The grass isn't always greener
I've been thinking a lot this week about how we're constantly comparing ourselves to other people or our past selves or the people we dreamed we'd be when we grew up. It seems like we all do a pretty good job of telling ourselves that life would be better if only we just got a new job/could afford to buy a house/got to travel more/lost 10lbs (delete as appropriate). It's nothing new, people have been comparing themselves to others for a really long time - the phrases "keeping up with the Jones'" and "the grass is always greener" certainly aren't recent additions. But the truth is, other people's grass has never been quite so visible as it is thesedays.
We live in the age of social media which is pretty ace most of the time. It's SO much easier to keep in touch with friends and family, share photos and organise events. But it does also mean that we see hundreds of updates from other people every single day announcing that they've bought a house or landed their dream job or bought an expensive handbag or quit their daily grind to travel the world.
It can be pretty relentless. From people sharing pictures of themselves loving life on golden beaches while you're just trying to get through another grey drizzly Monday to someone uploading snaps of their Pinterest worthy homes while you're surrounded by mess in your slightly damp, way too expensive rented flat, it can make you feel like your life is pretty lacking in comparison.
Because people only ever share the great stuff right? The status-worthy, meaty milestones, not the mundane everyday stuff. Add into the mix the slew of prevalent bloggers and Instagrammers styling up their versions of a perfect life and about 3897549875 internet articles telling you to "Quit the day job! Live your dream life!" or some other similar message, it can all feeling a little bit overwhelming.
I don't know about you, but I often feel like I'm falling behind by not completely having all aspects of my shit together. The amount of time I spend wondering if I'm wasting my life because I haven't quit my day job to pursue my one true dream (does anyone even have one true dream?! I definitely can't decide on one) and whether I'm going to get to 40 and have a mid-life crisis is bordering on insane. And I'm surely not the only one who gets moments of seething envy when I see someone travelling the world/living the Pinterest kitchen dream/bragging about not having to drag their backside onto crowded public transport at rush hour because #thatfreelancelife?
I've spent quite a bit of time chatting to my pals about this and it seems like we're all guilty of thinking that the grass is greener on the other side from time to time. The fact that we can so easily see what everyone else is up to (even those odd folk that you never even really spoke to in school but now stalk on the reg, obvs) does nothing but highlight the astounding choice that we as a generation have to muddle through everyday. We have all grown up being told we can do anything we want to do, be anyone we want to be. But realistically, we can't do everything, and having to choose what we do want to spend our lives doing can feel like a pretty overwheming decision to make. Especially when we have a reminder of the many different paths and options day in, day out.
It's easy to feel like you're not being bold enough or brave enough or successful enough.
Which is daft really, isn't it? Other people's lives are not a measure of our own successes.
The truth is, the grass isn't always greener. In fact, it very rarely is. That girl who was on your course at uni who is now travelling the world will likely have moments of immense homesickness and spend time worrying about what they're going to do for a job when they get home. Your friend who keeps getting promoted might be killing it in the career stakes by spending every waking hour at work and eliminating any chance of a social life. Your work colleague who seems so totally loved up with her seemingly perfect boyfriend might be super jealous of your first date tales and freedom to watch whatever you want on telly.
We can all find something to be jealous about. To obsess over and convince ourselves we'd be happier if we achieved it. I don't know if it's human nature or something that is unique to our generation, but it seems like a default position for so many of us. And it does nothing but weaken our confidence and our gusto and our general hustle.
Recently I've been trying to practice thinking about what I truly want to get out of life rather than comparing myself to everyone on my Instagram feed. It's really helping. It's made me realise that although I love travelling and that I spend a lot of Monday afternoons dreaming of sunnier climes, realistically I'm way too much of a homebird to jack everything in and travel the world. I'd miss my Mum too much, and tea, and the cosiness of being at home. It's made me realise that although my career is a really important part of my life, it's not THE most important life, and I have so many other interests that I want to have enough energy to pursue. It's made me realise that I'm actually really happy with the balance and direction of my life at the moment. It's made me realise that the grass on my side of the fence is actually pretty damn green.
*I'm sorry for all the grass metaphors in this post. I couldn't help it.