“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay” – Simone de Beauvoir
If life was measured by origami skills, I’d have a serious problem.
The other day I did the unthinkable: I searched out an old acquaintance on social media.
There are numerous reasons never to do this, the main one being it’s only going to make you feel bad about yourself. Because comparison always does.
A quick memo on comparison:
- You compare yourself to someone else and you lose: their lives seem better, more fulfilled. You think it’s just this one person leading a better life? Think again! Clicking through on their page is only going to make you believe every other person you come across has a better life than the one before. It’s a snowball effect of misery waiting to play avalanche on your self-esteem.
- You compare yourself to someone else and you win: or so you think. Ask yourself why you picked this particular person to measure yourself up to with. Possibly because you knew, deep down, you’d look better. Which is merely a sad way to cover the fact you’re displeased with your life as is. This rush of “look at me being superior!” will run off quickly, only to be succeeded by default unhappiness.
Either way you spin it, social comparison leads to despair. I know this, yet I fell for it as I recognised someone on the background of a TV show and suddenly wondered how they’d ended up.
Well… Let me put it this way: their life evolved itself a little different from mine. And by little I mean a lot!
After the initial shock (and familiar the-whole-world-is-moving-forward-and-I’m-standing-still-feeling) wore off, I realised we’re both where we need to be in life, her going her way and me going mine.
And don’t need to prove anything to anyone (although I wish I could run 10k in under less than one hour like her).
If life was an origami paper, she’s folded hers into a different shape than I did mine. In all honesty: I don’t even know what shape I am aiming for! The only bloody thing I can actually fold successfully is a frog!
And I don’t want to be a frog, I want to be something else.
Something delicate, something special. The kind of origami you can only create after years of trying.
Because what’s the point in being like everyone else?
So I keep trying to fold something special, failing, and unfolding again. I keep straightening my paper down, drumming my fingers on the table impatiently before trying out something new.
I refuse to listen to how others folded their papers. And that’s where this woman and me went different ways: she followed instructions and created something beautiful. An origami creature that matches that of many others, but makes her (and many others) happy.
I don’t want something beautiful. I don’t want my silly frog! I want something exceptional. Something incomparable.
Because comparison never made anyone happy, and I want to be happy, but happy my way.