Lagging behind in life…

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    A. Prashanth

    I’m a 27 (to be 28 in a few weeks) year old man. I have this deep sadness, anguish and rage within me. The sort you feel when the people around you get something good, but you don’t. For all my life, I have the feeling that I’m lagging behind everyone in everything. This might be a little long story, so please be patient while reading.

    Back when I was in school, I had this desire to win little contests and competitions happening in class. I participated in a lot of them, worked hard for some, tried casually for others. Either way didn’t win much in any of those contests. Kids around me also participated now and then and won a lot more (some with their hard work-which I don’t have issues with, most other times- by pure fortune). But I comforted myself saying that I should just keep working hard and smart and eventually in life I would win a lot of awards and trophies than them. That didn’t happen.

    Back when I was in the 7th to 9th grade phase, I used to play a few sports pretty decently. In our school we had this unwritten perception that if the senior kids picked you while they played during practice matches, you are pretty good at what you played. I got picked to play a lot for the senior team during their practice matches, even though I was in the 7th-9th grade group. The main school sports events (not practice matches) however were predominantly played by the seniors (whether they were good or not, they had the excuse of “This is our last year in school and we like to play this time. You’ll have your turn to play in the main events when you reach the 12th grade.” These main sports events usually involved the entire school, parents and teachers spectating and any good game played there by you, will overnight push you to the level of a school legend. I had for so long played decently in the practice games (without spectators) and got the appreciation of the senior players, (a couple seniors even saying that when I reached 12th grade I would be a school sporting hero too the way I made certain sporting moves.) I waited so eagerly for my sporting glory in 12th grade and kept dreaming about how I will be loved and celebrated by all. But when I reached the 10th grade, I had to skip sports for a year due to my exams. When I returned back to sports at the end of the 11th grade, things changed completely. New kids had come, there was no more the trend of giving the seniors preference, nor proper trials to choose the best players. All decisions were made by certain kids who were the captains and they mostly picked their friends (sometimes even juniors.) People who had no skills for particular sports and some juniors, all made it to the team, and I was left off. There were literally just two kids who were left off the teams (there were four different house teams actually) and I was one of the two kids, with the other kid not being interested in sports at all. I spent that sports day sitting in the school terrace and seeing my friends, my juniors (who used to look up to me for sporting advice) all playing in the main events and being cheered and celebrated by everyone around. That day hurt me really bad and still does when I think about it. Something I had waited for so long, not being mine. Whether I deserve that glory or not I do not know. But I know for sure that people who didn’t play that sport half as good as me, made it to the team and I didn’t. And that hurts me. It wouldn’t have hurt me as much, if only the deserving ones, who were good at the sport, got the places despite me not getting it.

