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Anyone Else Feel Behind Their Peers?


kolaida
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(I may be be slightly drunk as I write this)  

 

Anyway, does anyone else ever feel like they are just behind their peers and are never gonna catch up? I was really religious and didn't drink alcohol, smoke, try things stronger than cigarettes, etc before 24 and some not til I was 26. It almost seems like everyone else around me did all this in their late teens/early 20 before they were legal at least. 

 

I just feel like I keep running into this and it sometimes is frustrating and it makes me feel like I was so stupid to ever be so absorbed in religion and miss out on just regular fun. I don't know. I don't know, it just seems like--- is there not MORE ex-Christians in my age range that have experienced this? Or even as Christians, they still went ahead and did the stuff so I really can't even relate on an ex-Christian level, like they didn't take religion anywhere near as serious as I did. 

 

I don't know if I'm making any sense here (and I don't know if it belongs in the rant but it's not really a rant. I'm just honestly curious if anyone else runs into this.) When I was a Christian, I had trouble finding Christians my age. Now I find people my age all the time that aren't Christian but it's like they already did and tried everything and have stories about it and my stories are like, "I was at church." 

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Depends if you think that stuff is fun or not. I never did, but then I am not a party animal and not an extrovert. 

 

That is a good point. Honestly, before I tried it at 26, I never thought about whether it would be fun or not. And I don't really do it now, just in social settings.  I'm certainly no party animal either and I'm definitely not an extrovert. Sometimes, I really wish I was though. Seems like life would be easier to a degree. 

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I'm behind my peers in other ways, but neither I nor the secular friends I picked up in college are that kind of party people. Mostly my problem was taking "honor your father and mother" way too seriously, so I had moral issues with the whole teenage "rebellion"/individuation stage. Still working through the repercussions of that.

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I'm going through the music I gave up to please Jesus.  Thankfully there is a local station that plays the rock from the time when I was in high school.

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I still do not smoke, drink or party even though I'm an atheist. My core behaviours have not changed, rather I have more pragmatic reasons for doing what I've always done. With that said, the fact that I don't drink never had anything to do with religion even when I did have "faith." I can listen to secular music without all the guilt however.

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While I'm fifty-something now, I deconverted in my mid-twenties after a severe Christian upbringing.

 

I found that I was drinking to the point of throwing up in my late twenties when everyone else had learned how much is too much by the end of their teens. There are many movies from back then that I have not seen and cannot comment on in conversations.

 

BUT, the thing that irritates me the most is that there was a complete absence of "literature" and its appreciation in my family as I was growing up. The only reading matter was religious and "Christian" novels that extolled the virtue of good Christian girls saying "no".

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Yep, how to catch up...

 

Deconverted in my 20s.

 

Left my virginity in my 30s.

 

Had my two kids in my 40s.

 

Now, when everyone else is retiring, I'll be trying to put them through college.

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I wouldn't worry about it: I don't think it's a race. I am an atheist, and I was raised without religion. I'm 28, and I still don't drink, smoke, or have anything to do with psychoactive substances. I'm not going to judge people who do; it's just a matter of personal preference. (Who needs drugs when you have mathematics?)

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Thanks guys!!  Sometimes I feel like I was in a different world; there's stuff I never tried/tried late, movies/shows I never watched and am unable to discuss (and am too embarrassed to admit I never saw it and then go and watch it and it's never brought up again!), music I'm unfamiliar with, and, also, I took obeying my parents waaaay to seriously to the point of giving up a college scholarship and moving because they asked me to even though I really wanted to finish college. Just feel left behind (hah!) sometimes. 

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Behind and late in some aspects, ahead in some. Or so i like to think. Maybe i just need to believe that it's not all negative.

 

I have noticed since de-conversion, I have tended to be more negative. Maybe it's just part of the process. 

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I was just thinking bout this an hour ago while having a smoke out my kitchen window.Yeah I actually think in many ways I am exactly 15 yrs behind my peers;strangely enough the length of time roughly that i was a christian.I mourn it a bit,that it can't come round again.I did a lot of catching up but its not quite the same.

