A character on a TV show cried to her mom about feeling left behind because all of her high school friends were graduating and she had one more year to go. Do you remember feeling those kind of feelings as a kid or young adult? It really struck a chord with me because I’ve had some left behind type feelings recently. Before I had my child I sometimes felt left behind as friend after friend announced weddings or pregnancies. Low and behold though, once I had my child I felt left behind and forgotten by many of my childless friends. Who knew that’s how it could feel?
More recently several of the parents of my son’s friends are planning or having baby #2. I look at them in awe because I feel like my hands are so full with one child. And in a way, I do feel left behind. Am I building the right family for my son? Will I be able to understand what my friends are going through? Will they still want us as companions or will we become a basic, boring one child family to them? Ahhhh…so many ways to feel left behind in this life. In the end, having a second child is not the right thing for me right now so at least I’m escaping any feelings of envy! Heck, I read about bloggers with picturesque lives moving from big cities to Idaho or upstate New York or something and I think, why can’t I do that? That seems like such a fun life! For this one, I do not escape feeling of envy!!!
I think a huge part of these feelings – at whatever age or stage – has to do with becoming attached to a vision of what life will look like…and when. I’ll be married to my best friend and pregnant by 27. Or, I’ll have two children within three years and I’ll be able to raise them without having to work outside the home. Or, I will raise my family in a cozy bungalow so cute it could be featured in magazines. Or simply, I’m going to live happily ever after, the end. Hold on to any of those too tight and we are bound to be disappointed at some point. So put that way, feeling left behind is more about being disappointed by having such specific expectations than about not having a sweet life worth living.
Instead of feeling left behind I’m choosing to focus on the great life I do have. I’ve been through a lot of love, heartbreak, adventures and tragedies and I’ve survived it all – and with grace. I have the child I only dreamed of for years. We eat well and we live in a cozy little home. I’m lucky and if I’m left behind, at least it is in this sweet life we have. I’m not saying don’t dream big, but maybe…don’t dream so specific. Here is some great perspective on dreaming differently.