If you're in your 20s, it probably feels like everyone you know: just started their dream job, just moved to a cool new city, just traveled somewhere amazing, just fell in love, just got engaged, just got married, just found out they're pregnant, just had their first baby, just got a big raise/promotion, just bought a home...just has it all figured out. Except for you, of course.
In a time filled with so many firsts, it can sometimes feel like you're the only one not experiencing them or like you're the sole late bloomer in a world full of overachieving early birds who are gobbling up all the worms. I certainly know I've been tempted to shoo some of those birds off of my lawn a time or two. Then I remind myself, it's not their fault those birds are out there getting their fill, while I'm still rubbing the morning crusties out of my eyes...and sometimes, I'm not such a lazy bird myself. So why am I beating myself up over it (and glaring at them through the window)?
The truth is, we all feel envious sometimes. It's so easy to look at other people and see only what they have that you don't and to get wrapped up in all the ways you fail to add up. There are several problems with this, of course. For one, you completely ignore all of the great things you have going for you. For another, you completely ignore all the bad things they have going for them. When you let yourself pay too much attention to everyone else's positives, and only your negatives, you're not getting a clear picture of reality. You're just making yourself feel bad for no reason, and probably treating the object of your envy with a touch of resentment they don't deserve.
The biggest problem with envy, though, is that when you envy someone, you are seeing something in them that you clearly want or want to be yourself. But instead of making it a goal and going after it, you build up a mental block in your head that prevents you from seeing how you can realize that goal for yourself. "Well, of course he can do that. He is perfect! I could never do something like that." Or, "Some girls just have all the luck! I'd never luck into something like that." Nobody is perfect, though, and trust me, most things don't just happen out of sheer luck. Those people you're putting up on a pedestal have flaws and weaknesses, too, and they probably had to work their backsides off to get where they are. They're probably not all that different from you, and if they can do it, you can too. By examining how they got where they are now, rather than simply noting the discrepancies between you and them, you can probably get a few ideas about how to get where you want to be.
By getting a closer look, you might also realize that as good as what they have sounds on a superficial level, it's not really for you, and you can kick that green-eyed monster permanently and move onto a goal better suited to you.
Of course, there are some things other people have that you can't make happen through sheer force of will. You can't make the man or woman of your dreams materialize out of thin air any more than you can will your dream job into existence. But, you can remain upbeat and keep an open mind and keep looking. The more you put yourself out there, the greater your opportunity for finding that special someone or stumbling across that one job that really does it for you. If you work it up in your head, though, that only some people find those things, and you aren't one of those some people, you'll never even give yourself a chance.
It's been my general experience, though, is that everyone is one of those some people at least some of the time. So stop worrying about what everyone else has that you don't, and start enjoying what you've got instead and put it to good use!
PS: Today is the infamous 25th birthday. So far, so fun!