Let me tell you a story. This is a true story, a recent one too. There was a woman, we’ll call her Janet (because it’s me, honesty is part of this blog) who was approaching the end of her 40th year rapidly-41st birthday is upcoming in a matter of weeks! When she turned 40 she’d made herself a few goals for this new decade. She also drank more than a few of glasses of champagne..but that’s a story for another time! She was a grown woman who already had all the most important things young Janet had dreamt of. It had been a great year..a great many years really. Then it happened when she least expected it..a monster appeared..one with green eyes. Jealousy is a sneaky beast.
For the record, my normal eye color is brown. I’m a happily married mom of two lovelies. I live in a wonderful community filled with amazing people, good friends included. This is the kind of area to settle in that parents dream of for their kids-Involved parents in the awesome schools, great children for our kids to have as friends, selections of extra curricular activities to participate in. We’re busy in this family but most of the time it’s good busy. Events and celebrations, recitals and parties. Our family moved here 3 years ago but it feels longer-it’s home. I’ve enjoyed my roles here-class mom and volunteer, friend, CEO of this household, engaged parent, partner in crime to my husband and now new blogger. I tell you all this to state for the record that I know I’m blessed, I have done young Janet proud. She used to pretend to be a mommy with her dolls and a bride with a pillowcase on her head as a pretend veil. It was her dream to get married to someone wonderful and be a mommy and I have achieved that dream!It’s pretty unbelievable still that I jumped off the cliff and started blogging. As content as I was and still am it was something I wanted to do, for me. It was a dream I didn’t dare dream out loud. Most of us have some form of self doubt and I’m no exception. I wrestle with mine with each article I write, edit, proof, reread and then OMG-hit publish and my words go out into the world! I have always enjoyed the sense of security that comes from knowing you’re not alone. Other people go through this too, wonder about that, have worries and guilt and moments of laughter and love…this is the idea from which this blog was born, to share experiences together.
In the vein of not feeling alone, I want to talk about jealousy with you. We all feel it one time or another but we really don’t talk about it. We don’t share these feelings, maybe because we feel badly for feeling jealous in the first place. Admitting these feelings makes us both embarrassed and vulnerable. It’s such a relatable feeling to have though!!
When does admiration turn into jealousy? One moment we’re appreciating a gorgeous piece of jewelry or congratulating on a job promotion and then it hits. In most cases, it isn’t like we’re not happy for so and so, far from it. We might just wish for a moment we also had what they’re having too. Gosh, I wish I’d gone on that amazing vacation or had that incredible idea for a business that’s now successful or had that Gucci handbag on my arm.I’m finding blogging is no different. There are so many bloggers out there-each vying for attention. Fashion, lifestyle, make up bloggers, bloggers who blog about blogging even. There are also bloggers like me, those who’s blogs can’t always be described in one word. You can’t just say I blog about-Food, Photography, Music, etc..Oh, what an education I’m having!
Some of these bloggers appear to be killing it in their chosen subject! They’ve got a big audience and seem to be well received with each word written. I found my (usually pretty dormant) competitive side coming out as I researched blogging. I felt the self doubt rise, a sense of overwhelming nerves and a feeling that maybe I was making a mistake. One particular blogger became my nemesis (without her knowledge). We’d started our blogs almost exactly the same time, wrote about similar topics and were both mutual friends with a couple of other bloggers. She just kept besting me..at least in my mind and it stuck in my crawl. Every new step I took she was already one step ahead. I felt the sting of jealousy and was honestly surprised by it. I didn’t start writing because of a desire for a massive following on social media (but no blogger is ungrateful if one appears 😉) or to create myself an imaginary arch enemy!
There was that monster none the less and it felt wrong, like wearing two different shoes. This happy life had been invaded by this feeling I wasn’t used to and I wanted to deal with it. Maybe a few of you are out there nodding your heads..you’re feeling the pinch of that left shoe of jealousy in some facet of your life and you don’t want to. You know it isn’t who you are. I decided to face it head on, get to the root of it and release it from my head. It was just too heavy of a weight to carry.The steps I took to fight that monster off and pin it to the mat:
1. Step away and reset. I spent a few days away from social media that wasn’t about fun. I liked cute pictures of friend’s babies and commented on posts showing their smiling faces on vacations and adventures. I didn’t write a word or think about writing. I played in the pool with my kids and drank wine with husband. I enjoyed the things that give me the most pleasure in this life and the people that mean the most to me. In short, I focused on my blessings. What I do have-not what I do not. I wouldn’t go to a restaurant, order a delicious meal and when it arrived look at the dinner served to the next table. I’d enjoy each bite of what was in front of me.
