It’s an easy thing to waste too much time wondering, worrying and comparing one’s life to those around you. I think we pretty much all do it from time to time, as there is plenty of status updates, tweets, blogs and check-ins that tell us that someone else is living a life that we are not. For every passing year of our house being the two of us and a puppy, there is another half dozen new parents with tumblrs full of photos taken with cameras that cost more than month’s rent. And with each year, Heather and I fret over developing our business entirely by ourselves while new ventures seem to pop all around us, both near and far. And friendships, relationships dissolve as they often do, but no one would know it by the status updates and blog posts about dinner parties that seem to feature food that typically only exists on TV cooking competitions.
There is real beauty in the world, and it can be seen, touched, smelled, lived and experienced – and yet we are robbed of it.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Life is too brief and precious to spend staring at tiny screens and feeling inadequate because someone else has curated an image of life. That life is digital, where homes are perfectly clean and decorated, where children don’t wear stained clothing and look insane when having their picture taken, where husbands are productive at work and still have time to maintain a vegetable garden and a wood shop out back, where workouts are easy and bodies fit in impossibly small sizes and where life is built around being independent business owners and creative directors here or there and families are all smiles and balanced support systems.
We have to be honest. Our house is often a wreck, and sometimes Taco Bell is the best dinner option. Our garden is a mint plant and a tomato plant. We don’t have kids, and our business is year two and a half of development, and we are constantly re doing our budget to deal with the reality of life from week to week. It is not just about the blogs or social media. The world around us is lost in a social arms race to display our lives in a way that appears successful and/or glamorous. And what is the expense? Too many people (us included) spend all their mental, emotional and spiritual energy comparing themselves to others rather than living. And that is the moment when “comparison is the thief of joy.” Heather and I, and all of us, are meant for something better than life spent trying to one-up someone in life: we are meant to live, show kindness, give, be in a community and to find our creativity and passion and do our collective best to be good people.
We are people, with real lives and real challenges, sharing joys and pain, and messy families and hope for the future. The more honestly we try and live out our real and unfiltered life, the more beautiful our future becomes. We won’t stop adventuring , but our life will be our life even when its not a piece of the online world that is apart of all our lives. We will be giving and kind. And that idea frees us from the game of comparison.
And there is joy in that beyond words.
(We try to not be too preachy here on Lost in Drawers, but this is pretty great stuff! )
Philippians 4 (The Message)8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.