I came across this quote during a re-read of the famous comic classic and my personal favorite Three Men in A Boat by Jerome k. Jerome.
In addition to making me smile, it took me on a trip down the memory lane. I don’t know about you but I cannot bear the thought of having to wake up when everyone around me is still asleep.
I dread my high school exam days to this date, when this was a fairly common occurrence to me.
‘Three Men in a Boat’ is my Agony Aunt – not the one that would listen to my woes
and suggest alleviation mechanisms, but the one that would make me laugh so hard that I forget about everything else.
But right after that bout would come a phase of reflection, but more on that later..
Straight back to school days, living with my siblings. I was (and will be, for the foreseeable future) a late riser.
I would sleep in until noon on weekends. I used to have just two meals – the one you have after lunch (they call it ‘brunch’, right) and dinner – this way, I would load up on all movies and TV shows I could pack in my weekend waking hours.
I was the most amiable person you could find on the planet if I could sleep a minimum of 10 hours a day.
That would, however, not be the case if my siblings slept for 10 hours and 5 minutes. No!
No one could sleep more than me. No one!
And over the years, I have realized I am as unique in having this trait as 2 billion others on the planet. There is something very disturbing about someone having more privileges – for me it was sleep back then.
I value my sleep as much as I did back then, but there are quite a few other items that have been added to the list over the last few years.
I might be happily getting by with my 1-bed apartment until someone my own age, someone I know, has recently paid off the mortgage on a 3-bed. The same apartment that was a haven for me before, suddenly, feels too cramped.
It’s not even like we are the only ones that resort to comparison; perhaps all of our parents did that too.
For instance, imagine a boy who’s jubilant that he got an A in his exams, when his parents were expecting him to get just a B+. Obviously, he ‘exceeded expectations’ of his parents.
But when he breaks the news to his parents, they hardly seem excited about it. Why?
Because their neighbor’s kid got an A+.
The scene changes from enthusiastic congratulations to his parents complaining about he ‘failed’ compared to his classmate. ‘After all’ the parents say, ‘don’t you get the same privileges as that boy who lives next door?’
The Comparison Monster can creep in all spheres of our life and wreak havoc if we are not watchful. We need to guard our happiness and sanity as fiercely as Joey from Friends guards his food.
So, how do we ensure that we are not a permanent resident of Compareville aka Miserytown?
The answer is pretty simple. Read the following quote once, twice, thrice. Hell, put it up in your living room for good measure:
“Someone else’s beauty is not the absence of your own.”