This has pretty much become my mantra this year. When I keep feeling like I’m doing something wrong in life, when I feel like I should have accomplished more and should be further ahead than where I am right now, I try to remember this, and it helps a little bit. It’s also been pretty motivational to remember that instead of being jealous or upset that other people seem to be better off than I am, even as I perceive that they don’t have to work quite as hard as I do to keep my head above water, I should use that energy to drive myself to do better. Working harder AND smarter!
It was something I had to keep repeating to myself, mentally and once or twice out loud, when I got up yesterday and found out I’d been added to the Facebook group for my high school class’s ten-year reunion.
I clicked through to some of the profiles of people I haven’t talked to since graduation for good reason: I, like a lot of kids, did not have an easy time with high school. I was teased, mocked, bullied. It more or less started in fifth grade when I had both braces and acne, and it pretty much didn’t stop until I got the hell out of my hometown when I was 17. Don’t get me wrong–I had some great friends among my classmates, and I’m still in touch with a lot of them today. But back to the kids who taunted me and spoke to me like I was some kind of lower life form because my parents didn’t have money and I was awkward and unattractive: so many of them have beautiful kids, good jobs, and own their own houses now, from what I can glean from Facebook. I have none of this. I have a wonderful fiance, two degrees, and a backbone I never dreamed of having in high school–but I’m not using my degrees right now, I’m still fighting the anxiety disorder that I imagine helped to make me a pretty easy target back then, and we aren’t anywhere near being settled enough to have a house of our own. Hell, we don’t even know where we’ll be geographically once we get married, since Dallas has sent out so many job applications for next school year, so we don’t even have an apartment…we have a bedroom, bathroom, and home office-type room at my in-laws’ house. At any rate, I’m obviously not attending the reunion. Frankly, I have no interest in giving the people who belittled me in high school more material to discuss with their friends who also bullied me (ten years is a long time, but I don’t think it’s long enough for someone to realize they’ve been an asshole). A more practical reason to not attend is that it’s tentatively scheduled for the Saturday before our wedding, so we wouldn’t have the time, money, or inclination to travel anyway.
In general, I’m really trying to remember that it’s no good to compare where I am to where other people are. There’s no point in me dwelling on other people’s perceived accomplishments. I’m me, they’re them, and maybe I’m right where I’m supposed to be right now.
It’s been helpful to think about the phrase on that image–“comparison will kill you”–when I’m comparing my life to someone else’s. I don’t know what kind of advantages they’ve got, what influence outside forces have on their life as compared to mine. I’m fortunate to have an amazing husband-to-be and the support of both of our wonderful families. I’ve got a job that enables me to pay the bills and have a little left over. The situation in general is not ideal, but it’s working right now. When I can’t keep myself from comparing where somebody else is to where I am, I try to turn it around into motivation. I’m pushing myself harder every day.