The Comparison Game & Patience
A bunch of articles/blogs/twitterings have been written about how the internet is the worst for the comparison game in looking at life, with facebook being the worst offender. The whole looking at what other people have/are doing/what stage of their life is like/etc is a huge part of human nature and the natural instinct to see how one person measures up against others in their peer group/age bracket and so on. And people write about it because now with our lives being all over the internet, it seems to get worse, harder to avoid, and overall, just plain shittier.
It’s easy to say “don’t compare” or “live your life for what you want” or any number of platitudes about this evil game of comparison we play. It’s easy to block people on facebook who are all “look at me and my fabulousness” or to not put your life out there to even think about comparing. Even if you do all these things, you’re still going to compare- even if you’re so anti establishment and who gives a flying rat’s ass about looking at your life side by side with others- it’s part of our human DNA to see what we’re like against other people.
I used to do it all the time and I think the comparison game gets worse when you’ve come out from a huge life interruption like a death, a divorce, or a job loss. I know one of the reasons I rushed into marriage and home ownership and what I thought was happily ever after was HUGELY because of the comparison game and my lack of patience with wanting life to start. All my friends were married and I wanted to be too. My lack of patience and desire to fit into some mold led me to not listen to my gut and ending up divorced.
Now I find myself as a 30 year old surrounded by friends and colleagues who are procreating left and right. For the longest time I didn’t think having children was for me and so when people had offspring in my 20s, I didn’t feel any sort of weird longing for their situation. As time has gone on and life has happened, I find myself wanting a family of my own– but not right now. The facebook alerts and photos are piling up with babies galore and while I coo and smile at them like I never did before, I don’t full the ache of comparing my life to theirs and wanting the same thing right now. I hope that a family is in my future, but it will come when the time is right– and I know that time isn’t right now. Learning this idea of patience and the cliche “when the time is right” is probably the next greatest lesson I learned from my divorce (after listening to my gut/trusting my instincts). And that lesson has no comparison.