“Comparison is the thief of joy.” — Dr. Ray Cummings
As a comparative creature, you can’t help but make 1-to-1 judgments between you and others. It’s what comes naturally, yet it couldn’t be further from the truth. You have your own unique upbringing, series of experiences, DNA, and line of ancestors. There’s no way these match up to any meaningful degree with who you compare yourself to.
The fairest assessment to make is to consider where your life is at on your family tree.
This higher resolution clarity will save you from the distraught of unfair comparison.
You have to understand what the prior generations have afforded you.
The opportunities, resources, and even the intentional geographical advantages they may have provided. These all factor into the scene of your story and play a major, but often hidden role. As a quick example, check out the opening lyrics from the song Wondering Why by The Red Clay Strays:
“She comes from silver spoon, golden rule, private schoolNever missed Sunday churchAnd I come from blue collar, low dollarOut here where concrete meets old red dirt”
No two people start out exactly the same in this life, for better or for worse.
It helps to remember that.
I am the first person in my family to go to college, whereas Amelia is of the 3rd generation in her family to do so.
And we have an ongoing joke in our house when I want to tease Amelia.
She’ll throw out some high-level expectations for our life and I’ll respond with “That’s so 3rd gen.”
Granted, I understand where she’s coming from. But I still like to poke fun at her 3rd generation perspective instead of my 1st generation one.
There is some truth to it though, there has to be, right? These facts are bound to change something within our DNA and perspective on life.
There has to be some difference in gene activation. Some unconscious status-checking going on.
Yet, we don’t take this into consideration when we want to understand someone, our differences. And how the exact same situation may be different because of where we’re at generation-wise.
It’s a piece usually left out of the story.
It all depends on the story you tell yourself.
Regardless of where you’re in this (2nd gen, 5th gen, etc.), you should not give in to victimhood - it’s a complete waste of time. Your generational ‘level’ ought to be a source of motivation. You want 1st gen energy despite everything. If you’re not 1st gen, you have two worthwhile choices:
What you must not, should not, cannot do is squash it and ruin the ancestral momentum.
We each have a unique family trajectory.
We have to recognize our place in it and not make one-size-fits-all judgments of others (or unfairly of ourselves).
Branch Bias - be on the lookout.
Turns out there can be a lot of overlap between building design and building a life. John Ruskin (unknowingly perhaps) tells us how to live life better.
It's never too late to stumble upon an underlying principle of reality. (Especially one that can be put to use immediately)