I’m going to describe to you a hypothetical scenario. (Just hypothetical, mind you. I am not admitting to anything.).
You check Facebook. You see a post from an old friend. This post suggests that they’re doing cool stuff, and they’re doing it well. Yes, someone else’s life is awesome.
You’re a good person, of course, so your first thought is: Hey, that’s cool! Good for my friend!
(…except that it’s not.)
You start clicking through pictures. They have really cool looking new friends (who, you assume, are way cooler than you). And they’re hot. When did everyone get hot? When did everyone start doing cool stuff? By this point, your friend has completely trumped anything hanging around your profile–three months worth of George Takei “shares” and one music video from the 90s, to be exact. You look up. You are surrounded by all the laundry you have to do, clutter on your desk, a bleak-seeming text messaging inbox, the way your hair is growing in funny.
In a few hours you might be happy for them–but right now, you’re busy being mediocre.
Here’s the thing about jealousy. Jealousy has a stage name. It’s called inspiration.
I’ve learned this the hard way (okay, here comes the admitting part). I have spent way too much energy wanting/waiting/wishing/generally being useless. I think a lot of people have. It’s easy to become defeated when you see other people doing cool things. To pick a totally random example (Judi), you could see a picture of an old friend tobogganing down volcanoes in Nicaragua (Judi). At that point, it’s very easy to say “Well, I’m not in Nicaragua.” It’s easy to feel a little bit smaller than you did a second ago, to just move on with your day.
But what if you were to take that pang of ‘This is something I find awesome. Noted.’ and turn it into motivation? You could add to your bucket list. You could surround yourself with people who live amazing lives. You could learn from them.
Every year, I have the same overarching goal: to make next year’s Me someone that this year’s Me would crumble in jealousy of…or at least dread going up against in a job interview. I couldn’t even go about that without my jealousies-turned-inspirations. The fact is, I would not be in Washington DC right now if someone (Judi) didn’t offer so many envy-inciting stories about interesting jobs in new places. And I wouldn’t even be writing this had I not been struck with admiration(-cum-jealousy) after seeing other women’s mega-blogs this summer.
“Maybe I could do that. Right? Maybe? I don’t know.”
There was literally one way to find out. Just one.
Jealousy may be ugly, but inspiration is beautiful. Is someone else is trying new things? Noted. We should also go try new things. Did someone else accomplish something big? Noted. Let’s go start something big. Do you wish your butt looked even half that good in a pair of skinny jeans?
…yeah, me too.
Skinny jeans aside, we have a choice every day (cliche alert) to get bitter, or get better. I’m gonna try to be on team “get better.”