I've noticed that many of my conversations lately have included the phrase "I thought I would have [fill in the blank] by now". Turns out they don't give you the house/dog/kid/faithfulspouse/goodjob/smokin'bod combo pack the moment you turn 27.
Then I read this article in the Atlantic about how Facebook is making us more lonely, probably because we spend too much time gazing at pictures of those far and away that appear to have it all. Or at least, have the one thing we thought we would have.
Theodore Roosevelt said many great things including:
Comparison is the thief of joy.
Today I read an article in Vogue about a woman a few years younger than I am who is leading the life I once thought I would have. I had heard of her last summer while in Kibera and heard her impressive story. She runs an organization there which has received a lot of press and a lot of praise. It all started when she was a study abroad student, she saw the need in Kibera and responded in partnership with a local, who later became her husband, and his organization. She now runs with the big time global health crowd (success= meeting bono and bill clinton in my book) and the organization is going strong and she, her husband, and their organization will have a remarkable impact I am sure.
At first, reading her story I felt physical pangs of jealously, of self-pity, and regret. If only...
And then I realized that I had made an active decision not to lead that life - somewhere long ago in a Starbucks in London I had chosen a different path.
I still want to have a remarkable impact, and am working hard to do that, but it won't look how I thought it would look.
I think back on the forks in the road, where I took a left instead of a right. As my dear friend Lindsay says, often there isn't right or wrong, there is simply this way or that and things fall into place as they are meant to.
We can spend time strolling down the "what-if" lanes, imagining what could have been, but that's only fun for a while.
Or we can enjoy ourselves, be grateful for the privledge to choose, and delight in the one, bright, singular life we have.
And, for example, quit comparing
Now off to bake a pumpkin pie!