Why Keep Up With the Joneses?
by Chris Rivera
A good friend of mine recently told me, while I was stressed and worrying about my future, that life is not a race. He reminded me that there is no finish line at the end of all this; there is no course that we all must follow, or even an opening shot to let us know that the race has begun. There isn’t even a trophy that we will receive after all this is done.
He told me that we are only racing ourselves. We have this illusion that life is one big race; that everyone is already a mile ahead and we sprinting our hardest to catch up, but why? It’s pointless. We shouldn’t base our goals on the life of others; if we did this we will constantly be let down. You can never feel happy when you set your accomplishments on the accomplishments of others; the feeling of success will quickly go away as soon as the person you are “racing” gets something bigger or nicer.
The key to happiness is not to worry what other people are doing. Don’t set goals for yourself just because you feel obligated to do so in order to keep up with someone else. So what if Ernest Hemingway published The Sun Also Rises when he was twenty-seven, or Susan Hill was 15-years-old when she wrote The Woman in Black. Those facts shouldn’t matter at all.
Don’t let other peoples’ accomplishments take away from your own. You should learn to be happy with the boxes you have checked for yourself, learn that there’s more to life than chasing after the dreams of others. Life doesn’t have to be a race; if you’re struggling now and a close friend seems to be cruising through, just know this, as long as you’re happy in what you’re doing that’s all that matters.
My friend left me with these words, “Never let anyone make you feel less than what you are.” Don’t let people look down on you if you haven’t accomplished what they feel you should have. Everyone moves at their own pace, everyone has different goals, some wish for a big house on the hill, while others just want a small cozy home near friends. If you are happy with the way your life panned out, or the way it’s going, don’t let anyone take away from that. You do not have to prove anything to anyone, all that matters is your happiness.