Many people wake up one day and realize that they achieved their goals later in life than many or most of the people around them. A person may get married or reach a career milestone much later than their family members or friends. Some of us may look back our lives, thinking ourselves to be deficient and spend a lot of energy reflecting on why our lives are not on track.

But the answer is simple. The Sages of the Land of Israel (Midrash Rabba Bereshith LXVIII. 4) teach us that God delays the happiness of the righteous. The lesson is learned by observing Jacob and Esau. Jacob married at the age of 84, whereas Esau married at age 40 more half of Jacob’s age.

Lagging behind in our lives by comparison with others or relative to our own personal expectations does not necessarily reflect any personal flaws or poor choices in life. As we see, even the wicked Esau found happiness much earlier than Jacob.