    Also during the same phase of my life, I had the opportunity to go to a three day trip arranged at school when I was in 9th grade. I absolutely loved the trip and was so eager to experience more trips like that. There was no trip in 10th grade due to our exams and 11th trip was something I missed due to ill health. I had since my 9th grade trip, so eagerly awaited to go on such a trip with my school mates again and my parents kept saying that I will have my chance when I was in 12th grade. I kept waiting and dreaming and the 12th grade trip finally came. Almost my entire class went on that trip, but I wasn’t allowed by my parents since there were some security issues in the region where the trip was then being held. I can understand my parents’ concern but it wasn’t as serious a threat as they perceived. I mean every other parent sent their kids, do they not love their kids as much? I must understand my parents love for me in this instance, alright fine, but they never thought of how much I wanted this trip and how their rejection of my trip has impacted me thereafter. Anyway, whatever be the case, I wasn’t allowed to go, all my friends did, they had a great time, new bonds were made, great friendships were forged and memories made during that long trip, and I missed all of it.
    My parents kept saying that I will have my time, when I go again with my friends in college or thereafter and I had to console myself that I will. It has been over ten years since that trip, I haven’t had the opportunity to go anywhere even alone, or with my friends. That trip also gave my friends the confidence to travel alone, explore and become more confident, permitting them to even go abroad for studies, work so on. That again has psychologically impacted me. I didn’t go to a regular college since the course I wanted to study was too expensive to study abroad and locally it was only available as a distant education course. And the offices I worked after my studies didn’t have a trip and I didn’t gel with the people there as much I had with my school mates. So I could never actually experience the fun all my friends had experienced in the 12th grade trip. Now if I cite that to my parents, they say, how is it their fault that I didn’t pick a course that had a regular college course. Fair point, but why ruin the chance that I had gotten. Since then I have never travelled anywhere in life, other than with family, that too not far away (as taking family to distant locations are expensive.) Friends are too busy with their own lives and I couldn’t expect the entire class of 12th grade to come with, since many are also married and have their own families. Whatever said or done, I could never experience that trip the way things were back then.
    Now similarly, back in school I used to see my seniors who finished school, went to world class universities abroad and made great accomplishments. All my school teachers used to point at them and speak so proudly of them. I used to dream that I too will get to do something similar, go to world class universities and make great accomplishments. But of course I couldn’t afford financially. Many of my friends weren’t able to afford as well, but they had people to guide them and help them, by which they worked for a couple years and eventually made enough money to go abroad and study. Now if I look back at my class picture from school days, there is hardly one or two guys who are here still near my locality. And I feel once again I’m left behind. I have not picked a course that will fetch me good money for me to study it abroad at the same time I am not interested in any course that is offered abroad. Courses picked by them are engineering related, medical related or law related, which, even if they study getting loan, they will eventually make money and pay the loan. I am however interested only in Literature and Humanities, none of which will fetch me money. I guess this is one thing I have to put the blame on myself.
    Where I am from, people used to buy their sons and daughters vehicle of some sort when they reach 16-18 years in age. I too used to dream of my own bike or car back in my early teens. I was so eager to reach the age of 16 for me to start riding vehicles. I once again wasn’t bought one citing safety reasons and not being able to drive even a scooter is a blow to my confidence. Back in that age, I used to be fearless and adventurous and trying to ride bikes or cars back then would have been much easier. Now its embarrassing to even been seen learning to drive them at age 28, and also my confidence is so low having lost a couple of friends to driving related accidents. I genuinely have a fear to drive and yet have the desire to drive. Had I been permitted to have my first drive back in that age, I wouldn’t have been lagging behind now in that as well. At 28 I still don’t have a vehicle of my own and it enrages me so much when I see my 16 year old cousin getting his own vehicle or my juniors going around with their girlfriends in bikes or cars, enjoying time.
    That brings on to the next issue. Girlfriends or partners. Our movies, songs, poetry, tv programs all give so much importance to romance, love, sex. I used to imagine me enjoying all those things even when I was in my mid teens. People around me started to have girlfriends, but I could not. The places where I went to, there weren’t any girls anywhere. Only in school had I been with girls my own age. But back then I wasn’t mature enough to think of those girls who I had already seen as friends as anything more than that. From there on, in the institute I had studies, in the offices I had worked, wherever I went, it was all either men, older women, or way younger girls (like 7-8 years younger, whom I’m not interested in) or already committed or married women (these are rare by themselves.) I don’t know where people find their love. It just hasn’t happened to me. I’m ashamed to say at age 28, I still haven’t had a kiss, hadn’t touched a woman and haven’t ever been in love. When people discuss about their first kiss, first romantic adventures in office parties or social gatherings, I feel so left out and behind. Even 19-21 year old juniors at work have girlfriends or are married. Some of my more conservative friends were married early by their families. Some of the more open friends found girlfriends in parties or social gatherings. I am in between. I don’t go to wild parties or inappropriate social gatherings. I don’t like online dating. I don’t find anyone at work in my age group. I simply don’t see it happening for me.
    I look back at my school group photo, everyone has one problem or the other and I sympathize for them all. There are rich friends, there are poor friends, there are committed ones, married ones, rarely single ones (those who had broken up), there are those who have travelled the world and those few who haven’t been abroad (but have still travelled all around the country.) I am the only one who hasn’t had any of it. Never been in a relationship, never found love, doesn’t own a vehicle, doesn’t travel (can’t afford or have company). And it pisses me off that my prime years (the years where people are supposed to enjoy the most) is fast going by and I haven’t enjoyed anything. And it saddens me even more when I see people older and younger than me experiencing and enjoying things that I haven’t. I know it isn’t fair and I do not do anything to prevent them from enjoying. My concern is all about me not enjoying. And life has already gone so much. What a bland existence this has been. I guess I’m the only one in the world that even at age 28 hasn’t been on a plane, hasn’t moved out of the country, hasn’t been in a relationship, hasn’t had a kiss, hasn’t studied in a good university, hasn’t done anything fun. I’m sure 99.999% of the world population would have experienced at least one of the aforementioned. I don’t know what I expect people to respond to this post. I just want to share. If you want to look down upon me, feel free. If you want to ignore, do ignore. If you want to criticize, please do.

