Monday, November 2, 2009

Apples and Nuclear Fission.

On the radio this morning:

"Its not even like comparing apples and oranges. Its like comparing apples and . . . and watermelons!"

Yeah, I thought, but they're both still fruit. It would be more effective to make the comparison just ridiculous.

Comparing apples and television remotes.

Apples and lightbulbs.

Its like comparing apples and . . . and the Horsehead Nebula.

And it was this random train of thought that got me started thinking all day about comparisons. Comparisons are unfair things. As individuals, we are unlike anyone else in the world. No one has the same background and experiences that you have. Even identical twins aren't the same person.

Therefore, it is impossible to make an accurate comparison from one person to another. And yet we keep trying. Not even so much comparing other people around us to each other, but comparing ourselves to everyone else. We do this, knowing how unfair it is, and yet somehow we can't stop. Well, she's got such a nice coat, and he's got such a great career, and oh, look how cute their kids, house, dogs, cars are!

I have discovered one of the worst offenders feeding this comparison-obsession is also one of my favorite evening leisure activities: Cruising Facebook.

Yep, scrolling through page after page of the excruciating minutae of my close (and distant) friends is slowly making me insane. Because from my vantage point, it looks like everyone is on vacation all the time. Everyone is having their second (or even third) kid. Everyone is going to parties and climbing mountains and running races and generally just doing stuff that I'm not doing (as I sit on my couch and troll through Facebook....)

And as inaccurate as that perception probably is, when I compare my everyday moments to the adventures posted online by the collective consciousness, it just doesn't match up. So I'm calling Facebook's bluff. I'm disconnecting from the neverending addiction to comparison. Maybe its just me -- maybe all of you are perfectly well-adjusted and maybe your teeth don't grate together like mine when you see another smiling chubby cheeked baby picture pop up on the screen, or read another update that says something like "Gosh Bermuda is so beautiful this time of year!".

Or maybe you're more like me than you thought, and maybe you had those same feelings when you saw our Italy pictures. And I wouldn't blame you. Because I had those same feelings when I saw your beach vacation pictures. Or your skiing pictures, or your theme park pictures, or whatever the heck you did that I didn't get to do.

Facebook forces us to compare ourselves with our friends. It forces us to read all about our friends' lives, and we end up taking the measuring stick to ourselves based on what we've read.

And I, for one, feel like I just can't quite measure up. So I'm calling it quits. I'm detoxing from Facebook. I hereby refuse to compare myself to you people. Because I'm different. And you're different. And your choices are not my choices, and your path is not my path.

And that's okay. Because we aren't all mindless drones. (Okay, Pelosi, you might be an exception to the general rule...) We're people. People with unique thoughts, goals, plans. People with individually distinct lives. We aren't some crazy mash up of everyone's collective vacation pictures.

And to compare my life to your life would be like comparing apples and oranges.

Or apples and nuclear fission. Or something. :)


Marci said...

I think this is the best post you've ever written. Okay, 'cept for some of the yummy recipes . . . but for sure. This post hit me hard & right in the heart. Thanks so much! Your honesty is amazing. Good luck with that detox. : )

The Mulvihills said...

I totally agree! I joined Facebook last week and almost cringe every time I look at it. It does not bring out the best in me. It brings out a harsh, judgemental person who can critique anything about anybody. UGH! Great post, Heather!

I may link to this post from my blog (which makes me happy)! :)

Samantha said...

Great post! (But she cooks the most amazing things and takes beautiful pictures and makes time to write a delightful blog, and aren't those the cutest darned bangs, and it looks like their dogs are allowed near the front door...I wish my dog could come to the front door...). Seriously, though, your Italy photos actually inspired us to plan a trip there - so thanks!

Steven said...

Facebook can be annoying. Thanks for venting!

Michelle Ramsey said...

I had no idea that you turned out to be such a GREAT writer! Do you write for a living? You need to cousin! And I love this site!!I want one haha

Michelle Ramsey said...

Ok just realized this was not my cousin writing but his wife haha this makes more sense to me LOL

Ms. Debbie said...

I totally agree. If I were living in the "old days" I would probably have been a letter writer. I joined facebook just to be "trendy" but find the chatter as annoying as the endless emails. I love blogs. They are usually well written, with great pictures and I can enjoy them when I want. I love your blog Heather! I love you! Thank you for blogging. Please keep it up!

Daniel Jay said...

I quit comparing myself to others a long time ago after I saw what I really look like close up. I bought one of those super magnifying mirrors that attach to the regular mirror with a suction cup. I installed it late one evening before going to bed. The next morning while brushing my teeth I looked into that mirror and screamed. I saw a house fly with antennas brushing his teeth.
I am very attractive at a distance and rather hidious as you zoom in. Because of this, I don't do Facebook and am sceptical of images and reports in general. By the way, I kinda hate the internet in general.