Comparison: The Thief of Simplicity

IMG_5415*Please know that what I am about to write is not a criticism of anyone else. It is instead a personal evaluation and reflection of things in my own heart and mind.

When I woke up this morning, I did the thing that I do every morning: I scrolled through my Instagram feed. It has become more habit than desire to see what is going on in the social media world around me. However, like often, I saw these perfectly bright bedrooms with happy children dressed for the day frolicking and it made me feel (for an instant) discontent with my dimly lit bedroom in my jammies sprawled on my bed. Though I quickly catch these thoughts and remember how amazing and fun it is that i get to be a part of my own life, it doesn’t stop that little thought stream that lingers.

I have heard my whole life that “comparison is the thief of joy” and i completely agree. But I would go one step further and say that it is also the thief of simplicity. Maybe this is just me, but “social media lives” (what i lovingly call the strangers’ well photographed lives that i follow on Instagram) make me want to lug my Nikon and all my fancy lenses to the market and playground and splash pad if only to capture the perfect example of all the fun that we also have on a daily basis. As I was examining my thoughts, it seemed as if I didn’t post a picture on social media for people to see then it was like our little adventure wasn’t as fun. How crazy is that logic (I am still half grimacing and half laughing at myself)? Is this just me or is this the problem with social media? Seriously, it is like that saying “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” That is how I started to view our days. Play time then is no longer messy, silly, imaginative spontaneity. It becomes perfect placement, cutest clothing, clean surroundings and  biggest smile in the light time. And that to me is exhausting and complicated and everything that isn’t simple.

Therefore, I will gladly continue to look and smile at those social media lives, but only to appreciate the beauty  and unique talents that surround us. Those thoughts might still come to mind, but I will address them for the silly complicated nonsense that they are and continue on with my simple daily activities.

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Morning Thank You’s

Living each dayThe first time I visited another country, as an adult, I was shocked by the ease and pace of daily life. I was overseas for a specific purpose, but it was the most rested I had been. The group I was with would all joke how Africa is on their own time. If a car was scheduled to come at 8 am to pick us up, we could be ready by 9 am and still be early. My American brain had a hard time adjusting at first. All I could think was “I am only here a short while, I need to go go go, do do do”. My mentality changed during the second week of being there (it really didn’t have a choice…it had to change) when I saw the fun and experiences that I could have without planning. living each day 3 living each day2 living each day 6Our group would travel to small, remote villages in the mountains of Rwanda where I was the first Caucasian that many of the children there had seen. I was amazed how those small villages would stop all they were doing and come visit with us. They wanted to fully appreciate the new experiences of that day…no matter what. living each day4living each day 3.jpg1I was reminded of all this at 7 am when the sunlight woke me up and my mind started racing with all that I wanted to accomplish and do today. An automatic “go” feeling consumed me where if I didn’t get up that moment, I would feel behind for the remainder of the day. Instead of giving in to that mentality, I chose to roll over and snuggle with Jason for another hour or so. And as the day has unfolded, that cuddle time has been the highlight and a source of joy. Although I haven’t been able to cross everything off my list, all I can think about is how fun today has been.

So thank you unscheduled Africa for reminding me that there is so much joy and beauty in everyday that I often miss by being so rigid about time and lists. 

Thank you other countries for being the example that life is meant to be lived for every moment

Thank you Jason for reminding me that a day is never “wasted” if you are spending it with other people