Thought provoking read about the risk of looking at and comparing your life as lived with that of your peers. We live and we make choices, and hopefully we make those choices intentionally so that when we look around the trap of comparison and jealous poison don’t overtake us.
Below is another excerpt from the above piece, that pretty clearly outlines the danger and cost of comparing one life to another:
The Referendum is a phenomenon typical of (but not limited to) midlife, whereby people, increasingly aware of the finiteness of their time in the world, the limitations placed on them by their choices so far, and the narrowing options remaining to them, start judging their peers’ differing choices with reactions ranging from envy to contempt. The Referendum can subtly poison formerly close and uncomplicated relationships, creating tensions between the married and the single, the childless and parents, careerists and the stay-at-home. It’s exacerbated by the far greater diversity of options available to us now than a few decades ago, when everyone had to follow the same drill. We’re all anxiously sizing up how everyone else’s decisions have worked out to reassure ourselves that our own are vindicated — that we are, in some sense, winning.
The sad truth is there is no winning to be had. We’re born, we’ll die, and the only thing we really have control over is how we react to the details between those two bookends. To turn the Socrates quote around, perhaps if we all lived an examined life, an intentional life, then we’d have less reason to compare ourselves and could live more free, generous lives.