The mistakes we make…

As I tipped over into my thirties I began to wonder where I was going wrong in life. I hadn’t had the confidence or drive to really pursue a career inMistake journalism and had drifted into a vaguely publishing-related office job instead (albeit with the wonderful addition of getting to edit The Book Monster for a couple of years). I was recently divorced after making the mistake of marrying an alcoholic. I was rapidly approaching the ovary-shrivelling ‘geriatric’ stage of fertility and living out a rebound relationship which never really had any chance of making it in the long term.

I’ve made some compromises and had to search for love the hard way (internet dating anyone?) to get to where I am now. And whilst I am very happy and feel very lucky to have two beautiful, healthy children in my life, sometimes I look at the lives of others – people who have set up successful businesses, known what their true vocation was from the word go (and how to make it the centre of everything they do), met and married their first love and had children at the ‘right’ age, created their own dream home (something I don’t even have the energy to aspire to), even people now who have set up a blog with such professionalism and knowledge of what they want out of it – that I’m stunned at what a failure my life looks in comparison. And I wonder if, over the years, I’ve made mistakes – taken the wrong fork in the road, given in to self-doubt, settled for less than I was worth.

But then I realise that my biggest mistake – the one I’m constantly in danger of making time and again with the help of all the many and varied social media platforms – is comparison itself. As the saying goes, into every life some rain must fall, no-one gets away with a life of ups (and by the way Cheryl Cole, being ‘on a rollercoaster, but it’s only going up’ is, in my humble opinion, a bit of an oxymoron, sorry love). The trick of it is to celebrate the ups and, for me, to realise that life is a learning experience and I’m still only half way through.

Perhaps being happy in the present moment is enough to cancel out any number of dodgy past life decisions, because I truly believe that everything we do in life is simply a quest for happiness, whether or not we’re aware of it and no matter how subtly we identify that feeling.



31 thoughts on “The mistakes we make…

  1. Oh no, don’t feel like that! You’re a great person, full of fun and quirkiness! Your blog design looks amazing and what you write always makes me smile, laugh or relate. I read not long ago something along the lines of “don’t compare your beginning to someone’s middle.” There’s a good point in that, isn’t there? The blogs we tend to read most and aspire to become as good as are hugely successful, but there are only a handful of them, really! They probably know what they are doing as well, which must help, ha ha!

  2. Theodore Roosvelt said that ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ and I could not agree more. As I said in a comment on one of your other posts recently, the grass is rarely greener on the other side my lovely… scratch the surface and the people with these seemingly wonderful lives are all struggling in their own way. Someone somewhere will be looking at your lovely life with your gorgeous kids and hubby and thinking ‘how did she get all the luck’. I’m glad you drew the conclusions you did at the end of this post. Now it’s time to truly believe it, because once you do you won’t want to waste your time comparing yourself to anyone else 🙂 xxx

    • I guess I keep the really bad bits on the low down too just like everyone else but yes, good old Teddy Roosevelt was spot on! What you say reflects what Emma of Life at the Little Wood said recently too about everyone, no matter how seemingly happy and contented, having a little yearning for what someone else has got 🙂 X

  3. I love your blog!!
    To compare ourselves to others is a dead end street. We’re all unique and have different areas where we shine.
    “I was rapidly approaching the ovary-shrivelling ‘geriatric’ stage of fertility”
    I’M THERE!! Well a bit beyond it actually…
    And I laughed at this line, so, you also made me laugh – another plus!
    Good post. X

    • Ah love you! Cheque’s in the post, etc! Nice to get some outright affirmation every once in a while 🙂 Love your blog too, sometimes it’s ‘voice’ that comes through and you just know that someone is on your wavelength. X

  4. Yes, I totally agree. We live a life striving for ‘happiness’, and because of social media especially, we can be fooled into thinking that there is somehow a ‘happiness formula’. If we just manage to ‘get this’ or ‘have that’ one more thing, then we’ll be happy. It’s so easy to miss being happy in the moment x

  5. I love the phrase “swings and roundabouts”. You’re so right, comparing yourself to others never works and we really are all striving for happiness whether we realise it or not. Great post, made me think a bit!! 🙂

  6. When I clicked on this link, I thought, what a great name for a blog! You appear to me to be one of those who knows what they are doing! We all have doubts. We all make mistakes. Life would be pretty boring if we didn’t’t have goals and aspirations. What would happen if you got everything you wanted? Enjoy the rollercoaster I say- with its ups and downs. #ThePrompt

