We are not quite novels. We are not quite short stories. In the end, we are collected works.”
When I was a little girl I lived in books, stories and fairytales, which took me on endless adventures and carried within them a promise. Not a singular promise but hundreds of little promises cradled together to form a great hope. The kind that made you look to the future with wide-eyed optimism and anticipation. Even through times when the world showed itself to be cold and cruel, I took comfort in the beautiful possibilities of life and an unwavering picture of a future filled with adventure and wonderful people. It’s the beauty of stories.
At a certain point, life gets a bit more complicated. We find ourselves lost in a weird in-between of “should be” and a reality that doesn’t seem to measure up. The world becomes this place where everyone appears to be going by the same script and you can’t find the right page. At this point in my life I not only can’t find the right page, I can’t even find the script. I lost that thing a long time ago. The fear and inevitable panic sets in that you’re not doing as much as you “should be,” you’re not having the experiences at this point in your life that you “should be,” you haven’t achieved as much as you “should” have, and if you don’t figure out a way to do all that you “should” be doing ASAP you’re never going get the chance to do all those things and time is ticking! Phew! It’s exhausting, it’s overwhelming, and it’s these thoughts that keep us from appreciating our experiences and enjoying whatever weird place we are in our lives.
The truth is, other people’s stories always seem more shiny and fun simply because we’re not living them. We’re not experiencing all the emotions and the highs and lows of it all. Some people certainly seem to have it all together and their lives appear to have all the components of what we would consider the recipe for success and happiness. But it’s all an outsiders’ view and most of it consists of stories we ourselves made up about what we think their lives are really like. They might not be as shiny as we think or maybe they are and everything is better and more exciting than we could ever imagine. At the end of the day it’s their story, and the comparison game is a dangerous thing.
Each of us has a path composed of a collection of moments that create our own unique story. I have found mine to be filled with moments both amazing and heartbreaking, encouraging and disappointing, happy and sad. I’ve had moments of great adventure and those of the mundane. There has been beauty in both. My story is my own, and comparing it to others would take away from every experience, every victory, every accomplishment. Appreciate your own story unfolding around you. Walk your unique path, see the beauty and humour in your experiences, live YOUR story.