Originally published 1/6/2014
Writing is hard. For real. It’s a very weird thing to put feelings and thoughts on paper and then put them out there for the world to see. I haven’t posted a blog since November 2012. Let me be more truthful than that… I haven’t written anything that would qualify as real writing since 2012. That is a very scary thing when writing is ‘your thing’. Imagine if you loved dancing more than anything is the whole world and then didn’t dance for over a year. Or (to put it in terms most people will understand), what if you didn’t have sex for over a year? Would you survive? Absolutely. Would you feel like something was missing? Yup. Would you be kind of miserable and sad but push on and pretend you weren’t? That’s a little more accurate. I’ve been literarily celibate and it has sucked.
So, in an attempt to regain my credibility as ‘someone who loves to write’, I’m going to start my 2014 writing adventure over the next few days with suggestions for how to be happy in the new year. If no one but my mom reads this, oh well. She’s my biggest fan anyway. (Hi Mom!)
Here we go…
Stop comparing yourself to everyone around you.
No one is doing better than you. Everyone has their own unique problems. In the age of social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and a host of others), I think we find ourselves comparing our behind-the-scenes struggles with other people’s public highlight reels. I appreciate optimism and overall positivity on these sites, but I also recognize that just because someone looks ridiculously happy in a variety of pictures posted, doesn’t mean their lives are problem free.
Let me give you a great celebrity example:
This photo was taken directly from Khloe Kardashian’s Instagram account. She posted this around the time her husband was rumored to be struggling with extreme drug addiction while having extramarital affairs. But that’s not what you see here. What you see is a beautiful woman in unattainably fashionable attire about to board her private jet. And you think ‘her life must be perfect’. This is only an example. Page through social media and you’ll see examples in your own life. People only want you to see the best versions of themselves. I am incredibly guilty of this myself. I take 50 pictures and end up posting one. My patient and amazing husband is so used to the phrase, “Let’s take one more…” that he no longer bats an eye.
You want examples? A picture that never graced the pages of Facebook (yet somehow was not swiftly deleted from my phone):
A picture I was more than happy to post:
They are called professional photographers for a reason.
The reality is, I am sitting in sweats (which Karl Lagerfeld famously said are “…a sign of defeat.”) on my couch looking particularly homeless 95% of the time I’m on Facebook. However, the times I’m posting pictures on Facebook are the times I’ve spent 2 hours getting my hair and makeup as close to magazine quality as possible and have 35 outfits in a pile on my floor as a sacrifice to the one I chose to go out in. I am guilty. I don’t think I post like this to deceive anyone into thinking my life is better than it is, but rather, because I want my life to include more of the fun, flirty and fabulous photos and posts than it currently does. I’m not saying we need to stop posting photos like that. I’m just saying that we need to stop assuming others have an amazing life that is out of our reach. So again, don’t assume anything about anyone based on the very little that you see of them through social media. Everyone has their own issues and problems. Stop comparisons. Ignore distractions. Mind your own business.
Live for today.
Every day people die. Every day people fill their head with regrets. Every day people wish they had one more day. People are constantly stuck in a different time. Some on past mistakes, relationships and regrets. Others are the opposite and constantly think about what will happen tomorrow or five years down the road. Many times it takes a life shattering moment or a near-death experience to get people to realize that living for today is so important.
Don’t let a day pass that you don’t feel grateful for. Don’t get so caught up in worrying about other things that you forget how incredible today is. I’m writing this on a day when it is currently -41 degrees with the windchill. That is a real thing. This is not a joke (or if it is, I don’t get it). Just to prove it:
See? I bet you didn’t believe me.
It is so cold out right now that all schools have been cancelled and newscasters are recommending you don’t go outside. But, it’s a beautiful day because I sat down and wrote and it felt good. There are people right now dying, starving and in pain. But I am here and I enjoyed every single moment of today. Even going outside to start my vehicle (against recommendations) felt good because I was able to feel the biting, frigid air on my skin and in my lungs. It felt good to know that I was able to wake up next to my husband, snuggle with my dogs and sit down at the computer. I tried not to think about tomorrow or yesterday, but instead focused on today. Is it always easy? Nope. Is it necessary. Absolutely.
Again, I like to end each of my posts with something that makes me smile. Today, it is this:
If you can do this, life figures the rest out.