Do You Feel Behind on Life?

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be like my older sisters. They're fun and kind and never made me feel like the uncool tagalong. They even let me wear their clothes when they were in high school and I was nine, never mind the difference in our sizes. 

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By second semester of senior year of college, I was ready to graduate; I felt like I had overcooked. Chris and I have talked a lot about why I was so eager to join the real world. Even though I loved college and my friends, seeing my sisters' adult lives left me chomping at the bit to get on with things. They made adulthood look good and I wanted to join them in that season. 

Years later, my sister, Courtney, told me she was pregnant with her fifth and final babe. I struggled with a little bit of jealousy, but, what I felt even more strongly was a mourning period. I always thought we'd have the chance to be pregnant together someday and, since I wasn't married at the time, I knew this dream was coming to an end. My sisters shared multiple pregnancies and their babies' newborn years. I felt like I did when I was nine: I wanted in on this. But borrowing their clothes wouldn't cut it this time. Although, for the record, I do still peruse their closets.

 photo by  Natalie Puls

photo by Natalie Puls

I realized recently, as I watched them send their babes off to school again this fall, that there is a part of me that always believed I'd catch up with them. As I snuggled McCoy and scrolled through their precious first day photos, it hit me that this was not the case. Not because I'm behind or doing something wrong, but because I'm not supposed to. 

To be clear, I'm not supposed to catch them, but not just because they're older than me. It's because we're walking our own paths at our own paces. We are each living the lives that were designed for us. They got married much younger than I did and had babies in their 20s. Chris and I got married just a few months before my 30th birthday.

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But number crunching doesn't do us any good - because that's not what learning to enjoy and embrace our lives is about. 

It can be just as easy to compare ourselves to younger siblings and friends. During my less-than-settled seasons, I've even found myself comparing my life to bloggers: she met her husband at 26 and started a family at 28 and had this business by 31!? What am I doing wrong?

I'm learning these days that if comparison is the thief of joy, the belief that we can catch one another is its mighty sidekick. Thinking we are "behind" in life only perpetuates an unnecessary cycle of competition and comparison.

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Last fall, I had the chance to be pregnant with my sister, Ashley, and my sister-in-law, Abbey. Now we're sharing these sweet baby days, navigating each new phase together. I never dreamed I'd get to share these seasons with them.

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The whole experience has reminded me of one of life's greatest truths: we never know how much good is coming down the road. But if we can learn to trust that our time is coming, we can sink into the present much more easily. 

So here's to today and tomorrow, the slow days and the fast ones, the abundant and the sparse. And to every season in between. May you rest in the joy and uniqueness of each season.