Of course I’m 30 now. I’m not afraid of monsters anymore. In fact I’ve come to have a rather too comfortable symbiotic relationship with a particularly large one of the green-eyed variety.
Yes, I confess, it’s a well-known fact among my family and close friends that I suffer horrendously from low self-esteem and that I have a truly unparalleled talent for self-deprecation. I’m constantly comparing myself to other people and unwillingly manage to convince myself that everyone else is better than me somehow. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember and frankly it wears me out. It’s because I think too much, I over-analyse everything to the point of mental self-destruction and up until now I’ve always considered this trait to be a very negative thing. I mean, come on, who’d actually WANT to be constantly comparing themselves to old school-buddies, exes, work colleagues, fellow students and even strangers I know nothing about. What purpose does it serve? Answer: none other than to make me feel like I haven’t achieved anything with my 30.25 years.
In recent months however I had an epiphany. I’ve come to the incredible realisation that my jealousy is actually very productive. Confused? Allow me to explain. I recently discovered that an old friend of mine is now doing quite well for themselves. Not in the earning a 6-figure-salary sense, but has gone after something they’re passionate about and is really making it work for them. Now upon discovering this I sank into a self-deprecating mess (why, oh why can’t things like that happen to me?!). I wallowed in self-pity for a brief time and then I sat up in my chair, brushed myself off and thought to myself, hang on a minute, they’re no different to me, if this person can do it I’m blummin well sure I can too. So I started a little one-sided competition. I thought about what would be the biggest and best achievement for me, something that if I succeeded I could genuinely say I was proud of myself and other people would view me as having accomplished something good. That achievement for me is getting a PhD and as I explained in one of my earlier ramblings I started my thinking at the end goal and worked my way backwards to try and figure out what steps I would need to take in order to get there. So having figured out what I wanted to achieve I set about making it work and in quite a short space of time (few months, maybe) have already managed to improve myself, and hopefully my chances of reaching that goal, tenfold. That initial pang of jealousy has spawned my vampiritic-thirst for self-improvement. My jealousy and penchant for mental self-abuse has actually been the catalyst for me starting to turn elements of my life on their kilter.
I’m undecided whether the competition is with myself, this old friend or the big bad world in general but frankly it doesn’t matter does it. I’m on the path now, gaining momentum all the time, like an ever burgeoning snowball tumbling down a hillside picking up experience and knowledge along the way.
So if I’m now a metaphorical snowball on a path towards self-improvement and mental rest, then all I have to say on the matter is “since I’ve now a place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow”.*
*Bastardisation of Dean Martin recognised and profusely apologised for.