Instead of comparing your life to others, make a list of what brings you joy.

Photo: jcheng

I found myself around two old friends in the past week who are living extremely hectic lives.

One friend is in law school, and barely has a moment to breathe, much less sleep or eat properly.

The other has a four-month-old baby to breastfeed, along with taking care of her 22-month-old, working a couple of night shifts as a nurse, finishing her Masters, and somehow cooking and cleaning.

Yeah…

I watched as they moved frantically around me and thought, “wow, I’m not doing enough in my life.” Even as the law school friend’s head just about hit the table at dinner, and I barely exchanged a word in four days with the friend who is a mother, I berated myself for taking too much time to, well…relax.

And then I thought about what “too much” looked like, and how it made me feel, in my 20s: extremely sick.

What You Love

Erica Johansson’s (not related to Scarlet, as far as I can tell) recent blog, Reminding Myself of What I Love, drove it home even further. Many of us can get caught up in what we see other people doing, and compare ourselves – positively or negatively – to how we perceive them.

It feels better to remind ourselves of what we love.

Instead, as Erica points out, it feels better (and I believe, gets us further) to remind ourselves of what we love in our life. The best part about her list is the fact that she names pretty simple things, ones most people can do pretty much anywhere in the world. Yoga, reading, writing, music, movies, water, driving, cycling, running, dancing, food, and museums made her cut.

As I sat on a long train ride Saturday, I thought about what would make my list, things I could do on the road as well as at home. This is what I came up with:

  • Travel
  • Writing
  • Dance
  • Being connected to others
  • Driving a different car than my own
  • Balancing food (having a little bit from every type of food, but knowing what feels best to my body to eat)
  • Hiking
  • Plain old excitement

I could go on, but I’ll stop there. The point of this little exercise, though, is palpable: thinking about what you love in your life takes away the need, or desire, to compare yourself to others.

And isn’t at least one of the points of life to find contentment with what you have?

What makes your list of things that you love? Share your lists in the comments.

Community Connection

Interested in finding out the guilty pleasures of Matador editors? Then check out Travel Guilty Pleasures: What’s Yours? And if you want to employ the simple pleasure of saying “Cheers!” just about anywhere in the world, How To Say “Cheers!” In 50 Languages is your go-to reference.

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