I have not written in far too long. My soul yearns for it and yet the muse, the time…seems absent. One of my goals in writing here is to bring a smile and some comfort in what may feel like a dark and overwhelming world. Thus, when I’m feeling a bit blue, confused, or lacking, I do not write. But I realize there are too many false “perfections” already out there. I do not want to present myself as a filter, that I’m always happy or have it all figured out. Like you, I am always learning, always growing, always falling down. Life is messy. Life is hard. Life is heartbreaking. But it is all of those “ugly” bits that allow us to appreciate the good parts.
I thought when I graduated and took a job at the library that my life would get better. I thought I would have more time for the things I enjoy and for family; yet here I am, still doing school work, working longer hours, not doing anything I enjoy. Somewhere along the way, I took a wrong turn, fell off the tracks, and now I must right myself.
Why do I tell you this?
Because in a world that relies so much on social media and snapshots of lives, it is important to see past the filters and the captions. Social media is but a glimpse into a person’s life, one that hides much. Look into the eyes to see the soul. Is there a light there that is being shared with the world, or hidden tears?
Somewhere along the way, I think we decided that a person must always be happy and have stuff in order to be deemed successful; but that is an impossibility. We are humans, full of fluctuating chemicals, and emotions, influenced by an every changing environment. To stagnate into one emotion would be rendering the term “happy” to a meaningless adjective. And stuff, well, it’s just that…stuff. It is a temporary high to fill a void that will still be there when the high wares off.
Being successful is a personal concept that can evolve and change as you do. It is not something that society or others should be allowed to slap on you like a produce label. When a four year old child learns their alphabet or how to count to ten, that is their success! When a person with a desire to learn how to knit creates their first scarf, that is their success! When a 74 year old learns how to FaceTime using technology that didn’t exist a decade ago, that is their success! When we stop projecting other people’s success and failures onto ourselves, we learn to claim and accept our own terms of what success and failure is. It is not the same for everyone because everyone is not the same.
So where am I going with all of this rambling? I am writing my way through my thoughts in order to understand that I need to stop comparing myself to others, defining myself by others. In order to be me and be content, I have to just be me, whoever that is. I don’t need to have all the answers. I don’t need to fix all the problems. I don’t have to have perfect hair, an outfit that everyone approves of, or talk smart. It’s okay to fall, to fail, to cry, to have dirty dishes, and to do nothing. Those are all temporary states of existence just as being busy, being happy, or having money. Life is just one big roller coaster of craziness and you never know when the next drop may be or what’s looming around the bend.
Don’t beat yourself up because your life doesn’t look the same as someone else’s. We weren’t designed to be clones. We were made to be a flavorful, colorful, eclectic mess that together makes this world a very interesting and every changing place. Just be you – happy or sad – be the real you. When Shakespeare wrote “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” (As You Like It), it didn’t mean we need to hide behind a mask and give the audience what it wants to see. We want to see you, because you are the only one who can play you. (not sure if that makes sense but I’m leaving it as that’s my line of logic…lol)
So whether you are riding a high, or down in the trenches, I hope you find some peace, courage, and motivation to just keep going and keep being wonderful, unique you.
Be gentle with yourself and others always.