We take our eyes off the horizon where they have been focused all the way through high school and university to look down at the new bundle of life we are holding. We keep them down to nurse and rock to sleep and learn the words to lullabies long forgotten. We wash blankets and tiny socks and learn how to rub out a wind and change a diaper. Our eyes are down as we love and tend and cry on the days when we are tired and feeling alone. Sometimes we look up briefly and the light of the horizon blinds our eyes, gritty from lack of sleep. And the years go by and we're running to catch before a fall or pulling down from a dangerous climb, and always we have to be a step ahead and so our eyes cannot leave the ground. And then one day they are off to pre-school or big grown up school on a bus and suddenly there is no reason to keep looking down. And we look up for the first time. Allowing our eyes to get used to the light up there. And we see everyone else so much further ahead, if life were a race - which of course it isn't - but we have been groomed for many years to compete and keep up and be the best at the game. And now we have stopped playing or been playing the wrong game all along, and it takes time to clear the vision and stand up straight. And even staring at the horizon and wondering which way to start, there is a familiar and well loved tugging at our hand.
I love the world of blogs and e-courses and the amazing community out there ... writers, designers, stylists, artists, surface pattern designers, entrepeneurs, human rights activists who are also yoga teachers and writers (Marianne Elliot) and human rights advisors turned pavilion builders and interior design gurus (Maryam at My Marrakesh) . Whew. Just writing the list is exhausting. But there's a side to it all that I really battle with and that's the constant need to compare myself to everyone out there. And if it's not enough to have the world of blogs and websites to keep up with, there is Facebook and being able to see what everyone I have ever known is doing. And mostly it's wonderful - the staying in touch, the keeping up of relationships and being able to renew friendships lost in the days before email and texting when sometimes letters just took too long and weren't enough ... but some days I find myself spending hours just making myself feel worse as I compare their achievements to my own. I know this is a case of needing to be disciplined with my time online and only reading what is encouraging and uplifting and not what makes me feel like i'll never be good enough ... but it's not always easy. I need to take what will push me on my own journey and ignore the rest - a skill I am still battling to learn.
I know i shouldn't compare myself. I know that's not at all what it's about. We can all present what we want to when we appear online in any form - in the words we choose to write, the photos we put up, the achievements we list. We can show only what's best and hide the ugly-and-not-so-perfect under the bed. I know that the amazing designer might be desperate to start a family. That the talented painter might have no friends. I know that all is not necessarily what it seems online but I do know too that there is amazing talent out there and people really pushing themselves to work hard and follow their passion. And i love this because it's something i believe so deeply in. Now I just need to find my own again.
I know that the things which make me feel jealous or sad or like i've missed the opportunity to do something creative with my own life are the things I need to pay attention to - they hold the clues to help me find my own way on. But sometimes it can all feel really overwhelming and it's easy to get lost in all the comparisons and other people's lives. Right now I am in the middle of Mati and Will's RE:Connect course (my last one for a while) to help me find my way back to myself again ... not that i was completely lost but I have forgotten some of the things I used to dream about and I'm not sure where to go from here. Which is really why I started this blog and 6+ months in I am starting to see glimpses but a little more clarity is needed still. I think i might need to take a break from everyone else's online world for a month to focus a little more on breathing and reading and tea on the couch and my own thoughts, if i can remember where to find them.