Sunday, February 10, 2013

Compared to What?

Unless you live in a hole, don't get any mail, and eschew Facebook, comparing yourself to others is unavoidable. This is bad, at least for me, since I am happiest when I am dumbest. Alone with my thoughts, I'm content: I do the dishes, pay the bills, practice my various arts, feed my cats and, aside from several annoying health concerns, am just fine. I can walk and talk, have no oozing wounds, and still know my name and address; what's to complain about? Then I open up the newspaper or go online and realize what a pathetic loser I am. People are successful! Their children and grandchildren shower them with affection! Their books are best-sellers, their art goes for millions!! They are thinner and better-looking, they have toned upper arms, and their condos overlook Central Park West!!! What a fool I've been thinking I'm living the good life...

Certainly each and every one of us would be happier if we avoided comparing ourselves to others. We'd never feel fatter or shorter or uglier or dumber or poorer or just plain lesser. We could just be, and how great is that? Of course, as my husband frequently observes, I could just compare myself to hideous gremlins and destitute lepers, but there aren't a whole lot of those featured in the Sunday New York Times Magazine.

Every few months I toy with getting off Facebook, but then I would miss my distant friends. If only their lives were worse than mine, everything would be fine.

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