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Not Keeping Up With the Joneses

So, I love Pilates!  I have been doing Pilates for probably close to five years now.  I feel good about myself, and am proud of how far I have come!  I feel strong, and I feel healthy.  My teachers are very supportive and are constantly telling me how strong I am, and how advanced I am, and how I am learning things that most of the other students in the studio aren’t learning yet.  This all sounds good, right?  Then a student comes in who hardly has any experience in Pilates at all and can do an exercise that I am struggling with, seemingly with little effort.  Do I continue to celebrate my achievements; or do I get frustrated at how it seems that someone else is progressing beyond me and/or quicker than me?  Sadly, my response is usually the second.

This kind of thing also happens in my music career.  For 13 years I have been a self-employed musician as I quit my last day job not long before I was married in 2005.  I currently run a successful private studio, am a member of Symphony NB, I am regularly contacted for event performances, I perform regularly at local festivals, have recorded and released 5 CD’s…  This all sounds good, right?  I am proud of all that I have achieved for sure, and am kind of shocked that I have been able to be a self-employed musician for this long.  But I still look at the careers that other people have and think:Violin in autumn forest

“Why is this musician being offered a showcase at the East Coast Music Awards and I am not?”

“Why is this musicians being asked to play at the Festival of Small Halls and I am not?”

“I am at least as good of a musician as x, why is he/she further along in his/her career than I am?”

This is sadly a human condition of always comparing yourself to other people, even though you don’t know their complete story.

This Pilates student who seems able to do exercises seemingly effortlessly, well, maybe that person has been studying yoga for the last 10 years and has better control over their body than I do.  Maybe even though they are new here, they have been putting in a lot of work that I have not seen…  Maybe our bodies are just different and something that I find easy is something that he/she is struggling with.

These people whose music careers seem to magically take shape over night…  Maybe they have been slogging through the same steps I have been doing!  Usually “overnight success” is not a real thing.  Usually these musicians have been working hard, and this is just the moment that the rest of the world takes an interest in them.  You cannot know someone else’s story and what they have already done before you met them.

I looked up the meaning of the phrase “Keeping up with the Joneses”, and it particularly relates to wanting the same expensive objects that your neighbours’ have. However, I am thinking of it having less to do with the physical and as really more just comparing yourself to others and their success.

My plan for 2018 is to not keep up with the Joneses.  My plan is to celebrate my own success, my own achievements, my own hard work; and not to compare it to others.  My plan is to be happy for others, whether it is a new student at the Pilates studio, or a musician who is seemingly an overnight success.  My path is not the same as other people’s, nor should it be!  I need to learn to celebrate my own unique successes and struggles!

I hope that you are able to join me in this quest; for recognition, that we are all unique, and our successes all have to progress at their own speeds!

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