    • Unfortunately I can’t claim the creative genius for the title ‘The Mistakes We Make…’ as I just picked it up from this week’s Prompt! So kind of you to say that I seem to know what I’m doing with the blog – essentially I’m just writing stuff and a lot of the extraneous bits (like promotion, which, it turns out, is just as important!) gets shunted down my ‘to do’ list which is a bit unfortunate. It’s true, life would be boring if we were all perfect and had nothing to strive for. I’m sure I read somewhere (possibly The Happiness Project) that it’s the journey towards the goal that actually makes you happy, more so than actually achieving it and that is a really interesting point…

  7. I agree that is is so easy to start comparing yourself when you go on social media, especially when it comes to blogging. It’s not a popularity contest, but it can feel that way. There are some people around me who are very special to me and I admire them because of their eternal optimism and positivity. I always remind myself of these people if I start to feel negative or down.

    • It’s great to have people in your real life who inspire you with their positivity. Those kind of people just give off good karma without even trying. I think that is something you are either born with or you aren’t – some people are just naturally ‘glass half empty’ – but I guess you can train your brain to turn the negatives around and see the good in a bad situation. I love a mantra – I got this from The Happiness Project, but whenever I’m having a stressful moment with the kids I silently repeat ‘The days are long, but the years are short’ and it helps me put it all in perspective. X

      • I like that mantra a lot. I think you are right about training yourself and if you surround yourself with positive people it does rub off. On the other side of the coin, negative people drag you down.

  8. I can so relate to your writing here. We all have our moments of self-doubt, of wondering if it is all going to pots. But then, like Julie Andrews says in The Sound of Music, “I must have done something good.” It is definitely all about current happiness #theprompt

  9. Comparison is a soul destroying thing, and one I think we are all guilty of from time to time. I find it impossible not to do it, even though I know it leads to nothing but frustration and unhappiness. You write a wonderful, thoughtful blog, that often (scarily!) reflects what I am thinking. No one ever truly knows what is going on in someone else’s life and, as you rightly say, into everyone’s life some rain must fall. None of us are immune to feeling that we’ve made horrible mistakes, I guess the trick is turning them into something positive and moving forward. Thanks so much for linking to #ThePrompt with another wonderful post.

    • Thanks Elfa! It’s so easy to fall into that comparison trap – I think I need a new mantra to repeat whenever I find myself doing it! Having a few years under the belt definitely makes you that much wiser though and gives you that much more perspective though, for sure. Xx

  10. I definitely agree my lovely, the present is definitely the place to be and the only place you can hope to be content. And comparison is definitely never constructive, though I am sure we are all guilty of it xx

    • True. There should be some kind of law that says any gloaty kind of post on social media should be accompanied by a disclaimer or a picture of a screaming child or something just to put it in perspective 🙂 Xx

  11. It’s almost impossible to not compare yourself with others (especially in the bloggy world) and I quite often wonder where my life would be if I’d made different choices, but as I’ve got older it’s more out of interest than wishing for something I don’t have. I think it takes being a bit more mature to really appreciate what you have. xxx

    • Yes you’re right. I have definitely had moments recently where I have just been walking along behind my little ones or holding their hands and just realised that I was happy in that moment and known that I will one day look back on these days and really truly miss how wonderful it could be. 🙂 X

  12. I find it so hard not to compare myself with others – especially when I look back on my 20s which whilst they were (mainly) fun were full of false starts, with a lack of confidence pushing me towards doomed relationships and preventing me from following my dreams. I have a very successful younger brother, 8 years my junior, who just seems to have it all worked out – I love him dearly but he does make me wonder what I’ve done with my life! But then I stop and remember how happy I am now and how if I hadn’t made all those ‘mistakes’ when I was younger things would have turned out very differently. All of which is to say – yes, the present is where it’s at! And my present, not anyone else’s. Great post 🙂 xx

    • Oh you sound very like me Sophie. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who has spent a lifetime wondering how other people manage to have it so together so effortlessly! It’s always good to make a little list of what other people might envy about your life too though I guess – we sometimes do undervalue the things we’ve done right when we focus so hard on the things we’ve done wrong! Xx

  13. Social media makes it too easy to feel crappy about life. All those smiley beautiful people on instagram and facebook. People out on the beach with their kids laughing and playing. Not a tantrum, speck of vomit or cross parent in sight. They aren’t real though. Just remember. Even those who made their fortunes doing what they wanted have doubts. They made sacrifices to get there. You can always point yourself in a direction and go there. If you keep at it, you’ll do it. X

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