    Nina Sakura

    Dear Prasanth,

    I have read through the entire post. Some thoughts come to my mind :-

    You are very dependant on others and the occurance of certain situations to validate your quality as a person.

    You don’t see or understand yourself. Accepting who you are is even farther from it.

    You are not taking responsibility for your role in the circumstances too. The people who went overseas took courses that you were not interested in. Your real interest was money. The purpose of this money is to have less difficulties and more peace of mind, right?

    But what if you are also responsible for ruining your own peace of mind? With your habit of comparing to others, do you think you would have been happy even if say you became rich, went overseas and found a girl? The emptiness would still be there – you would think that you should have studied literature instead! What will you do with so much money! The comparision habit won’t stop.

    99.99% of population has experienced what you havent – a very generalised statement again. A huge section of this world is living in utter poverty, persecution, in far worse state. The fact that you have the freedom to annonymously post your concerns here mean you have had some education, an access to internet – things we take for granted but many don’t even have those. Open the world bank figures and you will see what I mean.

    Now let’s consider the sports thing – what bothered you then was having less talented people get appreciation while you don’t get it.

    Again as you can see, your focus is extremely outside. Did you participate for your own enjoyment or simply to get praise?

    You don’t feel good about yourself and that’s why you need others to praise you, you constantly look at others life to think how much is missing in your life.

    But do you see that even you are responsible for how well you manage your own thoughts and emotions?

    Love is something that isn’t happening. Your criteria is not being satisfied and you again start the compare game.

    Stop comparing your life with others. Stop thinking so much about the past.

    Please start finding out who you really are, what you actually want and how can you have a good relationship with yourself first. Your focus is way too much on outside.



    Dear A. Prashanth:

    Your last sentence is: ” If you want to look down upon me, feel free. If you want to ignore, do ignore. If you want to criticize, please do”- I don’t want to do any of these things, nor did I have such inclination while reading your post.

    This is my understanding of what you didn’t write, which I read in-between your lines. Let me know if I am correct: your parents were over-protective, not allowing you that trip, not allowing you or discouraging you from learning to drive, and so, they have handicapped you in life. And at the same time they were over-protective, they dismissed your feelings, did not love you, not the way you needed to be loved. How can a person feel loved when the person’s feelings and motivations are dismissed, not considered, ignored and discouraged?

    I think that the reason you “kept dreaming about how I will be loved and celebrated by all” in school is because you weren’t loved and celebrated at home.

    Looking forward to your next post.



    Hey Prashanth..

    Read your post. I just wanted to tell u first that you are not alone. There are people I know who are around your age who haven’t had a serious relationship. But they are more focused their happiness first. It’s ok not to be in a relationship, because sometimes you can learn so much when you are single than when you are in a relationship.

