Have you ever had the feeling that you’re not moving fast enough in life? Like everyone else has things sorted and you’re just trying to match up your socks every morning and find time to grab a coffee to keep your brain afloat?
Yeah..me either…I’ve never felt that way….
Okay lies. I felt that way yesterday.
I blame facebook for my little episode.
I truly think it’s a beautiful thing to be able to share the exciting parts of your life with your nearest and dearest via social media but there are moments that I look at the new babies and engagements and fabulous trips and think….Ugh! Gross! Thank god my life is simple and I’m on my own just taking on the world! Just kidding. I’m really thinking…is my life boring? Will I ever make it past the second date with a guy? Maybe if I put aside 1 dollar every week for 50 years I, too, will be able to afford to go on a fabulous trip like ________.
The thing about facebook and other social media sites is that they display this glossy photoshopped version of us that’s not necessarily real. They don’t always include the bits in between that get us to those shiny glossy days. The exception to this are those special individuals that post passive aggressive rants or details none of us really needed to know but even then it’s like one big share and compare-fest. We bond over the stuff that collectively pisses us off. It’s like the most connected way to be completely disconnected. Isn’t that weird?
Our society is built on this. I totally bought into it. This, I should mention, coming from a fairly introspective person. I saw one life event that made me compare myself to another person and I freaked out about where I am and what I’m doing. My life’s path has been different. I’m in the weeds right now doing some grunt work (that’s metaphorical, I work in an office) and that’s just what it is.
The minute I stop enjoying my own moment for what it is and get sidetracked by someone else’s, is the exact minute I decrease my own value. I think it’s okay to look at other peoples lives and set goals and be inspired, but not to give up the value of what I’m doing and who I am because of it. If I’m so fickle about my career and personal aspirations, why should I expect anyone else to believe in them and me?
Here’s the thing I sort of re-learned about trust and vulnerability this week: I can give it and open myself to be wholehearted and open-minded, but I cannot control what others do with it. I forgot about that little component.
These past few weeks someone from my past re-entered my life and I let myself get swept away in it. The tiny little niggling inchworms of doubt prodded at me occasionally and I ignored them and just sort of let it happen. I even let myself be vulnerable and feel joy because of it. Then, like a flashback to high school (okay it wasn’t around when I was in high school but it felt like a high school moment), I logged onto facebook and there was the very honest status update that snapped me straight out of my dream world. It was the words he couldn’t bother to tell me to my face.
Something a little like betrayal lived at the edge of the status update like a crown of thorns coaxing the halo from the head I’d bestowed it upon in error. That jackass. I felt impassioned and alive with the idea that he’d slapped me in the face with his own uncertainty and I wanted to key his car or eat a tub of ice cream or both simultaneously. I stared at the screen for several minutes with my eyes bugging out repeating “Oh my god” to myself like it was my personal mantra. In one amazingly public act of idiocy he’d contradicted everything he’d told me, and made me feel like a colossal idiot. I could feel the rage peeling paint off the walls as my blood boiled.
I went through everything in my mind. I’d put myself out there. I’d been vulnerable in terms of letting him come back into my life and I’d been open-minded about seeing if the connection still existed and he’d made me feel like a fool on a social networking site, not directly, but in a way that told me half-hazardly that he’d barked up my tree before he was done sniffing around another. Not. Impressed.
So does my own little personal version of the Jerry Springer show mean I stop putting myself out there and being vulnerable? Nah. You don’t join a sports team only if there’s a guarantee you’ll win every game in the season. I could go through life living in a little bubble- never being vulnerable and allowing others to hurt me (that’s my natural response) but I think it might make it difficult to experience any potential joy too.It’s a gamble. A VERY wise friend wrote to me and said “There’s no shame in trusting others. It’s shameful when people exploit that”. Preach girl!
He who shall not be named won’t be getting a Christmas card this year but I thank him for reminding me life is a series of learning experiences, good and bad, and courage is about showing up wholeheartedly for each one and gaining value and extracting joy. That’s it. No regrets.