2. Return with a fresh attitude. Time to try that left shoe back on and then get rid of it. My new prospective was that success isn’t equally measured. We measure our own. If you try at anything that feels brave to you-you succeed! Period. This could be interviewing for new job, taking a daunting exercise class or typing some words on a computer. You did it, no what if, you gave it all you have! The focus should be on our own steps forward and not attempting to walk in another’s path of what you perceive their achievement to be.3. Set goals. Maybe those green eyes came out because there was no plan in place. What is your ultimate goal? What are your smaller goals? What are you saving for or working towards? I focused on my vision and the next steps I wanted to take. I let go of wondering what “my nemesis” was doing and kept my eyes on what I wanted to do. I stopped following her work out of respect for both of us. She deserved the right kind of reader and I deserved not to put myself through the negativity. Positive head space-I’m not in the market for an experience that makes me feel badly so I removed myself from participating in it.
4. Step into those Converse. This is clearly a metaphor but I wear Converse quite a lot. They are comfortable and they are my thing. What’s your thing? When you know yourself enough to know the answer that’s where your energy should be poured into. You wear the comfortable shoes because they feel good..on your feet. If haven’t figured out your thing yet, keep trying on other pairs. One pair will eventually fit like a glove.5. Start walking again, on your path. It was eye opening when I analyzed the root of the insecurities and jealousy and threw them out with Thursday night’s trash. What remained was..Fun!! I’m slightly giddy with all the fun that this blank canvas is offering! There’s room in my head for creativity with no expectations beyond talking about the next topic. My path is my own. In my case, I’m excited at all the possibilities, no one-Including me knows what I will talk about next. This is a path that can lead to…I have honestly no idea!! There is not a limited amount of personal success in this world-there is enough for all of us! I hope we all make it!I wrote this article picturing my mom reading it. I know she is this very moment because she has been my audience since I proudly presented my first masterpiece of a finger painting. I picture her clicking on the link with the enthusiasm she usually reserves for her weekly People magazine delivery. I have literally seen a weekly People magazine in my parent’s house every week since the early 90’s and don’t you dare interrupt mom while she’s finishing the crossword puzzle! When I told her I was going to write she told me she was so proud before I wrote a word. Every time I do write something new she tells me again she’s proud. Parents are like that and it’s pretty cool.I was raised to believe if I worked hard enough at anything that was important to me eventually I’d get there. I forget the lesson for a minute. I stumbled, I wrestled the green eyed monster and for a second lost sight of the joy. This can happen to us all, if you’re currently dealing with resentments or doubt I get it!! No one is perfect! But ask yourself who suffers for this extra baggage? Who’s life is being effected? The one that is jealous or the one that is enjoying what they have?
On an additional note I want to say how grateful I am to be a part of an incredible community of blogging women. I must shout out to my dear friend P, a fellow blogger who is generous, supportive and one of the sweetest ladies in all of Britain. When I was going through this jealous blip, P put together a collaboration article that brought together woman in the blogging world to discuss their most vulnerable moment. It was an inspiring experience to share with these women and I was honored to be a part of it. P reminded me how important community is (at a time I needed that reminder) and how each voice is unique. Yes, the story may have been told before but not by you! Nothing but love for her and the perspective she gave me.
This is a pretty cool moment for me to finish this year of being 40 with. This year friends-well its been nothing short of life changing! Age is just a number when you’re happy. When you’re doing what you love with who you love. It’s also pretty great to have my brown eyes back!! Each day is a gift, each conversation with you is a pleasure and I’m going to enjoy the heck out of it!! Thanks for putting that People magazine on pause (you too Mom) and a big thanks for the visit-let’s have coffee next time, I’m at my best caffeinated! I’m so glad you came to the no specific category yet blog..I’m considering the category to be this-Life Right Now…I’m giving you the details! The monster has left the building!! 41 bring it on, just try and keep up with me!! Janet