Thursday, 16 April 2015

It's A Marathon Not A Sprint - How To Deal With Life Envy

No, this isn't about running the London Marathon (but oh em gee it's soon now!). It's about our goals, our dreams and our feelings of being not-quite-good-enough (20 mile runs provide a lot of opportunities for deep thinking).

Stop and smell the blossom. And then remember that you're allergic to pollen.
Just like training for a marathon, no one gets out of bed one day and runs 26 miles. Just like no one just falls into the perfect job, perfect relationship and perfect house. These things take work. Hard work. Slowly saving the pennies for a deposit, going on dates with Tinder Frogs, writing endless covering letters...

It's so easy to look at others and think "I'll have what she's having" without thinking of what it's taken to get there. To get caught up in what we don't have (um, where did my Prince get to and where's my Chanel handbag?), rather than what we do have. To forget how far we've come when it sometimes feels like there's an impossible distance still to go.

So here are my tips for the next time you're feeling less than great about not having your own place, your dream job or a diamond ring on your finger:

1. Stop comparing!

For me, this is the hardest. I sometimes look at my (amazing and high achieving friendship group) and wonder why I'm not planning my dream wedding, working on deals that make the news, writing a novel or becoming fluent in my fourth language. But, instead of giving myself an imaginary "could try harder" sticker I think how incredibly lucky I am to have such interesting and talented people around me. Take inspiration from others rather than jealous and negativity and try to see your achievements through other people's eyes - when my real life friends ask my about my blog or marathon training it makes me realise that to them I'm the friend who blogs as well as works full time or the crazy friend who runs 26 miles for a "fun thing to do'!

2. Celebrate the little things

You've just saved your first £1,000 for a flat deposit, finished a project at work or run 5k for the first time - while these achievements may seem small they're still worthy of celebrating. Treat yourself to a little something (a new nail polish, a coffee from the "naughty" section of Starbucks' menu, an afternoon of magazine reading...) to celebrate your small victory and to help keep you on track.

3. Share

When I was working in my first Grown Up Job most of my panic and stress came from the fact that I thought I was the only person finding it hard - everyone else was flying through and having a great time while I was crying in the loos and feeling like maybe my application had got mixed up with that of the actual "clever person's". Despite how others act, everyone has things they find tough and sharing your problems with supportive friends is basically like free therapy - you won't be the only one who's struggling. Try not to turn it into a pity party though, support each other but also try to work through problems together - some of my friends work in totally different areas to me but sometimes their fresh approach really helps.

4. Perspective

If you're reading my blog you're probably in your twenties. No one expects you to have everything sorted by now (yes, my mother was married and had a house and maybe I was "on the way" when she was my age but times have changed). There's no time limit on your dreams and ambitions and there's no prize for having it all sorted by 25. It's hard when suddenly you and your friends are all at different stages but look at the positives - if I ever do get married I'll have a lot of friends to turn to for wedding planning help! Life isn't a race and just because friend x has just landed her dream job or friend y has just got engaged doesn't mean that those things can't happen to you to. One person achieving their dreams does not mean that there are fewer dreams to go around.

5. Don't forget to live

Keep working towards your goals but don't forget to live your life as it is. You're not waiting for your life to start once you buy a flat / get a boyfriend / land your dream job - life will go on no matter what and you need to live it. A guaranteed way to be miserable is to think that things are going to be better when x happens and to be constantly hoping that achieving a goal will magically solve your problems - it's the life equivalent of people who have cosmetic surgery but, shock horror, still have tragically low self esteem. Live in the here and now because you can't live in the past or the future, can you?

How do you deal with life envy?



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