Monday, July 31, 2017

A Perfect Life


"Comparison is the death of joy."
~Mark Twain

How often do you compare yourself to others? That person has a better car, a bigger house, a nicer spouse, a better body, a great job. I wish my kids were like that. He/she always has their shit together and never feels like I do.

I just finished reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. One of the worst things we can do is compare ourselves to others.  Especially in a social media society where posts consist of our great accomplishments.

We share our kid's shining moments, not that we can't get the right depression med combination, that they just told us they hate us, or that they may fail out of school.

We share our great vacation destinations, not that you may have fought the entire time or the weather sucked all but one day so you took 200 pictures in 12 hours.

We brag about our promotions but fail to express how the stress has you on anti-anxiety medication and the people you work with are all basically assholes.

We talk about the great workout we had but fail to mention our addiction to McDonald's or ice cream or wine.

And we no longer have real conversations to learn the truth. We meet people immediately hiding our own insecurities if we feel they are better in some way.

Recently a friend stated that he becomes very quiet on social media when things are shitty. That's a normal response. Another person came forth to say her life is falling apart and she can't keep up with everyone else's perfect life. But things are never what they seem. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain making you look all powerful when really you are bumbling through as much as anyone. We all may be feeling stupid, dealing with heartbreak, afraid or missing someone terribly.

I wish that all of the great posts came with small disclaimers. I'm to blame as much as anyone. Right at this moment, I have shitty things going on but none of them are devastating.  I have had enough devastating over my life to know that it's coming. So maybe that's why we get so excited to post the good stuff. Conflict, loss, pain, and sadness are all certainties of living. None of us will get out of it unscathed.

So don't look at everyone's "perfect life" and wonder where you went wrong. We have a limited amount of time and therefore a limited amount of f*cks to give when it comes to our happiness.

One of the greatest things we can do right now in a divided society that often seems so angry is to reach out when you know someone is having a tough time. A text, a call, a card or a visit can mean the world to another person. I know, personally, having to deal with some pretty heavy stuff with my middle son the words of a friend who dealt with something far worse gave me focus and strength. I will always be grateful for that.

So choose your f*cks carefully.  Don't waste them on jealousy or bitterness. The world may seem upside down right now with our government in shambles and our president deciding to hate and ban and grandstand at every turn. But we can still be good to each other.

"Maturity is what happens when one learns to only give a fuck about what's truly fuckworthy."
~Mark Manson: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life.