’t afford to relax and let go the way you or I can. Simply put, people are haters, and your life has most likely been way cooler than you think. So what if you’re just now applying for a home loan or whatever? It’s all relative, so be easy on yourself, and get new friends. You’ll thank me.

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