ne fine day, peacock and toad were sitting on the banks of the river, feeling glum. Peacock looked over at toad and lamented, “I can’t catch flies with the ease of toad!” Meanwhile, toad looked at peacock and somberly thought to himself, “I’ll never be as flashy and beautiful as peacock!” And they both sat there for the rest of the day feeling sorry for themselves, never recognizing their own brilliance.
(If you don’t mind, maybe we can pause for just a second to admire my newfound talent for writing fables. Didn’t even know I had it in me!)
Alright, but isn’t this SO MUCH LIKE LIFE? We all want to be the peacock. Or we all want to be the toad. (Well, to be honest, I don’t usually meet people who want to have the qualities of a toad. But you get what I mean. This is a fable! If Aesop wasn’t confined to reality then why should I be?!?)
Here’s where out story begins: the other day I was at the gym, lifting weights – per my new year’s resolution to work out 5 days a week. There was a girl in there who was doing some intense ab exercises – like, not just one or two but basically A MILLION of them the whole time I was in there. She just didn’t stop. It was amazing and intimidating all at the same time.
I was feeling just GREAT about life until I realized that she had been there before I entered the gym and continued to stay there, working those abs of steel, after I was finished and ready to leave. She was so much stronger than me! So much more dedicated!
Honestly, I felt a little crabby as I headed home. I was irritable with Bobby and tucked into bed early.
I didn’t connect my experience at the gym with any of my moodiness until the next day. I stumbled upon this blog post on Oh Joy! and then it all started to come together. In her post, she drops this wisdom:
“No one is doing it all, and we are all “lazy” in some way. It just depends on what you care to spend your time on and what you don’t.”
Aha! It was all making sense! Maybe Amazing Gym Girl is able to do endless ab exercises but perhaps she doesn’t journal every night or send out dozens of homemade valentines. (Or maybe she does, and if that’s the case then I should go camp out in the gym until I see her again so we can be best friends forever and always.) At any rate, there are surely SOME areas of my life that she would look at and start to feel crumby about – all without realizing that we are just both choosing to use or talents and spend our time in different arenas.
It’s far too easy to isolate one awesome, amazing, jaw-droopingly good area of someone else’s life and start to question our own. The next time that happens to you, maybe just take Joy’s advice and spend some time thinking about the areas where that person is “lazy.” It’s not so much about cutting them down to size as it is being kind to yourself and seeing the larger, more realistic perspective.
And once you’ve done that, take time to celebrate that other person’s gifts. It’s not always easy being people’s biggest fan, but I can guarantee you that it feels better for all parties involved – and it certainly beats sitting on the bank of the river feeling glum.
A word from our sponsors:
Amazing Gym Girl, keep it up. And if we do become friends in real life, I promise to send you a homemade valentine next year.