It was my birthday last week and in a couple days I will have spent a whole week being my new age of 33. While I like my life and believe I’m becoming ever closer to who I’m truly meant to be, and have (minimal to) no desire to be in my twenties anymore, I still continue to feel like I’m not where I’m supposed to be. This feeling however, only arises when those little gremlins be creeping into my brain whispering not nice things, mostly comparing myself to my peers and pointing out what I lack. And you know what they say about comparing yourself to others?
Thievery. Pure thievery. In Teddy Roosevelt’s words:
Comparison is the thief of joy.
Thank you Mr. Roosevelt.
But it’s true. Little thoughts that grab a hold and stay awhile whisper their sweet nothings without warning, sharing what I’m missing: how I’m off the mark. I compare myself against others too quickly and too often. And though I bring my awareness to these comparisons, it still amazes me just how often I hear those deafening whispers.
Winning the battle lies in focusing on what you have; in being grateful.
I often feel like I lack so much. Like I’m missing out on so many amazing experiences (homes! babies! family! pets! world travel! career!) social media constantly streams and feeds me. It’s a constant all too real struggle: focusing on what I have versus what I don’t versus what Facebook shows me what I could or should have. When that thieving bastard tries to take my joy, I fight back. Ever a struggle to be aware of the damage them thoughts bouncing around in my head make. It is through study and practice, and as it would be of late, reading a much beloved book, Creating Money, I have been reminded to really look at the things and areas in my life where I feel I lack. And instead, imagine and feel what it means to have those things or experiences I seem to compare myself against. Lack vs abundance.
Owning a home
I often feel pathetic for being my age and renting an apartment with a roommate. This is silly… isn’t it? But all around me people (friends/family) are moving out and up and upgrading their living quarters. But when I actually take a moment to really think about whether or not I would want to own right now? Not particularly. I enjoy the idea of being able to move out on a whim. Not being tied down to a mortgage, dealing with unforeseen expenses. Though it has been six years living here, perhaps one of those urges will grant me the courage to pack up and move out.
I have to really think about what owning a home really means. Does it provide some kind of status? Proof to the world I’m successful? Would people respect me more? Do I become more appealing to the opposite sex if I own? I am the one who judges me for not owning. There isn’t a magical age where you should own. I tell this to myself, because somewhere in my mind I think that there is and I should have reached it by now. It is sad to waste so much energy on such thoughts: I think I am pathetic for not owning; I think people judge me.
Flipping my mindset and looking to what it is I think a home will bring me, I look to what is already here and what is being offered to me. I enjoy being creative. I enjoy keeping a home. Decorating, tidying, feng shui-ing. My business savvy and younger brother, Jonathan, owns his home and is presently remodeling half of his first floor. The kitchen, living, and dining area to be exact. And you know what? He not only wants my help and input on picking tiles, cupboards, and counters, but also on assisting with paint choices and all the textiles. I’m in heaven. I get to deal with the creative aspect of what a home means to me without dealing with a mortgage.
I may not have a home of my own, or at least live on my own, to do everything that I want, but I do have the luxury of having an impact on a family member’s place. Joy.
Having a mammal for a pet
I own a fish. She’s great. Seriously low maintenance. But she cannot be held or hugged, or show my any kind of affection. Hence, my desire for a mammal as a pet. I grew up with pets, mostly mammals. I’m more of a dog person but as a single woman living in the city, a cat may be a smarter choice. Unfortunately, my roommate isn’t crazy about either species. And so, when I visit my friends I am quite envious of their furry friends and I feel a slight ache in my heart muscle. I want a dog/cat dammit.
Flipping my thoughts from that of lack to that of abundance (and ultimately joy), I realize I am nearly often enough asked to pet-sit for friends. Sometimes for a week, most times for a weekend. How great is that? All the love I can muster out of the critter, with none of the expense. Joy!
Owning a car
The city doesn’t offer me the luxury (too expensive, too much traffic) and for my minimal needs, I don’t particularly need one. So when I’m visiting the parent, I have access to a couple different cars. Manual or automatic. And, I should mention, where my dad and Jonathan live, happen to have plenty of long winding roads. More joy.
Travelling more/ working abroad
This is a more difficult one for me to figure. I am fortunate to have grown up for a length of time overseas. And I am further fortunate and thankful to have studied abroad and to have also worked abroad. However, the six years I have been back in Canada since my last major abroad stint (excluding four to 10-day vacations) have left me wanting for another more major stint. I’d like to turn that want into a have. I have something percolating, that is, I’m working on making something happen that involves lengthy travel, so instead of feeling any sort of lack, I’m more focused on the near-ish future and making sure I continue to feel abundant and successful in this area.
While I don’t believe I’m fully realized in this department, I know I’m getting ever more close. And besides, when I look to my peers, beyond the Facebook newsfeed, most of us are still trying to figure our own shit out too. We are all works in progress. Are we not?
Un jour. Gotta keep Tindering and listening to my gut in the meantime. Instead, I’m excited when I think about the future and what it holds. The future is bright and awesome. And until my present catches up with my future, my plants and fish are all that I need.
I had a bit of a breakdown last week regarding family. Mostly the differences in who we are, and how frustrating it is when I compare what I have with my brothers to what I see my friends have with their siblings. I don’t have much, nay, I have nothing with my older brother, and nothing at the moment with mother. So, instead, I focus on what I do have. A younger brother who tries and a dad who is love incarnate. I try and shift my feeling of lack, to gratitude.
One year older or not. I am exactly where I am meant to be. And you are too. Once this is realized, there is so much space. Space for all the gratitude my small self can muster. There is so much space for being grateful, for joy, and for everything that we are.
No thieves here.