I am 28 and was in a seven-year relationship that ended four years ago. Recently my 22-year-old brother got engaged to his live-in girlfriend. They plan on getting married next Summer and are currently trying to buy a house. All of my closest friends and co-workers are married and having kids. I'm single and definitely not where I imagined myself to be at this age. My little brother is experiencing all the things I envisioned for myself four years ago. How can I stop from feeling so envious of what my brother and friends have?
— Left Behind Bea
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Dear Left Behind Bea,
Creating specific expectations for your life is inevitably disappointing; it's just so unlikely that everything will turn out how you planned. Waiting to find something that works right for you is much more important and satisfying than trying to compete with friends and family. Unless you want to be bogged down by these feelings of jealousy and inadequacy, it's time to make some changes to your attitude.
First of all, stop comparing yourself to your brother and your friends. You're all different people and you all have very different lives to lead — that's a good thing! Just because you're not engaged or settling down with kids doesn't mean that you won't or can't be completely content. However, spending more time concerned with what you don't have instead of all the things you have to look forward to — like falling in love or becoming an aunt — could very well make you unhappy. So chin up, and put a stop to all these expectations. Everything will come around eventually, but for now, it's time to enjoy life and yourself just as it is today.