To the girl I compare myself to on the internet:
I’ve been thinking about writing this letter for some time now, but I’ve been trying so hard to stop myself from feeling this way. Comparing yourself to others is something we are constantly told not to do, but it’s not easy in this day and age, in a time where people post their entire lives for all to see on social media.
I have hopes and dreams just like everyone else, but I feel so far away from them. I’m in my late twenties, and most people say that I’m “still so young” and have “so much time,” but that doesn’t stop my clock from ticking. They tell me that I have it good compared to some others, and I realize that, but I still strive to have the things I want in life that feel so out of reach. I’ve watched a lot of people I know — friends, family, acquaintances, and people I know only through the internet — get married, buy their first home, start a family, and land their dream job. Sure, I don’t know how they really feel deep inside, but through what they post, it seems like they’ve got life figured out. It’s hard to watch others live and breath my hopes and dreams while I’m sitting back still trying to figure out how to conquer them.
I’ve tried so hard to find and do the things that make me the happiest, but I feel like all of my decisions haven’t been the best ones. If I compared my life to a maze, I’ve essentially just been hitting dead ends and have had to turn around and start again one too many times. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the American Dream. You know, the one that always paints the picture in your head of a big colonial house, a white picket fence, a lush green neighborhood, and a family of four with big fat smiles on their faces. If you Google it, the American Dream is actually “the ideal by which equality of opportunity is available to any American, allowing the highest aspirations and goals to be achieved.” For me, the American Dream has been conditioned in my brain since I was a young child and to some extent follows it’s Dictionary definition: grow up, go to college, get a good job, fall in love, get married, start a family, and live happily ever after.
So enough about me – let’s talk about you, girl from the Internet. It looks like you have everything I hope for and possibly more. How do you do it? Do you consider yourself lucky? Do you ever think about a girl like me, who looks at your pictures and reads your captions and imagines herself in your shoes? Do you ever compare yourself to others or have you in the past? Are you living your American Dream? Are you happy?
You might be surprised by these questions, maybe even weirded out by them, but it’s just how I feel. I try not to look, I try not to compare myself to you, but it happens. The truth is, it’s because I’m not completely happy and I’m having a hard time figuring out how to get to where I want to be.
But girl, just know that while I do compare myself to you, I think of you as an inspiration, because I know how important hopes and dreams are and I’m doing what I can to get to where I want to be. I’m coming to terms with the fact that happiness is a process and we have to take steps to get there — things just don’t happen overnight. I’m learning how to take things one day at a time, and most importantly, to do the things that make me happy. And who knows, maybe one day I’ll be the girl on the Internet that someone else is comparing herself to.
Or maybe I already am.
Destined to be happy