Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A New Map

It's something that we all go through. I've seen many posts and talked to many people who have expressed the same thought. Comparisons. We do this. We compare ourselves to the people around us. To the blogger friend who just got an agent. To the Twitter friend who has 2000 followers. To the published author who had the bestselling book. To the neighborhood mom who always has a clean house, clean kids, and time to spare. The list is endless. There's always something we wish we could be doing more of or be better at. Just like so-and-so. It's kind of crippling.

Today, I had a conversation with my best friend and she really opened my eyes to something. She said, "At some point, you just have to decide which map you are going to follow." At first, I didn't get it, but she explained the idea and it made sense, so I want to share it with you.

Each of us has a map that we want to follow. We look at other people's maps and say, "Kansas City looks like a nice place. I want to be where that person is." And we carry around a map of Kansas City with us, wishing and hoping to see the sights. Visit the Jazz Museum at 18th and Vine. The Hallmark Crown Center. Eat real Kansas City Barbecue. (And yes, these are all awesome things that are in Kansas City. I lived there for a while.)

The problem with carrying around someone else's map of Kansas City is that we live in Dallas. Or Toronto. Or New York. Or Chicago. The roads that they walk down are not the same ones we do. In fact, trying to follow the map for Kansas City when you are in Phoenix would get you horribly lost and be a real waste of time.

This is what comparing ourselves to others is like. Even if we are comparing ourselves to our "ideal self." That's not the person we are. Trying to follow someone else's path, no matter how appealing it seems, is only going to make us lost and unhappy.

So, friends, I am resolved today to be a little more focused on my own map, where ever it takes me and however long it takes me to get there. I'm pretty sure it will be a lot of fun, if I stop trying to get to Kansas City and start seeing the sights around me.

How about you? Where are you in your journey? What is on your map today?

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