At the near end of my trip to Portland something hit me with more force than anything I’ve ever experienced. I was sitting in a hipster filled cafe in Portland across from Jacob, a new friend I met recently.
Jacob is one of the eight or so identical faces sitting with a scruffy beard and plastic framed glasses. We are having a conversation about a new app that he found that helps you gain instagram followers by following accounts and then unfollowing them shortly after they follow you. He is ecstatic that for $50 a month his social following has increased tremendously, which in turn has given him a successful ego boost and helped him seem more legitimate online.
Across the table I am steadily losing hope. My frustration over my unsuccessful job search is intensified by a $7 cappuccino that tastes like acid. Any excitement about Portland has subsided and been replaced with crippling anxieties about my worth. I try to verbalize my situation to Jacob, but emotionally we are on completely different ends of the spectrum. It is an uncomfortable see-saw ride of me trying to confide in someone, while his excitement about making Portland a forever home radiates accidental guilt. It is mid conversation about his successful roommate search that he hits me with a sentence that sends me into an existential crisis.
“I feel bad talking to you right now because my life is so much better than yours.”
My immediate reaction was disbelief and anger. But my usual uncensored tongue disappeared into a quiet stillness of complete surrender. I spent the rest of the day in contemplation not of a rebuttal, but of what his words meant in a broader sense of today’s world.
We live in a society that often times measures worth based on how successful you are for your age, or the places you’ve traveled to, or how well a particular season of your life is going. In order to measure success we must have something to compare it to in order to determine success. But pushing all that aside, there is a fundamental similarity between everyone’s lives.
No ones life is better than yours.
Your life is the only life you will ever have. There is no amount of dreaming, time traveling, or instagram posts that will make your life better than someone else’s. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing, regardless of how awesome it is, because you are the only one who has the honor of living out your life.
Even though it has been a dark and stormy season in my life, I am still marveling at the beauty of being alive. We are so blessed to be here on this earth regardless of our circumstances. We cannot forget how special it is that we are living on a baby speck of dust in the this giant universe. There is no time to waste letting ourselves be broken down by other’s perception of our life.
Next time you try and compare yourself to someone else, remember how thankful you are for the combined memories of your life. Whether good or bad, every second of each day has brought you to where you are today.