My aunt asked me a few days before my birthday, “How old will you be this year?” Without flinching, I proudly said “Thirty three!” My cousin-in-law laughed and said, “You’re too honest! You should have said twenty seven!” (I could have said 8.25, actually. The advantages of being a leap year baby!)
I was getting old, and somehow, I didn’t feel the need to deny it! I mean, sure, I’m not too pleased about the drawbacks of getting older – the fats are much harder to lose now, for instance – but I was actually looking forward to blowing my birthday candles this year. I guess that’s an indication that I am happy with my life!
To be honest, I like myself more now that I am older. Sometimes, I look back on my teenage years and twenties, and I cringe… and not just because of some of my choices in fashion.
In my twenties, I was in a state of panic because I thought, “I should have everything figured out by now!” But I haven’t. I was making so many dumb decisions. I hated my job, so I moved on to a new one. I hated that too. I also hated the one after that.
And now, here I am at 33. By this time, I should be able to say “I finally have everything figured out!” Well, no, I haven’t. Actually, Mike and I were chatting about our lives one day. We realized that everyone around us is rich… except for us! We have family members that book a flight to an exciting destination whenever they get itchy feet, while we have to save for a trip for an entire year – one trip, maybe two, if we’re lucky. I have friends who live in the kind of houses you’d see on Elle Decor, friends who are planning a lavish wedding while still being able to go on grand vacations, and friends who are living it large because of their thriving businesses. (I have no idea why I attract rich friends! I wish some of their wealth would rub off on me!) And me? Thirty three years old and I don’t have my own home, I don’t own a car, I don’t have hundreds of thousands of cash stored in the bank, I don’t even have my own child (yet), and I blog about travel even if I don’t actually travel as often as I should. When I compare myself with people around me, I do feel a little left behind. It makes me feel like I don’t have much to show for my life.
Immediately, I found the solution – not the solution to the “problem” but the solution to my attitude. “STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS!” my inner voice said. No kidding, comparison really is the thief of joy!
Okay, I lied. I did do some more comparing after that. Twice.
Comparing Myself With Others
First, I compared myself with others who may not be as fortunate as me. First, I asked myself some questions and then answered my own questions. (Gollum, is that you?)
“Do you have a family?”
Yes, an amazing and loving one. No wait, make that two amazing and loving families. (Mine and my husband’s).
“Are you with someone?”
Yes. Married! HAPPILY married! I have the best husband in the world!
“Got any friends?”
Just a few, but they are wonderful, and they are all I really need.
“Do you have a job?”
As a matter of fact, #ilovemyjob and people say that I’m pretty good at it. Heehee. (Blushes)
“Do you have food on the table?”
A little too much food, actually! I couldn’t diet even if I tried.
“So what the hell is your problem?”
Okay, I got it.
I am still luckier than some people. I am not saying that I am better than them (not at all!), but if I ask them the questions I asked myself, I bet not all of them can say “yes!” to everything. Not everyone has a job, or a complete set of parents, or a spouse they can come home to after a long day.
Bonus question: “Do you have a pet?”
I have a sweet and cute guinea pig that takes away my stress!
Comparing Myself With Myself
Years ago, I couldn’t even fry an egg. Fast forward to now, and I’m cooking gourmet meals for my husband!
Years ago, my professional life didn’t seem to have any clear direction. I jumped from one unfulfilling job to another. Now, I get to do what I love and be a blessing to others.
I haven’t figured everything out yet, but I have become better… much better than what I used to be and where I was before.
GROWTH > PERFECTION
I’m more “together” than I was before. So yeah, I think I’m doing all right after all.
A New Perspective
Sometimes, I am a little too hard on myself.
There are still times when I question myself, my life, and my abilities. When I read all the sweet birthday greetings on Instagram and Facebook, I saw myself through other people’s eyes.
- ♥ “You don’t know how proud I am of you. The way you live life, embrace its imperfections, and turn them to stories of inspiration. Apart from your many talents, you make people feel wonderful inside, and that is one amazing gift!”
- ♥ “So blessed and honored to know you. Your life is a huuuge inspiration. Keep on being such a sunlight to everybody.”
- ♥ “It’s so rare to find people who would go out of their way to be REALLY there for you – to listen to you, make you see your good side when you yourself can’t, to make you feel like you’re not alone, and to give you an ego boost… Thank you for always remembering to give me a dose of positivity and encouragement.”
- ♥ “Happy birthday to the one who helped make our special day VERY memorable, and did more than just hosting! You are such a blessing to us, Nadine! Salamat!”
After reading these greetings, I realized that I should probably give myself more credit. Maybe I AM doing something right in my life.
Every year, life seems to surprise me. It just keeps getting better. That’s why I know that the best is yet to come. Knowing that, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to live life at my own pace, and be thankful for it. I may not have everything that I want right now, but I do have everything that I need.