It’s not unusual these days to hear of various young people achieve major milestones that take the average person a lifetime to accomplish fairly easily. These unique cases have caused many youth to have an undying feeling and wish of “making it” at very young ages, so much so that we feel old by the time we’re in our mid to early 20s and we haven’t won a Grammy, or we don’t make millions a year from our passion.

This thinking can partially be attributed to the nature of our behavior with the internet where everything happens so quickly, success stories running through our feeds every second make us feel like we are not doing enough. So many of us today have more perceived life experience than any other generation due in part to the amount of content we consume daily, always looking at screens, always experiencing our life through other people and what their life experiences are like.

When half of our life experiences have been achieved through media outlets, blogs, social media and many other forms, it becomes difficult after some time to distinguish our own life experiences from people that we may not even know personally. Yes, we see all their accomplishments, we witness little glimpses of their struggles here and there, we see pictures of their family and because we live in a world that has little reluctance for sharing everything, we feel like we know these people personally. A lot of times, those who inspire us become celebrities since there is a certain glorification between youthfulness and early success. It captures our attention because of its unique allure, and it baffles us because we don’t completely understand it.

But for the vast majority of us who have to struggle through life without that early success, the constant consumption of mundane information can leave us feeling ancient because of the sheer volume of content we have acquired through life. By the time we reach a certain age, it feels like we've lived very long lives, and yet through all the supposed living that we've done, many of us tend to feel like we haven’t achieved anything of worth. Before long, frustration becomes something constantly on our minds, and it’s not entirely because what we want is taking longer than we thought, rather it’s how old we feel because we haven’t achieved these things within a specific time-frame.

It’s a natural part of life to set goals that we hope to achieve by a certain age, finish our first degree by 21, right! Get our first high paying job by 23, check! Hopefully meet our life partner at 25 and get married by the time we're in our late 20s — it’s all planned out until of course life happens. As we age, we come to realize that things take a lot longer in real life than how we had them set out in our minds.

This frustration is caused by the fact that, even though it feels like we've lived a lifetime, most of that life experience has been lived through other peoples experiences. A lot of information we gather through the web makes us feel like we are living them through the visual cognition of seeing it — but this is a deception because seeing is not always believing, certain life experiences have to be lived by a person because they are individual experiences that cannot be expressed and comprehended by looking at the lives of other people. We actually have to live them ourselves — they are intended for us to understand them but more importantly for them to also shape us as humans.

So when we’ve lived a life we haven't really lived, we start lacking the core principles of making it in the real world. Deep feelings of guilt and shame may take over our lives. A 25-year-old who lived 20 years ago has more life experience than a 25-year-old today because they actually had to go through the crooks and crannies of what life as an independent individual meant.

Now look, don't get me wrong — growing up and actually having to be responsible for our lives is a scary endeavour, no matter what time we are living in, but living in fear of growing up is something that affects growth and encourages mediocrity.

We must not panic. Life is a journey that has to be experienced in moments, and each moment requires continuous growth that never stops, no matter what age we are. As long as the journey makes sense to us, everything else can be taken from a perspective that we can either agree with or decline, since we are the only ones with the keys to our path. We must never rush to catch up or to be ahead, but always remember to keep in touch with our own time.