It’s impossible to tell if things will improve with 2022. And while I would join others in saying that “new year, new me” is a ridiculous notion, I would like to think that it helps give people a reason to start making changes in their life at that moment, rather than putting it off until they get into a mood that may or may never come. Even if those changes don’t stick, it’s still better than never giving yourself an opportunity to be a version of yourself that you have been looking for. So I’m going into 2022 wondering what it is about myself that should be improved, changed, enhanced, etc.
It has been a tough choice, given that I’m already committed to unlearning a lot of the negative behaviors I grew into from youth, but I do think that something that continues to be a constant struggle is my predilection towards competition. In particular, feelings of envy and jealousy towards others. Envy as the competition between myself and the friends I wish I could be more like. Jealousy as the competition between myself and what I fear I could lose. And neither of which is something you can just get rid of with enough self-reflection, reading, or soul-searching. It’s something that will constantly be there at every opportunity, kicking in the door as soon as its name is called. What matters is what you do in the moment that these feelings arrive.
It had me thinking back to something someone said on TikTok, (something I didn’t think would end up taking so much of my free time in 2021) where a user spoke of an argument they had with their SO that soon turned into her flinging an insult. Her SO stopped the argument right then and made the point that once you start acting disrespectful, it stops being an argument. At that point, you’re setting yourself up for resentment. And that’s what had me thinking about it as a kind of competition: are you trying to fix the issue, or are you trying to win?
Do I want to write more often, or do I want to write as often as others do? Am I happy that people are interested in my writing, or do I just want to make an impression? Am I being honest with myself, or am I trying to be what others would like me to be? Do I write the stories that interest me, or am I writing stories that no one will dislike? Am I amiable, or am I a people-pleaser?
Am I doing all of this to be better, or am I trying to win?
I hate that I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I suspect they have a large role to play in my overall brain fog these past few years. I do feel jealous that I’m not as profound in my life experiences as some of the fantastic writers I follow, and I do envy them for it. But it’s not a competition. My experiences aren’t the same as anyone else’s, but I do have my own. What matters more is that I make room in my life for the things that will come. I should spend more time making the most of what is already there.
I don’t have to compete.