    From whatever you have mentioned it only seems to me that u care way too much about what others think about u. That is the reason for not having enough fun. I made that mistake too, but it is never too late to have some fun. Life is supposed to be fun, do not take life too seriously. And always have some personal goals for yourself. It can be anything like wanting to write a book, starting a blog or sharing your natural gifts and talents with others on social media… or learn anything new that u always were interested in doing but never found the time to do like painting or singing or dancing.. There are so many things to do in life.

    I hope that u could just turn your focus to things that are working well in your life instead of things that are not working that well. And one thing in particular that I would like to mention that failures u faced in the past have nothing to do with your future. Do not let your parents decide and dictate everything in your life. And do not blame them for anything because they gave you the very best they could afford. Be grateful to your parents for that and move on. You cannot always make everybody happy, your job is not pleasing others.

    From the way you passionately described about what happened to you in school, it only shows that you still did not forgive and forget. Do not carry that sort of an emotional baggage from the past, it will not do you any good. And do not let past failures dictate your life. Remember nothing lasts forever, that includes your loneliness too.. I hope that you find your bliss.



    Hi Prashanth,

    I have the exact same feeling, because I am convinced I am the only person on the planet who didn’t go to prom LOL! I was nice, I was pretty, yet I saw literally everyone else get “Prom-posals” and I couldn’t manage to scrounge up a date! Even now, a generation later, I see pictures of unattractive or awkward girls in their gowns and that brings back those bitter memories. I went to dances, sure, but Prom, the “Best night of your life” somehow eluded me.

    Now, for other people who did go, it was “just a night”. I question my kids about it. I get “Meh. It was fine.”

    Sometimes we put more importance in events than they merit. Believe me when I say that for most of your classmates 12th/ grade sports and the class trip was just an event. It was “OK”.

    And everyone misses at least one “chapter” from childhood. One never went to camp, another never could go clubbing, etc.

    What you have to do is overcome your embarrassment: Take driving lessons, book a trip someplace and have your friends set you up with nice girls.

    Also believe me when I say that there are homebody bachelors who are totally happy.

    It really is up to you.



    Jennifer Boyatt

    Dear Prashanth,

    Thank you for sharing the mountain of evidence you have gathered that support the conclusion(s) you have made about life and of yourself. I’m sad for you, dear. These are sad stories. It’s okay to be sad about it.

    However . . . would you like to come to another conclusion? YES!! Ha ha. Let’s get started. To come to another conclusion, then start gathering evidence that supports the conclusion you would prefer!! Write out the conclusion you want to come to about yourself, and then start writing down even the tiniest thing that happens that looks like it might be the tiniest evidence toward that conclusion.

    Another thing you might enjoy . . . answer this question . . . how is it that you would like to bless the world? Would you like to help children, the hungry, animals? Is there some cause you care about? Or some kind of healing or service you care about? Begin taking steps to live that service life. You will soon be having a lot of fun and going to bed each night satisfied.

    Thanks again for sharing, that took guts.


    Let’s take a look at some of those things:

    1) 28 and never been on a plane. There is nothing magical about an aircraft. They are useful tools and usually don’t unexpected fall from the sky (depends on airline). I’ve got a bit more than a decade on you, and would have been perfectly content to not having flown on an aircraft.

    2) Never been kissed. Ditto, after 39 years, never been kissed either.

    3) Traveling around the country. Pluses and minuses to travel. Sometimes you find things aren’t quite as advertised (i.e. they have been all hyped up beyond all common sense). Sometimes things are as you expect. Sometimes getting to your destination is an utter shock (going from Fisherman’s Wharf to San Fran airport for a red-eye flight out for example), (also driving through Cleveland, Atlanta, St. Louis, Minneapolis, ). At least when I travel in my home state I can travel well armed, not so much for the bigger cities.

    4) Being adored by everybody. Simple fact: nobody is adored by everybody. Not everybody on Earth loved Mother Theresa and not everybody on Earth hated Hitler. If the adoration of everybody is what you are waiting for, it’s going to be a long wait that will go on long after your death as some might actually be glad to see you go.

