Keeping up with the joneses
Keeping up with the Joneses
The holidays are all finally over. I look outside my window and discover the enormous work that is still tasked ahead of me. Taking down all the decorations of lights, inside and outside, the christmas tree, the mistletoe, the tabletop plantations of fake gold and silver leaves, and the stockings. Take down, wrap up, package it and put it all away. Hours spent before and after. Enjoying the festivities is one thing yet trying to tally up with the neighborhood record keeping score of decoration is yet another matter.
Spring is coming and so is the summer. Out then comes the lawn mower, the weed whackers, the hedge trimmers, the edge trimmers and a whole host of indescribable lawn equipment from my shed that I have never used and clearly do not know how to use. Probably my nose hair trimmer as well just to make sure the lawn is perfectly finely cut at every corner !! Hours and hours spent yet again creating a perfect lawn as is the case in most of the lawns in the neighborhood. Keeping up with neighbors is turning into hard work.
Once the fall season begins, the insane race to clean up every fallen leaf begins. Sometimes with such efficiency that I try to even capture the leaf as it departs from the branch in mid air. To be more productive, just cut the tree down !! Must beat the neighbors from cleaning up their lawns before me, now that would be ridiculous. Of course at this point I am being quite facetious. I wonder if I were to ever keep up with mySelf would I be able to achieve the same satisfaction and joy that keeping up with the neighbors brings?
Perfection is in the eye of the beholder, such that it can never be satiated. The unfortunate reality about this level of “keeping up” becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The more I try, the more I will not succeed, and I try harder. The cycle s self perpetuating till self destruction occurs. Mental and physical exhaustion is the end result that leads to resentment of all. Where does this competition end ? What are its boundaries? Does the thirst to be better with another end in my neighborhood or do I then challenge myself to “keep up” with outside neighborhood friendships, or with family members or time myself against the “better life experiences” of others on social media. Do I take this to the next level and compete with circles at the work place too? Where does this keeping up with appearances end?
I find that always being on high alert and vigil of observing everything around me, I am inherently becoming more exhausted. When I let go of this tiresome activity of comparison and competition and am more cognizant of my emotions, feelings and thoughts, I find more peace. It is not competing on the outside that is as important as is keeping up with my own personal internal maintenance, or my own inner decoration or celebration. With practice I find that I am getting more efficient and productive in keeping up with mySelf than with the Joneses. Perhaps by improving my mindsets, I automatically improve my efficiency in all that I do on the outside as well.
Keeping up with the Joneses? I think not, let the Joneses keep up with me.