Never Compare Your Inside With Somebody Else's Outside

A lifetime of my New Year resolutions sits in a freezer at my mom’s mountain house. I wrote about this last year reflecting upon my resolutions for 2010. What is interesting about reflecting on my 2010 resolutions is the wave of emotion I’ve felt at encapsulating this past year. I mean a physical reaction. I have sat to write about this past year and stared at the computer screen and nothing has come out. I’ve paced. I’ve distracted myself with cleaning and activities and doing just about anything but sitting down and writing about the year that was. The part I can’t figure out is that I accomplished a whole hell of lot this past year. It’s not like I did nothing to be proud of. In fact the opposite is true, I think it’s fair to say I kicked ass. I worked hard, I hustled, I got shit done and have a terrific portfolio because of it. And that’s just on the professional side. Personally, I met my philanthropic and volunteering goals and also fell in love (swoon) which is bigger and brighter and more wonderful than everything else combined.

So why looking back am I having such a hard time summing it up, writing it down, posting it and moving on?

I have come to the realization that as the year went by, I swayed back and forth in my feelings for technology. After all, I am a lover of technology and it pays my bills. Yet, many times through the year I craved “tech-free” days and opportunities to be offline and in the real world without constant checkins. I’ve been endlessly torn about what I want to share online and what I’ve wanted to keep to myself. I’ve also been really hard on myself. For all I’ve accomplished, I still feel like I should do more, like my weaknesses outshine my success and it makes me melancholy for not having all the answers all the time.

Much of that comes from how I use technology to communicate and to share. To that extent, there are some services I came to use more but many others that I barely touched at all. There are a slew of applications in the middle and I tried them all, claimed my namesake, but I couldn’t help but feel like every moment that I was capturing a photo of food or a moment to post online, that I was taking away from that moment I was living in. As a digital strategist, it is my responsibility to know the trends online and where people are spending their time and make recommendations to clients. But like the cobbler’s kids with no shoes, often I gave all my efforts to my clients and was just tired of all the online hoopla by the end of the day.

I have decided that before I do go into what I’m most proud of from 2010 and what I’m looking forward to in 2011 that, if for no one else but me, I would clear my chest and for a moment just say that this exercise is hard. It’s hard to hold up the mirror and then put your feelings down on paper regardless of that paper is shared online or kept to yourself.

An often used phrase this year was “Never compare your inside with somebody else’s outside.” What that means is that we never really know what is going on with someone else on the inside. The outside can be a million times different from the inside, or exactly the same, but unless that person is one of our closest friends how are we to know? When I feel like I should be doing more, caring more, giving more of myself, I think of this phrase and I’m reminded that I’m doing the best I can and shouldn’t compare myself to other people. The internet does this to us - we log onto Facebook and see shiny updates and can be tempted to think “everyone has it so much easier than me” because they appear to have something I don’t.

At the end of the day, I’m no better and no worse than anyone else. I can only believe in my heart that I do the best I can to be good to myself and good to others and be proud of the work I do and the woman I have become. There is no turning back, there is no magic potion to let us go back in time or see into the future. We can only have so many knowns before the unknowns creep in. And what I know is that 2011 is here. Another year has passed and another year is upon us. For that, I am grateful.

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