“Now, he has got the life!”, a friend said to me the other day referring to a common friend we share on Facebook. This common friend is always on Facebook putting up photos of himself in beautiful places with beautiful people doing fun things.
One day you see pictures of him having a glass of champagne at the hottest restaurant on another day he’s “checking in” using Foursquare at a fancy hotel somewhere in the world and the next day he’s surrounded by hip and interesting people having a great time in the tropics. No matter what happens, from the outside looking in, it seems like this guy is having the time of his life.
On some days looking at those photos drives me absolutely crazy! What gives? What am I doing wrong here? How is this guy living the good life while I’m struggling with so much chaos just trying to get by? It doesn’t add up! How is he paying the mortgage and doing all the things he’s doing with the kids so perfectly? He’s probably at home right now baking gluten free cookies!!! And here I am slaving away at a stressful job, ordering takeout for my kids, tossing them an Oreo instead of an apple and always running around trying to make ends meet.
Sometimes seeing others living La Dolce Vita (the good life) can be a major contributor of stress and anxiety especially as I struggle to navigate in an increasingly uncertain and unpredictable world. At times I feel as though chaos is picking on me! That I am the only one who is so stressed and anxious about all this uncertainty, unpredictability and chaos in my career and in my family life.
Measuring ourselves against our friends or neighbors is nothing new but what has supercharged ‘keeping up with the Jones’ is that we get smacked by it on our Facebook feed almost on a daily basis. He has a bigger house than we do, she seems so happy and is a perfect mom. Always smiling and doing those arts and crafts with the kids. He’s got so much more in his 401k. He’s set. I’m struggling.
As reflected on my past year having met lots of people going through career changes, divorce or separation, personal drama, family crisis or business challenges, I realized something that has helped me with this notion of “Facebook envy” and that is: Chaos does not discriminate. The laws of life do not discriminate. The reality is that everyone has chaos at some point in there life and I am not alone.
As I started digging deeper into understanding how others around me Embrace the Chaos, I came to this realization that no matter how perfect someone’s life may appear to be, they are not immune to chaos. We’re all human and subject to the ups and downs of a life that is uncertain, unpredictable and complicated. We all go through our moments of chaos at some point in our lives. Knowing that I am not the only one struggling with the challenges of an uncertain future can be comforting.
And the good news is that by Accepting Chaos (Rule#1) and realizing that no one’s career or life is immune from it, I can feel as though it is part of the norm that I must live with it, not ignore. And that if others can embrace the chaos then I can too! I have the same ability as anyone else for being able to manage an uncertain economy, unpredictable career path and a hectic and complex family life. I have it in me as others do to be able to live, survive and even thrive amidst all the chaos ‘out there’.
I believe that by accepting uncertainty and chaos is a natural part of life that all of us go through, I can feel a little better knowing that I will get through it – as others have. I just have to take each Facebook photo with a grain of salt and understand that what my friend may try to portray on Facebook is a tiny snapshot of his life. And perhaps he has gone through tough times in the past and now uses his Facebook posts as a way to be inspirational, aspirational or simply more positive. And that is perfectly awesome! Kudos to him! So the next time I see him baking gluten free cookies for his kids, I will cut him some slack and realize that he is just like me – someone just trying survive and thrive – with perhaps one small exception: he has fully Embraced the Chaos!
Rule #1: Expect and Accept Chaos | Embrace the Chaos! | Bob Miglani