You know those moments when you’re looking at someone and you think, wow, I wish my life was like theirs? Or from the other side, you look at what they’re going through and think, oh, wow, I am so glad that’s not me. And you sort of do this in-mind comparison of lives—not because life is a competition, but because this is how we gain admiration, empathy and compassion. These are moments of growth, moments of truth, I think.
Or conversely, and for reasons I will never understand, there are those who believe life really is a competition, and they set out to win. Except it’s an impossible thing to do, because no hero in the world can win every single battle. And no one person can horde all the money. And no single person will ever own all the recognition. Or beauty. Or the biggest house/fastest car/best book deal/whatever. And the problem with this game they play is that because of all the above mentioned things, those people will never feel like they win at anything. How discouraging! And also, I think, lonely.
The truth: comparing ourselves to others is highly unhealthy. Life does NOT = competition.
Another truth: growing in admiration, empathy and compassion is great as long as we don’t spoil it with the above mentioned mistake.
It is absolutely, totally, and completely possible to be happy for the success of others, exclusive of resentment, anger, or envy. It is. And it is up to us to decide what we do with both our successes and our failures. I’ve had some of both this week. I did not cry hard over the failures, nor did I run out and celebrate the successes, because I’m trying hard to take it all in stride. Right now it would be so easy to look at the journeys of others and wish for things not in my direct path. But I don’t. I won’t.
Because my journey is mine, and mine alone. I am the one who chose to strap on my seat belt and say yes to the ride. And it’s up to me to keep my hands inside the cart and hold on.
When the car stops and I climb out, I truly, genuinely hope that there are people waiting for me on the platform, as well as those in the cars not far behind mine. Because no matter how fast or how slow or which track we choose to take, we are all attempting to end up in the same place.
And I think it would be really awesome if we could all plan one big party in the end.