But when you're recalling old memories and feelings, and looking at old photos, do you ever find yourself feeling kinda down? Like it's not just happy nostalgia... it's swirled with all kinds of feelings of guilt or disappointment or even shame. You might think, "I used to be so much better back then"/ "I used to work harder"/ "I was more creative" / "I looked better."
My past self is just another girl whom I compare myself too; some days I laugh about how far I've come, but other days she seems miles ahead of me, like I've only gotten lazier and older and weaker. And that's funny, because in the most literal sense, I am miles (and years) ahead of her.
I think I often make this mistake, and maybe you do too, of thinking of life in a purely linear way. It's like this analogy that I saw on the internet somewhere of a person standing the wrong way on a moving sidewalk: When you work hard and sprint, you make progress and move forward. When you don't move and don't challenge yourself, the moving sidewalk makes you fall behind.
That sounds nice and all, and it's definitely motivational, but life is way more messy and more complicated than a moving sidewalk. Your life isn't just one sidewalk, it's 20,000 of them.
Your life isn't just one sidewalk, it's 20,000 of them.
Maybe in one aspect of your life, say your blog, you aren't making that much progress. Darn. But maybe in another part, like your education, you're full on sprinting and getting a 4.0. Maybe you've been really insecure and uninspired lately, but maybe you're also progressing in a new hobby. Some parts of you are running, and some are walking, and some are falling behind. That's the truth. But you've got to remember not to focus on just one part.
Yes, the progress of your inner sidewalks was probably different two years ago. Your priorities were different, and your life was different, and your outlook was different. Perhaps, on some moving sidewalks, you even feel a little like you're falling behind. Does that mean you're lazy and a complete failure? Well, no. It just means that there's probably some other little guy on a completely different moving sidewalk inside of you who's getting ready for the marathon of his life.
Maybe you don't even know where he's running to yet.
So this holiday season, as you're sipping hot cocoa and looking through photo albums of the glory days, don't feel disappointed or ashamed. Maybe little-you thought you'd be somewhere else by now, doing bigger things (little-me definitely did). But maybe little-you just doesn't understand. She is younger and not nearly as wise as you, anyways.
Think of it this way: You have a million little victories and a million little failures inside of you each day. (And each week, and month, and year.) You can't judge your overall success by some little failures that used to be victories, or vise-versa. Different parts of your life will become better and tougher and better and tougher over and over again.
When you remember that, and when you see the big picture, a single moving sidewalk will look like much less of an end-all. It will just look like life.