Wanna know what can be depressing? Browsing Instagram.
I know we all have our own opinions about social media, but I love Instagram. I love seeing little snapshots of my friends' lives, and I love getting to browse snapshots of subjects that interest me. But something that starts out as fun can quickly turn to self-doubt.
I scroll through photos with writing hashtags and see writers in their young twenties celebrating getting an agent. Writer friends going to expensive conferences together. Authors who don't have to work an additional job because they're paying their rent with money they're making from people reading the books they wrote. That is amazing! And I'm over here like...Oh, I thought it was a good day because I got ten minutes of writing done.
I browse blogging pictures and see people getting paid to travel and wear pretty clothes. People with tens of thousands of followers, getting paid to collaborate with some of my favorite brands. And I'm over here like...Oh, I thought it was a good day because I had some really engaging comments on my post.
I scroll through pictures with mom life hashtags and am baffled by the mom who has three kids, one of which is four months old, and managed to curl her hair and contour her makeup for a picture. The mom lounging by the pool with her already once again toned abs (HOW?!) while her baby sleeps peacefully. The mom who is baking a freaking homemade cake in her spotless, trendy kitchen while her baby plays contently in the next room. And I'm over here like...I thought it was a good day because Jack got a bath and I got a workout in.
I'm not a jealous person. I don't struggle with envy. When I see these things, I'm legitimately happy for these people. How amazing that someone's hard work is paying off in the form of getting an agent and a paycheck from the book they wrote-good for them! You grew your blog following enough to start making serious money and getting paid for cool experiences? That is incredible. Congratulations! She has time to take care of her kids and have a clean house and still look like a supermodel? That is remarkable. Go her!
I don't get jealous. What I get is a little down on myself. I get the feeling that I should be doing more, that I should be more successful, that I should be more. All of the sudden, my good days that I was so proud of don't seem so bright and shiny and successful. They seem dim and dull and barely scraping by.
I'm not stupid. I know we only put our best foot forward on Instagram. For example, I wanted to show off my new mug, so I took the above picture no less than twelve times. Do you see that all of my nail polish is chipped off? That I stained my dress minutes after putting it on? Do you hear that Jack is screaming in the next room because Chris is trying to get him to wear a bow-tie and he is just not having it? No, no you do not. I know we all do this! I'm not going to boycott social media, because I'm a smart woman, and I know that the problem isn't with pictures on the internet, the problem is with me.
I need to work on defining my own success. Would I love to get an agent? Absolutely. Is that in the cards for me at the moment? Not this month! Would getting paid to blog be the best thing ever? Of course! Am I going to make enough money blogging to quit my job? Not a chance.
So wouldn't it be stupid, then, to define my own personal success as those things? Because if I did, then success would always be out of reach, and my days would always fall short.
Want to know how I'm defining success lately? By good days. If it's a good day, then it was a successful day.
Sometimes a good day means writing an entire chapter and getting paid to write a cool blog post and doing my makeup and taking Jack to the park. And sometimes a good day means Jack was bathed and fed and my husband still loves me and the house is still standing.
If I can lay in bed at the end of the day and remember that life is good, I'd call that a success.