It’s normal to envy others, especially in this day and age where social media enable people to curate a perfect version of themselves to share with the world. Even if content consumers know all too well that everything on Instagram or Youtube (or any platform, really) has to be taken with a grain of salt and that everyone has their own personal hardships, somehow, we come to accept that these curated versions of people are truths and we don’t question it further. We use these perfect moments to measure ourselves against and feel bad when we can’t live up to our own expectations, expectations we derive from other people’s false presentations of the self.
But here’s a question for you:
Have you ever envied yourself?
I have. I still do.
All the damn time.
I envy the younger me who was a thousand times more brave than the me today, right now.
I envy the me who was full of dreams and hope. The me who had an idea of what I wanted to contribute to the world.
I envy the me who was able to live fully.
But now I’m filled with anxiety, sometimes to the point of not being able to get out of bed because I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. I’m on autopilot because I have bills to pay, that’s it. I’m on survival mode.
I was advised to redefine what success mean to me because from the outside, I am living the dream: I have a great job in a field that is doing great work, not to mention I am using my liberal arts college degree; I have a home; I have a car; I go to the gym; I eat (mostly) a healthy diet; I have hobbies; I travel; but yet, it all feels so empty.
Somewhere along the way I lost my drive and passion. Responsibilities and a small paycheck to make it month to month veiled my eyes, chained my heart, and erased my motives. I don’t know how to get my spark back because as I get older, I get more fearful of not having a 401K, not having a paycheck, and taking risks.
But there is hope, because I know that I have strength, courage, passion, and drive within me. It’s going to take a lot of hard work to dig it back up and it may even look completely different once I find it again, but I truly believe that courage and bravery never really goes away, it’s just hibernating while I’m in this season of life.
I don’t have any tips on getting back on the right track because I’m still trying to figure that out myself.
But I do know:
- I envy my past and dread my now because I had goals, dreams, a purpose, and a vision that aligned with my values, AND I was proactive about making those things a reality. I can find it again and create a reality that I can be proud of and future to look forward to so I can stop envying my past and start appreciating it.
- A long while ago, a friend asked me, “If you can be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?” And I said, “Back stage before a show. You know that moment before the curtains draw when you’re so nervous but excited at the same time and there are butterflies in your stomach? I want to feel that again.”
That is the feeling of doing something you love that makes you come alive. It exists. Find it again.
- If I am proud of my decisions, then I don’t need any external validations. I need to listen to myself and I need to honor my sense of self.
- It is okay to feel down in the dumps, as long as I am actively fighting to get back up.
- Memories of the past are tainted and are often changed to reflect only the positive. Remember that each season of life is filled with its own struggle.
- Reflect on what you wanted before the internet.
- Be hopeful.
Take it easy, y’all.