The Art of Comparing Ourselves to Other People or Someone Will Always Be Better Than You, and That's OK

Back in January 2017, I got an email from LinkedIn – all carefully laid out, lots of nice pictures, filled with professional portraits of my college acquaintances and filling me in on what people are doing. What have you been up to? it asked me. Update your profile now!

Dammit, LinkedIn. How dare you taunt me. At the time, I didn’t really have anything to add to my profile – I’d already written in the internship I’d just finished, and my days were mostly filled with focusing on finding a full-time job.

What else could I update? “Eating immense amounts of chocolate.” “Running for 10 minutes till I reach Trader Joe’s, which is perfect because I’m already super tired and need food.”

I spend too much time comparing myself to other people (any time, really, is too much.) I know this is bad – I‘ve read enough books and self-care internet articles to know that. So much has already been written on the subject in this age of social media and FOMO.

It’s something I’ve been consciously working on, but I’m human, and I have an Instagram. Envy happens.

Yet despite the occasional moments of why am I like this, the glimpsing of LinkedIn titles and wondering if it’s already too late for me, if everyone else is so far ahead it’s ludicrous to think I can catch up – despite all that, I’ve never considered the option ofnot doing what I’m doing. Of true stagnation.

Because in order to keep myself moving forward, I have to live my life as if the option of stopping does not even exist.

Beneath the flutters of doubt, I do know that it doesn’t really matter what other people think, just like my opinions aren’t going to affect your life most of the time.

You’re on your road, and I’m on mine. Of course they aren’t going to look the same.

And what does being “ahead” even mean? What that looks like varies from person to person because, duh, we’re all different and want different things. My brain doesn’t always remember this, so I have to pause and remind myself sometimes.

So what if my photos don’t look like a professional travel photographer’s? Or if I can’t keep up with the Nordic teens on social media who somehow take amazing photos of incredible places all the time and maybe don’t go to school idk???

So what if my writing isn’t perfect? If it was, we’d be done here. I’d be off making millions helping stressed-out upper middle class parents get their kids into college with immaculate essays on the social injustices of this country (I assume.)

So what if this is the 3rd paragraph I’ve started with “so what?” This is my blog. I do what I want.

If we’re constantly comparing ourselves to the J.K. Rowlings and Chris Burkards of the world – or even the people in our lives who are doingcompletely different things from what we want to do, but look at how successful they are! – then we’ll be unlikely to get anywhere ourselves.

(Also, quick reminder that J.K. Rowling was broke when she started writingHarry Potterand the Philosopher’s Stone.)

And the people who are doing what you want to do? That’s awesome. Use them as your inspiration to get better and keep moving.

There will always be room for your success, too.

And it works out. Just like your mom/mentor/great-Aunt Matilda tells you it will. I got a job I enjoy and learn a lot from, I updated my LinkedIn, I stopped thinking about it.

Well, OK, I still have some self-doubt. But I try to use it to channel my actions away from complacency. So I’ll publish this piece anyway, and the next one, because the other choice is stopping, and that option doesn’t actually exist.

The point is that I want something that I can back on a year from now and say, “What is this drivel?? Why did I write this??” because that will mean that I have grown in that time.

So hi, future me. You wrote this drivel. Here’s hoping you learned something from it.

 

Looking for context? Take a peek at the first Wandering Adult article.

Wander Weekly #1: Wonder Women

Welcome to Wander Weekly, a.k.a. what I’m consuming at the moment. That was a lot of W’s, and I’m sorry. Not that sorry, though.

In honor of the recent release of Wonder Woman, this first round-up is heavy on wonderful women.

Enjoy the first edition!

Subscribed to:

  • The Girl’s Night In (GNI) Newsletter

GNI sends out a witty, topical newsletter every Friday morning (so if you sign up today, you can get your first one tomorrow.) It typically includes a range of lighthearted and thought-provoking topics, from things to do during a night in to interviews with awesome bo$$ ladies. Also, the founder is based in Washington, D.C., so they sometimes host IRL events here if you’re in the area.

