‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ Theodore Roosevelt
A little while back I wrote about my Boat Worry, it was a long and depressing post the succinct version of it: I worry that our decision to buy and liveaboard a narrow boat is a bad decision, and we should have followed the standard and brought a bricks and mortar home. You can read the full version if you want a little bit of a mood killer The Worry Of Boat Life – Is Owning A Narrrow Boat The Right Thing?.
Since publishing that post I’ve been approached by a few people on it. Some shocked that we are not looking to buy a house, others shocked that I sometimes worry about the decision we’ve made.
One dear friend however brought me back to the ground with a bump, and fizzled my worry away, be it only for a few days, with one very simple statement ‘Don’t go living life as a competition, you’re guaranteed to zap all the fun out of it’ to put it quite simply my friends: Mic Drop! At this point I googled this notion and found they were not an amazing philosopher, they just had a memory for good quotes!
Occasionally someone says something which flips my world, I’ve written about such occurrences in the past, this was one of those wonderful moments. In that instant I realised exactly what they were getting at, this particular worry is entirely fueled by my assessment of other people’s lives.
Life isn’t a competition, it’s not about comparing anything you have, may that be work, personal life or home to anyone else’s. Your only competition is yourself, you can’t compare your life, dreams and wishes against someone else’s achievements and nor should you, my dear friend was right, it zaps all the joy out of everything.
I think my worry came from comparing that we didn’t have the same as what other people did. But then when you really start to analyse it, really think about it logically, what is it that you and probably all these people want when it comes to a home? Well just that, a place to call home, to call your own. How wrong would it be to assume that that means bricks and mortar to all people? When taking a step back from it we can realise that that fear comes from our view of other people, how successful or happy we perceive them to be, how their life is shaped different to ours.
A quote I have stuck by ever since hearing it is:
‘All you need is something to love, something to do and something to wish for’
It’s from the Ricky Gervais Series, Derek, which I loved, and on reflection is a great example of what I’m talking about here. My worry was coming from judging my life against other people and their goals, how silly does that sound. Happy to me is sat in a field with my ponies, or our little family cruising along on the waterways, if happy to you is a four-bedroom detached home or watching twenty odd men kick a bag of air around then you go for your happy my friends.
I have so much in my life to love, whether that’s my precious animals, amazing husband to be or incredible home. I have so much to do, from trying to make a success of my craft business or getting my pony to come inside without the help of 40 carrots. And I have a lot to wish for, a lot of goals, my own goals to be measured against my own achievements.
I’m not saying I’m not going to worry anymore, what a ridiculous notion, it’s one of my favourite past times. What I’m saying is don’t compare your achievements with someone’s goals, compare them with yours. Be your best you, be your happy you, how sad would it be to realise you wasted a whole load of precious time worrying that your achievements didn’t live up with another person’s goals. Take some time for you, work out your goals, remember what makes you happy and aim for being just that, happy.
That’s it, that’s my thoughts, and thank you greatly to that dear friend for making me realise how ridiculous I had been.
James & Kirsty