    5) Simple fact: there is always going to be somebody richer than you are; there is always going to be somebody who gets more recognition than you do; there is always going to be somebody who “gets more” *wink-wink* than you do; there is always going to be somebody who is than you.

    Manish yadav

    Hey prashant I went through your post and I feel at this age this is something that happens with most of us and I believe it is happening because you’re low on self esteem and confidence.

    What I would suggest is if you really want to live your life in a positive way, you should start reading some inspirations quotes about life on daily basis and also start meditation as doing this things will guide you and also provide clarity of thought.

    Of course things will not change over night, but eventually you’ll see some positive results for sure and if you can read on meditation on the web there are many helpful guides.

    You can follow this guide here http://tinybuddha.com/blog/8-ways-to-make-meditation-easy-and-fun/ it wil help you.

    Thanks and regard.

    Manish Yadav

    Greta Lamfel

    Hi there,

    What you are experiencing is common and not abnormal. Often, when we see people around us achieve certain things we feel that we’re lagging behind. However, once you get in this cycle it never stops. If you get a girlfriend, you will compare yourself to your married friends. If you get married, you will start wondering when you too will have children.

    Intimacy is a very important part of the human connection and I wish it for you as well, but from what I read, you have not found a group of like-minded individuals that can fill your need for friendship and hopefully intimacy.

    What I suggest is you write down five things you really love to do, then search for groups and communities that can fill your need for those five things. You will find that you will be happier whether single or in a relationship.

    Founder of Healthy Living

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Greta Lamfel.
    A. Prashanth

    Nina, Anita, Kritika, Inky, Jennifer, Xenopus Tex, Manish, Greta- Thank you all for your replies. I had written that when I was undergoing an emotional outburst. I know many of it is childish. I have been doing some thinking of my own based on your replies. Yes I do have some confidence issues, but I’m trying to improve myself on it. And yes much of the people on this planet are undergoing sufferings of all sorts that you and I do not have to undergo. I do not feel jealous of it. Then why should I be jealous of the good things that others have undergone? I should instead be happy that they have undergone the good they have and I have to believe that I would too some day. Certain good things wouldn’t ever happen to you, but that is ok, cos those “good” that they enjoyed, might not actually be good in your life. I mean I’m too sensitive to undergo breakups, which many of my friends had to endure, even as they enjoyed the good side like love, sex and romance with multiple people over the years. I rather wait and get a single lover at the right time and be with her for the rest of my life than jump around. Each life and situation is different. Rather than seeing what is missing, I should start thinking of what I’ve been blessed with. Life is no race. What if I haven’t flown in an airplane before. I might get to eventually. (But I got to say one thing though. Flying might not be a great thing for many of you, perhaps you have done it so often. For someone who hasn’t experienced it and who has been longing for that experience, it is a wondrous thing for me. Don’t know honestly if I will love it once I experience it myself.) Nonetheless, God knows what’s best for me and everything happens for a good reason. I will believe in that and I will try to enjoy and appreciate all the good in life. Nothing beats being grateful for the good in life. I will try to make myself a better person, slowly, but surely, with my best efforts. Thanks a lot, all of you for your kind words.

    P.S: I might post some more childish posts during future emotional outbursts, so apologies for that. I will eventually get better.


    No apologies required. It can be very helpful to write what were thinking and feeling without restraint or judgments.

    Actually writing without making judgments about it might be a good practice for you.
    One your done you could go over what you have written and look for the ways in which you have ‘measured’ and labeled your experiences.

    Ask yourself
    Where are these labels coming from? How helpful are they?
    Where am I looking for validation? why/
    How are you measuring your experiences? How accurate are these measurements? (Studies show that as a whole most people are really really bad at measuring our experiences!)


    Dear A. Prashanth:

    You are welcome. I appreciate your grace in responding to every respondent to your threads.

    I wonder if the valid message in the emotions expressed in your original post on this thread is for you to apply courage and no longer limit yourself because of fear. If so, one little step at a time, do something every day (nothing is too-small to practice), toward more adventure, exploration, living outside-the-box of past.


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