Subscribe here.

Girl's Night In

Listening to:

  • “Line of sight” by ODESZA feat. Wynne + mansionair

ODESZA has been playing on repeat in my life lately (it’s very hard to avoid dancing at work when the beat drops in this song, but I try to limit myself to vigorous head nodding.)

Also, a fun game is trying to sing along to the chorus.

Reading:

This book is a compilation of interviews with entrepreneurial women, from product designers to filmmakers. My favorites so far have been with Thao Nguyen, lead singer of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, and writer/actor/filmmaker/director Desiree Akhavan, who I previously had not heard of but now want to be my best friend.

Some good quotes:

More risk taking, less ego.

– Desiree Akhavan

I learn more about my process when something that makes me cringe emerges. If I’m not making mistakes or changing, I’m stagnating.

– artist/designer Christine Schmidt

Watching:

  • “Where the Wild Things play”

Great song, great footage, badass ladies. Thisinterview with filmmaker Krystle Wright is pretty great, too:

…a friend told me, ‘Krystle, if your mum has heard of the song then there is no way you can afford it.’ I ignored the advice and went after it and did not want to take no for an answer.

Bonus Pro Tip:

  • Use Amazon Smileto #buyallthethings instead of regular Amazon

Every time you buy something, Amazon donates a portion of the purchase price to charity, and you can choose from over 1 million charities to support. I was lazy in college and somehow never made the switch until a few months ago, but now every purchase I make kicks back a bit to the World Wildlife Fund.

 

No idea what’s going on? Me neither. Check out the first Wandering Adult article here.

 

Welcome to The Wandering Adult!

Hi there!

This is where I’ll provide you some context, a brief welcome, and a thank you for getting this far.

I’ve been meaning to start a blog for awhile. Much of my procrastination revolved around a) me being a procrastinator and b) the fact that I couldn’t come up with a title. What would my focus be??? Who is my target audience?? How can I maximize my SEO?????????????

Then I scrapped that road and just started writing this post, sans title.

What it amounts to is that sometimes my brain gets too full and I have to let stuff out. (It’s crowded with thoughts such as, Where is that corgi going and is it creepy if I follow it? and How much longer can I wait to eat this avocado before it turns on me? Corgis and avocados are things I, as a basic millennial girl, worry about a lot.)

So, I’ve decided to write down my thoughts.

Specifically, I’m starting this blog to write about my own experiences and adventures as a *cough* twenty-something *cough* who graduated from college and realized,I have no idea what to do with my life.

Original stuff, I know.

In my own experience, adulthood sometimes feels like many of us are floundering around in the dark, looking for the light switch that will illuminate everything and suddenly make the path forward clear. As hard as we look, we still find ourselves clinging to the wall, reaching our hands out with the hope that someday we’ll catch that dang switch.

If I have learned something in the last year since I was forced to leave graduated from college, it is that the switch is never coming.

Wandering, however, is not necessarily a bad thing.

This blog is intended as a creative space to document my quest to sort out life’s fun curveballs and find my own happiness – in my own words.

For me, finding happiness must include:

  • travel,
  • getting outside, and most of all
  • finding your “passion” (buzzword alert!) in a world that sometimes seems like it’s trying to beat you down with a stick.

You’ll find a lot of those things here.

I can’t promise I will always be correct in my musings or assumptions, but I’ll give you my darndest thoughts and advice anyways. And probably too many em dashes. Sorry.

So, here it is: The Wandering Adult.

For anyone who is trying to figure out what to make of this “life” and “adulthood” thing and would like to read along for stories of how I deal with losing the path, finding the path and realizing it’s going in an entirely different direction, or saying “screw it” and forgetting the path. And for anyone who likes adventures.

Hope you enjoy.

If you’d like to learn a little more about me & the blog, you can do so here.