It’s 10pm in a pandemic, and we’re all just trying our best.
When you get to your *cough* late 20s *cough* it feels like everybody you know is having babies and weddings and congratulatory house purchase postings, and it feels like an outer body experience to watch your former peers hit stages of life that you’re still miles away from. It feels like failure to not be booed up with a puppy and a Victorian terrace and an adorable baby, especially (I bet) if you grew up outside of the cities. Comparing yourself to others is never a conscious choice but it’s hard to consciously disengage.
Social media makes it easy to peer from the outside in. To see diluted snap shots of others lives that give away nothing but imply everything.
It’s easy for me to scroll through my feed and feel jealous of those who live with their loved ones. It must be nice to speak to another person in the flesh every single day. It must be nice to have the option of hugging another person. But I stop and make myself think, and I know they must be jealous of all the time I get to myself. Of all of the space I have built into my life on purpose. As we go into week 9 of lockdown I feel jealous of those who have the resemblance of a normal life, those who still get to go into work, those who live away and can still see their friends. But I also know I have a lot to be grateful for. That I can stay home. That I have the choice to stay safe without losing my job. I know people are jealous of that too.
It’s 10pm in a pandemic and we’re all just trying our best.
Lately I’ve been trying to frame other people’s successes as my successes too. Oh you bought a house? That’s amazing, congrats! I haven’t but I do live in a different country all by myself. How brave we both are to take these leaps. Oh you’re engaged? Congrats I wish you all the best! I’ve haven’t found somebody who fills my whole heart yet but I’m glad you’ve found the right person, how wonderful we both know what’s best for us in this moment. Omg I love your puppy, they’re so cute!!! I don’t have a pet right now because I’m not in a place where stability is guaranteed, of living situation, of country, of travelling. It’s amazing how we both are living our lives in different but beautiful ways. I love that for us. For both of us. Sometimes there’s not a lot of choice, but there is a lot of opportunity.
Because there’s no right way to be a person. And, by extension, there’s no wrong way to be a person either.
We go to the marches and the protests and share the instagram infographics screaming that people should be allowed to live freely, as they please, in the life that suits them best. Why can’t we accept that for ourselves?
We don’t have to be grateful for things that are making us feel bad. But would I feel less sad if I stopped comparing my actual life to how I imagine others live?
Start from where you are, not where you feel you should be. It’s not a wasted year if you’ve been healthy and happy and loved throughout, or even just in parts. It’s a process. It’s 10pm in a pandemic and we’re all just trying our best.
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won’t you celebrate with me what I have shaped into a kind of life?
- Lucie Clifton, won’t you celebrate with me