I believe life is not meant to be lived alone. But it’s also not, in my opinion, a race to collect the most “friends.” As writers, we’re told we need a platform, a social media presence, a long list of emails for our newsletter. It feels overwhelming – like I’m losing a scavenger hunt. Everyone else has collected more items, they’re more successful. They have far more Facebook “friends.”
But what God is teaching me (in baby steps) is that I’m not in competition with anyone. I’m on my own path, traveling my own journey alongside others who are traveling their own journey. We get to do life together – encouraging each other when the path gets steep, offering support when we fall into a rut, cheering when our fellow travelers reach their goal. Because we don’t lose when they “win.”
Their success doesn’t mean there’s less success to be had by the rest of us. It can encourage us to refocus, to work harder on our own goals. We can choose to use their achievement to bolster our own. When we choose to do life with others, instead of racing against them, we’ll find the journey is more pleasant, even exciting. We hoist each other over the lumps and bumps, push each other toward the finish line, and celebrate when goals are reached.
I’ve been blessed with a group of six women I get to do life with, each successful in their own right. Two are nurses, two are teachers, one is newly retired from a long teaching career, and one works in sales compensation. We’ve raised kids together, and married off some of them. We’re starting to welcome grandchildren into the mix. We’re doing it together, side-by-side, arm-in-arm. They don’t understand my love of writing, but they’ve encouraged and cheered me on. I’d faint before sticking someone with a needle, but I love their compassion and desire to heal. To be a teacher, one needs to tolerate some chaos with a smile on their face. We have three in our midst who leave the rest of us in awe.
Family, friends, neighbors, coworkers – we can choose to see them as supporters or competitors, choose to cheer them on or undermine their efforts. Choose to help each other up the hill or push each other off the cliff.
Personally, I prefer walking life’s path beside other travelers. It’s just better.