However  i enjoyed things with a wiser head too.I dunno ,there is nowt you can do about it but your not alone in feeling like this.

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Yes in a way. I am going to school perusing a degree in environmental science. I am going to my local community college so I'm in class with a buch of 19/20 year olds. (I'm 33). However I have discovered an inquisitive nature inside myself that my fellow students (and people my age) do not seem to share.

 

I also echo what other people said about music. I am all over music I have left and stuff I missed. I have also discovered longboarding and I have been doing that alot.

 

So yeah it's like I'm having a second adolescence.

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Oh yes. I am so far behind I could weep. I missed out on:

  • Social skills (I was socially inept well into my 20s due to my rigid beliefs)
  • How to "party"--the only way I know how to entertain is like a Bible Study. Kidding, but sorta not.
  • Music--the school bus saved me, thanks to the radio, but I am still massively behind.
  • Self-efficacy and decision making. "God" made all my decisions before. Look where that got me....
  • Dancing. Thank you, Mennonite high school.

I never had the urge to smoke. Ever. I have this thing about my lungs and I think putting anything besides air in ones lungs is unwise.

 

Even though I now have a measure of social competence, I still feel uptight and unsure of myself at 'parties'. I feel like a square. I never know how to interact or how to just talk about shit and laugh. Everything has to be For A PurposeTM.  I am not a fun person but I wish I was!

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Smoking and drinking are not signs of maturity. Just things that people do no matter what age they are. Your body will thank you not to do these things (too much).  :-)

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Luckily for me with the party thing, many people in my social circle either don't like that kind of partying themselves, or enjoy that plus other sorts of things that I do like. There's a lot of gamers, so many parties are food + games or food + movies. I used to do a lot of socilaization where we's just get together and sit around talking; now it seems like me and many of my peers (30-ish) have less to talk about than we used to. I guess we're at a point in our lives where things are a bit more stable so there's not as much new news to share, and all the stories about the past have been told. So we play card games, board games, role playing games, computer games, etc. Gives us something to do and talk about, but there's still plenty of space in there for chit-chat. Theme parties are fun too, and sometimes we'll do costumes and stuff (or even a one-off LARP). Then you've got the subject matter of the party itself to talk about. Sometimes we do outdoorsy stuff, like rent kayaks and float down the river (we've got flatwater around here). Having a set of friends where I can go to medium sized social events without "partying" has been really nice.

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Even though I'm 31, I feel like I should be about 25.

 

It doesn't really have anything to do with "partying", and I'm a little surprised at how many people feel the need to explain that they don't drink or party.

 

It's about how I feel like the years that I spent in Christianity were wasted. I was on a more extreme end, not only the 3x weekly church, but also Fundamentalist school, pretty much no secular TV watching, no listening to rock music, no R rated movies and not a lot of PG-13, dresses 6 days/week, etc. When I was in college, I didn't know how to interact with anyone, and worse, I wasn't even sure what I liked to do and I alienated a lot of people who shared one of my interests through being painfully awkward.

 

And it's about how I didn't get to make age-appropriate choices for myself growing up. It's not about how well my life turned out vs. the life of someone who had a "normal" childhood, but about the opportunity to learn from being allowed to do things for myself. For example, I feel like if I'd had the chance to meet some guys and develop relationships with them at a teenage-appropriate level, I might have been able to see through the guy who ended up raping me. Because he didn't set off my creep meter even though he should have, because his behavior was completely within the range of the way that Fundigelical women were supposed to not just accept but expect from men (like acts of "chivalry" that were extremely premature for the length of the relationship, and pushing to get engaged very quickly). Many of my public schooled friends have said that they learned in HS that if a girl or boy acted like that in the first month, it turned out to be obsessive, not romantic. My entire dating knowledge was - all you have to do is pick a Christian (that guy was a Christian) and avoid temptation until you quickly get married at a young age. That's probably the worst example, but not the only one.

