Comparison is an Ego disease.
Comparison is an ego disease.
My posting about style is about as amateur as it gets, I'm aware. There are women my age (and younger!) running fashion magazines, labels, brands, million-hit-blogs and I'm touting the virtues of hand-me-downs. Luckily, that's not the point - but my brain insists on it being a factor.
Last night, I went to a hookah bar with Mickey and Anthony (both 22). Their 5:30pm shots of tequila allowed for a rather exploratory scope of conversation. I saw my brother and his friend in a different light - as struggling young adults, uncomfortable in their growing pains - it is a tough summer. Most of his friends, including Anthony, graduated while Mick's staying on to do another year for his graduate degree. Everyone's working and moving away from friends and girlfriends - wondering if and how these relationships will last. Mickey has a new apartment and internship, multiple jobs within the University, and is starting to formulate potential start-up ideas. Michael Daniel Ladines is doing the damn thing. It's impressive to watch. It's familiar, however, to see him this weekend - on an impromptu road-trip to see far-away friends, recounting high school missed opportunities while tipsy with his sorely missed best friend. Doing the damn thing is doing Mickey's head in with ALL THE CHANGE. Every fluid reflection was a validation of his or their choices, soaked with insecurity. Everyone is scrambling in their early 20s.
Settling into my 30s, I've slowed down a bit. I'm taking a minute to look around. This gives me the freedom to play older, wiser (in my own head) while I eat chicken and salad and they opt for beer instead of food. Mickey remarked that Mom could not stop talking about me, how happy and proud of me she is. While she's always been positive about my growth, this struck me as odd - I haven't done anything. Aside from the past year of intense self-care resulting in significant weight loss and a healthy romantic relationship, nothing's changed. Is that worthy of the beaming pride I can actually feel over the phone from my mother?
IS SUCCESS BETTER QUANTIFIED BY HOW YOU MEET YOUR PERSONAL AND EMOTIONAL NEEDS IN ANY GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCE THAN BY HITTING ARBITRARY SOCIETAL MILESTONES?
The definition of success doesn't have to be so rigid. I mean - Maureen just got MARRIED - exceptionally well, I might add - no detail of that warm, expansive party was overlooked. Sarah P. and Rachel both GRADUATED (in hella tough, impressive subjects). Kate and Pam moved back to the States after 5 or so years LIVING ABROAD and extensive traveling (I'm definitely about that life). Sarah H. and Hafsah each HAVE 3 KIDS (who are absurdly cute and I sometimes claim as my own)! Alongside that, there are the timelines and accomplishments of celebrities and 'locally famous' people to marvel at. I could get really caught up in WHY AREN'T I DOING THOSE THINGS? But... NAH. In this moment everything is okay. Somewhere, somehow, I've stopped comparing. I've stopped adhering to a rigidly defined definition of success.
We live in a culture that enforces instant gratification and a strict set of circumstances to define success and happiness. Success, satisfaction, and happiness are not in an object (bottle, ensemble, or paycheck). Those things are achieved by your reactions to life - how you respond to what's directly in front of you. So, I've stopped comparing. It's a weapon.
I've raised my awareness of how damaging comparison-living is. I consciously move away from it. I move toward participating in the moment and being good to myself, honoring what feels good (like documenting my outfits and using it as both a self-actualization tool and a fun blog component). Other things:
- Take the facebook app off your phone (you can still access the site from your web browser but I find myself checking it WAY less).
- Unplug -put the phone down- when in an actual IRL social setting.
- Have conversations and observe that others are doing this same constant self-evaluation in their own head.
- Accept yourself - you're exactly where you're supposed to be - taking teeny-tiny or even large steps to whatever makes you happy.
These little adjustments in behavior and perception have helped me see what a success simply being alive and grateful for it really is. Removing comparison and imagined expectations gives me freedom - the freedom you might not feel from under that cap and gown and the weight of the world of opportunities on your shoulders.
"Don't let perfection be the enemy of the good." (Voltaire) and 'what's good' is subjective and within yourself not quantifiable by comparison.