Can someone please explain to me how people think that keeping up with everyone else on a constant basis will end in their happiness? This does not seem logical to me. Every time I see someone doing something just because someone else in their life is upgrading somehow, I want to scream. You see your college roommate just bought a new house? Better add an addition to your already over-sized home! When does it STOP?! Keeping up with others will emotionally and financially drain you. There is no positive end to it. Someone, somewhere will always appear to be doing better than you. They probably are. That is life.
Please stop accumulating mass amounts of debt so that your child can be an Olympic gymnast when your child cannot even walk without tripping over her feet. Stop going on vacations that look good on social media but that do not make real memories. Stop arguing with your spouse over spending money on things that are not necessary at all because you must have, or do, something to keep up appearances. It is not worth it. I repeat IT IS NOT WORTH IT.
I have seen a lot of happy and fulfilled people. Some of those people did not have a pot to piss in. Appearing happy and successful to others does not in fact make you happy and successful. I am not saying that some people who try to keep up or out do others are not happy. I am certain some of them are. But I would argue a lot of the people who feed into this have far more stress in their life because of outside influences than it is worth.
Decide what makes you happy.
What are the indulgences in life that genuinely make you happy? If you could only pick one extra special thing, what would it be? Some people may love to travel and experience new cultures. Others may be foodies who are willing to spend all of their surplus income on amazing food. If it does not make you happy then do not waste your time. Do not pay $12 for a piece of apple pie that looks good in a picture when you really prefer cherry. Do not be the person who pays for a fancy gym membership when you prefer to go run in the park for free. If it is not an experience that brings you pure happiness when no one else can see it, then it is not an experience to chase after. Happiness is the goal, not attention.
Surround yourself with people you cannot imagine life without.
Have you heard the quote about making sure everyone in your boat is rowing and not drilling holes when you are not looking? This is especially vital when you are engaged in a life of keeping up with others. Make sure the people around you are looking at for your best interest, even when it is not in theirs. One true friend leads to far more happiness than ten fake friends. Isn’t it better to laugh so hard your gut hurts at something completely un-cool and probably not funny to most people than to fake laugh at some idiot to kiss ass for notoriety?
At the end of the road you will only look back and regret the time you spent with people who actually suck. Do not waste your precious time on those people when there are so many awesome people in the world to interact with. A huge chunk of those people do not look like celebrities or drive fancy cars. They are too busy focusing on the more truly important things. Find those people.
Keep it 100% with yourself.
Do not lie to yourself and try to become someone you are not. Keeping up with your neighbor or high school nemesis does not help you be a better person. Keeping up with others drains you of the energy you need to rock your life on your own terms. If you look in the mirror, you know this is true. Material items could all disappear in an instant. Money is necessary to function within our society, but it is not meaningful. It is replaceable. Time spent being happy with family and friends is not.
Once a moment has passed you cannot get it back. Make sure you are fully there in the moment and not too busy making sure other people know you are having the moment. It is so easy to get caught up and not be authentic to ourselves. Make sure you take the time to ensure you are busy keeping up with your needs, not others.
You CAN do it!
I would like to conduct an experiment for anyone brave enough to participate. Here it is: Come up with a list of needs and stick to only doing/buying those things for one month. Actually, I will even allow three “splurges” in this month-long challenge (this includes your iced mocha runs for you crazy cold coffee people). And do not post any of it on social media! At the end of that month let me know if you found a way to be equally happy with the experiences in your life. If you do, then this post is obviously not for you. You have mastered being happy without caring about having things to broadcast to others. For those of you that make it one week and almost lose your mind, this post is for you. Knock it off!
I am not saying you should never have some extras. I am saying you should choose those extras based on what is best for you and your family with no regard for what the neighbors might think. Others’ happiness is not your happiness.
Let me know how it goes!