On Comparisons

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Some wisdom for your Friday…

… or at least, the kind of wisdom you can get from a thirty-something still-unpublished childless day-job-frustrated person who has been brewing in a vat of self-doubt all month.

Why the case of the sads and anxiety?

There are many things I could point to: trying to planning a wedding and fretting about how bad I am at planning, stressing about the unnecessarily contrary girl at work and whether the problems I’m having are my own fault, frowning at the deepening wrinkles on my face that weren’t here last year, hearing about how all my peers (including my sister!) are getting knocked up and worrying that when I do decide to have a child I’ll have missed the boat because I’m too old, or conversely worrying that when I do decide to have a child it will work and then I’ll be bad at mothering, fretting that I’ll never write a story good enough to be published and will therefore be stuck at mediocre day jobs forever, wondering if I should become a freelance writer instead and then worrying about what health insurance would look like without a “real” job… you get the picture.

What it all comes down to, though, is this: comparison.

Why am I worried so much about my wedding? I’m comparing it to all the great ones I’ve been to.

Why am I worried about having babies when I don’t even want them yet? Because seemingly every person I know is pregnant right now.

Why am I thinking I’ll never have a fulfilling job? Because I’m looking at all the people who do and thinking I’m not as good as them.

Ditto with being a published author.

All of this just serves to show: comparison is the death of happiness.

My wedding won’t be like everyone else’s, because I’m not everyone else. Neither will my book, or my potential child, or my career path. I’m me, flaws and new wrinkles and all. And, in spite of the amount of time I spend doubting myself, I do like me. Most of the time. So it helps to remind myself of that every once and awhile.

So, self: here are some things you do have:

A thing you love doing with all your heart, regardless of financial gain. (By this I mean writing).

Another thing you love doing with all your heart, that can be done anywhere, anytime. (By this I mean reading.)

A well-paying job that sucks only some of the time. (Today I actually got my work station switched closer to the window, so there’s that.)

My health. (Well, right now I have a cold, but nothing worse.)

A partner who loves me. (Seriously, he is the best.)

Family and friends who love me. (Also the best, pregnancies and all.)

Enough money that I can regularly donate to help people less fortunate than me. (Given I have so little time to volunteer.)

A deck off my bedroom, with a door at which I can stand in the middle of the night and watch the rain showers come through. (Also, I can read out there when it’s not raining.)

Thin mints in the freezer. (Good for a cold, right?)

Pumpkin bundt cake in the kitchen at the only-sometimes-sucky job today. (Also good for a cold?)

A lot of other things. (That I may list out somewhere regardless. I used to do this — in college I kept a journal just called “things to be happy about” that was filled with phrases like “Josh’s smile” and “my dice pillow”. I must find that the next time I’m in my childhood bedroom. The journal, not the dice pillow.)

So in conclusion: I have a pretty good life. Maybe not the perfect life — but if I had that, there’d be nothing to work towards.

And so, to my self (and to you, too, if you’re having one of those months): calm down. Stop comparing. And keep on keeping on.

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6 thoughts on “On Comparisons

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