Have you ever watched as someone else arrived at your dream destination? And by destination, I don’t mean sunbathing on the tropical sands of Turks & Caicos, or sipping a fancy drink out of a fresh coconut on the beaches of Bora Bora. I mean ARRIVED at your DREAM destination.
It’s your dream, and probably has been for your whole existence on earth, and it just came true…for someone else.
Can we just stop for a second and give credit to how that feels? And again, I don’t mean how we portray that it feels. You know, all the niceties and cheering other people on and feeling happy for them even when we’re dying inside. I mean, how it really feels in your core when you see your dream come true for someone else, who could not possibly have wanted that dream as much as you. No way, not possible.
If you don’t want to say it, I will. It feels horrible. It feels like a dagger to the heart. Soul-crushing comes to mind.
Recently I watched from the social media sidelines as someone else sipped out of my fancy coconut drink on the beaches of Turks & Caicos. They even pointed out that they never actually wanted that fancy drink, it just sort of came to them. Gasp. I almost fell off my chair, which was not on any beach anywhere. It was on my patio, while I wore sweatpants and dawned a dirty mom-bun with remnants of everyone else’s lunch on my shirt. Not mine, because I didn’t even get to eat lunch that day. Just setting the scene of self pity for you, so it’s clear.
Later that night, after wallowing in self doubt, envy, and 3 loads of laundry, I burst into tears while telling my husband that something great was happening for someone that I do not even know. You read that right, I don’t even know this person. My guess is, social media platform algorithms have gotten so smart, that they peered into my soul, realized what my lifelong dream has been, pulled out the keywords, and fed me other people’s posts about that topic as if they were trying to sell me a toaster oven.
At that point, I didn’t even know if I was crying about the fact that my dream that has seemed so hard to obtain just fell into the lap of someone else, or if I was crying because I was envious of this person instead of happy for them and that goes against everything I want to be, or if I was crying because I was really tired and didn’t have lunch or dinner.
After that night, I somewhat forgot about it. And by somewhat, I mean I only thought about it 3-5 times per day instead of letting it consume my entire existence. And then out of nowhere tonight, as I was standing guard by the oven while my son’s second pizza baked (because I burnt the first one), I had a moment of clarity. This is what my tired, Friday night mom brain told me, pretty much verbatim right out of my head (because I quickly typed it into the notes in my phone so I would not forget it a millisecond later):
That is their path. That is not your path. Just because they are there now, doesn’t mean that you can’t get there. You may want to end up in a similar place, but you cannot get there the same way. If you did, your story wouldn’t be yours, and neither would your dream. As an outsider, someone else’s path looks a whole lot easier to walk on than our own. We don’t see the obstacles, the broken bridges, the flooded roadways, the exhaustion from the travel. We can’t see what’s under their feet from our own path, we just see that they got there and we didn’t yet.
Right now, you may feel stuck in a mud puddle, or quick sand if you like things real dramatic. And you might be wondering when your path is going to start being paved, and lined with pretty flowers and people handing out water bottles and granola bars, clapping as you pass by. You may be praying your path turns into one of those moving walkways at the airport and that someone else offers to carry your luggage. And one day, some of those things, or the metaphors they represent, may happen. Or, they may not. That doesn’t mean you won’t get to your destination.
The only way to guarantee you won’t get there is to stop, and that is your choice, and only your choice. Maybe the ones who get there first were meant to be there to inspire us. Heck, maybe they’ll be the one someday helping to pull us towards the finish line and we’ll get to tell them about that one day when we temporarily despised them for stealing our coconut drink.
The only thing I really know to be true, is that we only have two choices: keep going or give up. Often times, I find that I am only envious of where other people are on their own journey, when I am not actively progressing in my own. When I am not putting in any effort towards my own goals, that is when I can find myself being envious of where others are going. When I am busy blazing my own trail, I don’t have time to see where everyone else is on theirs. And when I do see someone ahead of me, I feel more hope and encouragement, less self loathing.
So, if you’ve been stuck in the mud and you see someone else sunbathing in what you feel was meant to be your lounge chair, trust me when I say that progress equals happiness. I know I just threw out a super cliche quote at you, but it earned that badge for a reason, and that is because it’s true. Make your own progress, forge your own path, own your own story, and remember that once you reach that long-awaited destination, you’re just going to realize it’s the peak of a mountain, and on the other side may be a valley towards your next destination.
Gather up all your moxie and carry on, you’ve got this!
Hi, I’m Jessica! I am wife to Chris, and mom to Kaiper, Alana and Koa. I am a freelance website & blog developer and aspiring author. I share about everything from parenting, how to make money from home, tutorials for my fellow bloggers, work-at-home mom life and being a homeschool family. Learn more about me here.