Do you ever wonder if you measure up? Have you ever experienced a birthday that makes you think twice about who you are and where you’re going? Read this for Bridget’s advice to regain control of the crazy thought train in your mind.
I’m having a bit of an existential crisis these days and I’m discovering ways to regain control. When it’s at it’s worst I start by breathing deeply and it (surprisingly) seems to help. You see, it’s my birthday. Pause for celebration and cheers, woo hoo! That’s all well and good, fun and exciting, rainbows and unicorns, etcetera etcetera, until I get thinking about who I am, where I am, where I’m headed, and the inevitable monster otherwise known as “comparing yourself to others.”
Maybe you’re clever enough to think “just don’t do that, silly!” except we are conditioned to do it! Every day there are several different sources pestering us to compare ourselves with others. In other words we’re bombarded by TV ads, billboards on buildings, posters at the bus stop, glossy pages of magazines, ads in the newspaper, and even while scrolling through Instagram or Facebook we are forever confronted with beguiling images. Each of them asking us to contemplate our wardrobe, our health, our skin, & our weight, by providing us with some idyllic model to compare ourselves with.
“Compare yourself with me!” an overly Photoshopped, teenage-looking, model says. “Buy this overpriced product so you appear magically flawless! What? Can’t afford it? Put it on credit or just feel bad that you don’t have enough money to look as perfectly hot as me!”
Image found on the Armani website in the beauty section. Julia Bergshoeff is technically 20 years old.
“Now Look here! We’re a perfect family with perfect jobs, perfect children, and a perfect house. Look at us getting along perfectly. Everything is so… what’s the word? Oh I know–perfect!”
Image found in the Ikea catalogue. It’s eerily tidy for a 3 kid household.
Not to mention, in between those glossy ad pages, and popping up online are those oh-so-helpful articles that tell you all about markers and goals for someone of your own age. At this point you have this, you can afford to own this, you’re doing this, your friends are like this, and you believe this, blah, blah, blah.
Let’s not forget the personal realisations that you and your friends have. Just last week someone told me a friend of theirs decided they’re now too old to ever be a prodigy at anything. Equally important, I have a friend who recently posted an article asking the question “what if I just want to be an average person, with an average life?”
It seems doctors, friends, family, and strangers like to remind you about the issues you’re not interested in talking about. You know, those not-so-tiny life altering decisions that other people seem to think it’s okay to casually mention. Things like pushing you to get a job, buy a house, have kids, and all that “normal people” jazz. But you know what? I just want to say a big, huge, giant…
to all of this hullabaloo. Because it’s none of their business.
With this is mind, I have zero interest in striving to be “socially normal.” First of all, that’s as boring as being stuck on a long haul flight without a functioning entertainment system. Being normal and fitting into society is highly over-rated and it’s impossible anyway. Besides, most of the things that would make us normal are often out of our control. For example, you can only control your health and your procreation abilities up to a point and the rest of it is all up to mother nature–and you know what? She can be a bit of a bitch!
What’s more, I don’t have control over other people. To the end that, I can’t magically make my family members, friends, strangers, or even my own husband do anything. They are in control of themselves and themselves alone, period.
And you know what else? As much as I’m in control of my own feelings and my own destiny, things don’t always go my way. No shocker there. Consequently, I can sit around wallowing in self pity or (as the theme of today seems to be going) I’ll say…
I refuse to feel bad about my past, present, and future because some self help gurus say it’s my own fault. It’s none of their business either!
And so, here are my thoughts on life, the universe, and everything. My words of wisdom and my best advice to you, like a snow globe of your own crazy, take your life, shake it up, turn it on it’s head, tell everyone to mind their own business, believe what you want, then make your own future.
Quote found in Danielle LaPorte’s day planner.