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Even though I'm 31, I feel like I should be about 25.

(snip)

And it's about how I didn't get to make age-appropriate choices for myself growing up. (snip) For example, I feel like if I'd had the chance to meet some guys and develop relationships with them at a teenage-appropriate level (snip)

 

This.

Still, it's not like it's too late to try those relationships now. I'm 28 and sometimes hang out with people 6-10 years my junior; as a peer in a study group or a teammate in an online game. Also, my friends of similar age are immature in some ways and ok with it, making excellent company.

 

In my case it does have to do with partying. Not much, but anyway: i've done my share of that and, to a notable extent, grown bored of it. Sure I like to drink and hang out with friends, but going downtown to a noisy club seems repulsive. Ideally, they should be also bored of clubbing, gloss, playing through all the newest video games or showing off with stuff and knowledge. Instead, they should just concentrate on sharing themselves and making a real connetion, because that's where i need practice. Not saying that clubbing or 99% of video games are bad, surely they connect them to each other, but not to me anymore.

 

I think i have the boredom of a proper middle aged man, but still am not even as mature as some shining and smiling 16-year-olds. I did a brief stand-in for a teacher who was on a short personal leave, and watching the rowdy dynamics of this small and all-boys class taught me more than I as an inept non-teacher could impart on them. I was left in awe, feeling left behind and outside. Still as clueless as when I was their peer.

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I can completely relate!

I began my deconversion process about 6 years ago in my mid 40's . Prior to that I was a radical, sold-out, evangelical, charasmatic christian. I had spent many years with an evangelical mission group (YWAM) throughout my late teens and into my mid-twenties so I really missed out on all the usual stuff teens and young adults do in an effort to sort out who they are and what they want in life. To make a long story short, after my deconversion and my ongoing effort to 'find myself' now, I am , in a sense, going through my early twenties stage!  I had given up my dream of going to university to become a graphic designer to join the mission organization and 'serve god full time' and so this past year, I decided i would go to college and get my graphic design diploma even though I d worked in GD for many years, it was all self taught so wanted to actually have the college/classroom experience as well as prove to myself that I could do it, even now. I have also experimented with smoking, though decided I don't like it much and though we would occasionally have wine or beer - it was completely taboo to get a buzz let alone drunk but I have enjoyed the 'buzz' from wine and beer but am not interested in hard liquor or getting really drunk - hangovers are a bitch!  I've also danced for the first time in many years and had SO much fun with even 'secular music' that is fun to dance too - the wine helped too :)   I guess for me, I really am going through a mid life crisis as much as deconverting but it is all part of the openness to try new things and not pre judge it as bad just because you were told it was or the bible told you it was.  I am definately reexamining my core beliefs in many areas. Moral issues like abortion, homosexuality, sex outside of marriage etc have all taken a huge turn for me as well. It hs been so fun to meet people and talk about anytbhing without feeling i need to convert them or have already prejudged them as 'sinners'. I have been learning so much about others perspectives, culture, philosophies, knowledge and much more and it's an exciting time. I only wish I had began exercising the logical, reasoning side of my brain  long before now. i feel i'VE missed out on so much and want to experience everything I can in this short time on earth. As a 'worship/song leader' for several years as a christian, I miss playing and singing so have picked that up again and trying to find thoguth provoking songs I can sing with conviction just as I did as a christian when I truly believed what I was singing was truth. I love many types of music and listen to a wide variety. I try every so often to listen to christian music again but find it so much the same jargon over and over with many groups that lack the talent to be more creative both musiclally and content wise.

Anyway, just my 2 cents. Hope you find new joy and freedom in all you do as you continue up this path :)

 

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Even though I'm 31, I feel like I should be about 25.

 

It doesn't really have anything to do with "partying", and I'm a little surprised at how many people feel the need to explain that they don't drink or party.

