Measurable Differences

I have had a habit of measuring myself against others, especially when it comes to matters of age. It is an easy comparison to make, and it is definite: I have spent 24 years on this ferrous hunk of metal, and I can compare that to anyone else’s amount of time on the same ball and tally accomplishments between the two of us(technically if I compare myself to an historic figure, I should have a few more hundredths of a second more than they- the Earth is moving away from the Sun, slowly).

I digress, of course. Additionally, let me take a moment to register an obvious fact: this entry will be vapid, self-involved and will probably be perceived as obnoxiously delusional. I am talking about me versus others and my first world problems which are insignificant if viewed with a wider lens.

To my point: I have now found it unwise to compare myself to others. I have never been pressured to compare my accomplishments to others’ in my memorable history, I have compared myself to others only because I have felt personally compelled to. Allow me to run through a few scenarios that I have compared myself to others:

I took the better part of six years to finish school. Traditionally, that accomplishment is completed in four years, in rare cases five, and hardly ever six. Because of my slow pace, I find myself in my first adult place of employment at 24.  By this time I have contemporaries that have been hired, then promoted, and promoted again before I first signed my contract.

Also, although I have always been fascinated by technology, I didn’t delve terribly deeply into web development until very recently. I did not know more than a markup language until I was 21, and am still pulling myself through some of the more obtuse elements of some languages, and I am even more lacking when it comes to my knowledge of backend web.

I never left the country until I was 23 (and that was a very late 23- I turned 24 in Paris under the Eifel Tower), and when at home, Irarely spent time outside my room let alone the vast world.

As you may have been able to tell, I have let these things fester for some time. When I notice these things, I furiously try to change and learn(especially when it comes to my profession) but in these moments of shame or comparison, I retain little from my scramblings. Comparisons have made me feel insignificant, for when I compare myself to a dozen others I don’t compare myself versus one, I compare myself to the summed total of the bunch. When that comparison is made there is no chance for me to level myself with them, even with my most optimistic mindset.

But this is unhealthy for me. Competition with others may fuel some, but it drains me. I find that if I am to singularly focus my energies on my internal expectations, the outcome is far better than what I could accomplish with competition. I do without expectation, disregarding the finish line at the end of the race so that I may be able to find a path more fitting to myself. So far, those wandering paths have found me in new places, with an open mind, and to greater internal and external effect.