Why is it that despite the fact that all of my girlfriends are intelligent, competent and ambitious girls, the most common topic of conversation is how we’re not doing everything we’re supposed? How we’re floundering, barely keeping our head above water trying to juggle careers, family, friends and sanity in an act worthy of a huge red circus tent. We compare us to each other always reaching the conclusion that the other one is doing so much better than oneself, not in a bitter jealous way, but in an admiring “you are so cool, I wish I was more like you”-kind of way. Still, comparing is of course never a good thing. The problem is both that you put yourself down and undermine the great things you do but also that the friend that you’re comparing yourself to probably doesn’t want you to feel beneath her so she ends up putting down her own achievements and building you up while feeling guilty about her own success, and just like that we have two friends in the most idiotic competition there is –the “who’s the biggest loser?” competition.
The fact is that none of us is doing 100% in all areas and I’m pretty sure that’s not even possible, but why is that so bad? Why do we think we can sit on two chairs at once? Many of the things we want are sometimes almost mutually exclusive, so trying to combine them is nearly impossible – being a fulltime mom while being a fulltime worker? Working your ass of to get your dream job and dropping the whole career-treadmill to do voluntary work? Moving to another country to get the adventure you’ve been waiting for or staying at home with the boyfriends that can’t come along?
I’ve always said that I want “the whole package” – I want a great career, a happy family, to travel and work abroad, have amazing friends (whom I actually see regularly!) and to still have time for myself and my own thoughts. I want everything – and the thing is I don’t think it’s impossible; it’s just impossible to have it all (and excel at everything) at once! It seems so easy to think reasonable about this when I’m thinking about my friends, it’s so clear to me that they are really working hard to get all of lives puzzle pieces to fit together – and that they are doing a great job at it! Only when it comes to oneself it’s really hard to shake the thought that you could do better in _______ (insert area of choice here and please try to avoid writing “everything”).
Personally I’m trying to go a bit easier on myself about everything that I could be doing better, mostly because I want to be able tell my hardworking friends to do the same without being a hypocrite, but also because it’s too hard to run a good race at the same time as you’re kicking yourself down. Or like Florence and The Machine would say it; “it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back” – so don’t be your own devil.
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