 

 

Yeah, me too. I didn't realize everyone would focus so exclusively on that. I didn't even actually mean a party as I tend to have panic attacks at large group gatherings- just meant trying different things with a few friends, but not like a bring the house down party. I'd been at a bar and noticed this was like the fourth or fifth guy (my age) I've talked to in the past year that seemed to do some experimenting when younger. Smoking isn't just a partying thing. Neither is watching movies, listening to secular music,etc. I just get tired of always explaining why I was a prude, why I've never watched this movie, why I never drank til 24/26, why I still don't know what some of this popular music is. Even when my parents finally lifted the ban on secular music, I chose to continue listening to KLOVE as I felt as a Christian, that was the right choice to make. I feel at least ten years behind in relationships, too. Like all my peers have figured the general basics out and I have not or am just starting to. 

 

I have not had much luck making gamer friends outside my immediate family and relatives. I'm sure being a military brat and moving around a lot hasn't helped the situation. 

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Don't sweat all that stuff too much. If you're anxioius about it and trying to do it all just to do it, it's kind of pointless, and not really fun. On the other hand, if you come across opportunity and genuinely want to try it, go ahead. If you don't like it, then you know that and don't need to try it again. Also, if you're not sure you want to try something (drugs, smoking...) then there's no pressure. You can take or leave any of it.  That's the great freedom of being out of religion. YOU CAN CHOOSE!

I did try cigarrettes, some drugs, getting drunk, and a number of illegal actions before I was Christian. I did not try sex. I only did that with my wife. After my divorce, I tried sleeping around a bit. It was fun and interesting and now I'm settled with one lady again and don't care to wander at all. The drugs, cigs, and drink just have no interest for me either. So I tried them. I can try them again if I want. And I know that I don't want to. But I know I'm free either way. So are you.

ENJOY! ....whatever you do.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I can totally relate. As a Christian, I never had the 'fun' experiences of parties or sneaking into the latest horror movie at the theater. I still don't drink alcohol, though I don't think I would ever have smoked because of my asthma. I mostly listened to Christian music. When I did listen to secular stuff, I stayed away from anything too 'bad' like NIN, and combed the lyrics for swear words and anything sacrilegious or something else that would make baby Jesus cry, or worse, that my parents would disapprove of. I would actually read Christian reviews from sites like plugedin to make sure something was OK to watch or listen to. Even though it's been a few years, I'm still trying to catch up on this stuff by surreptitiously renting movies and TV shows from the library, or buying them and then hiding them. My church never even explicitly condemned dancing, but I haven't even done so since I became a Christian. And I hardly even know how to interact with people sometimes. I never got close to my non-Christian friends and rarely talked to them outside of school, nor did I like many of the Christians I knew. At this point in my life, as embarrassing as it is to say, I would actually consider people I know from college, that I have known for less than a year, are better friends than the ones I have known for all of high school, or even middle school.

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At this point in my life, as embarrassing as it is to say, I would actually consider people I know from college, that I have known for less than a year, are better friends than the ones I have known for all of high school, or even middle school.

 

I would have said the same thing in college (and those college friends, years later, are still closer to me than anyone from christian high school). After having mentioned this to public school, not fundy raised, kids, it turns out that a large number of people only really grow up enough to form lasting friendships near the end of high school anyway. Now, there's certainly some people who have friends they've known since elementary school, but there just seems to be something about the late high school/ early college age where many people start to develop more depth in themselves, which leads to more depth in friendships. Also happens with kids from a homogeneous background (like a small town, or a highly segregated area) - college is much more diverse, so you're much more likely to find someone you click with.

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Yeah, I know the feeling.. For me though it wasn't so much feeling like I missed out on partying since I did plenty through the mid part of my de-conversion. I honestly thought God was ok with it so long as I wasn't getting to the point of getting completely shit faced(since He never really talked to me anyways)... which did happen sometimes(hehehe). I just wish I wouldn't have had those Christian mentalities like three years back so I would've been free to start chasing after my dreams sooner without the fear of not being in the "will of God." Either way life seems to be working out for the better this way so I try not to beat myself up too much over it and I don't think you should either. Stay positive! Life is beautiful regardless.

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