.....they saw, standing in just the spot the screen had hidden, a little old man, with a bald head and a wrinkled face, who seemed to be as much surprised as they were. The Tin Woodman, raising his axe, rushed toward the little man and cried out, "Who are you?"
"I am Oz, the Great and Terrible," said the little man, in a trembling voice. "But don't strike me--please don't--and I'll do anything you want me to."
Our friends looked at him in surprise and dismay.
"I thought Oz was a great Head," said Dorothy.
"And I thought Oz was a lovely Lady," said the Scarecrow.
"And I thought Oz was a terrible Beast," said the Tin Woodman.
"And I thought Oz was a Ball of Fire," exclaimed the Lion.
"No, you are all wrong," said the little man meekly. "I have been making believe."
L. Frank Baum
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Blogging and social media are fantastic in many ways. You can connect with people you would never have met in real life due to geography, learn about all sorts of places, products, lifestyle choices, causes or world events and never ever have an excuse to be bored because there's always something happening somewhere on the internet.
But there can be a downside. If you're not careful, it's easy to come down with a bad case of what I call The Grass is Greener syndrome. You know, where everyone else is doing fabulous things, achieving amazing goals and generally being awesome, while you're struggling to just put one foot in front of the other.
You have your own plans, hopes and goals, but you see all these bloggers doing such wonderful things, having praise heaped on them by their gaggle of (thousands of) admirers - and possibly picking up awards that are worth big $$ as well. You look at your blog stats, your Facebook page "likes", your Klout score and you can't help comparing yourself with "everyone else". And you start to wonder Why am I bothering?
Then there are the fitness-related posts bragging about a bench press PB in the hundreds of kilograms, or the five thousand burpees someone did before breakfast. Meanwhile you're battling along with your own training, fighting against injuries or time restraints or some other thing and knowing that you're not performing at your best. (Can you say "Failure"?)
All of which leads to a feeling of dissatisfaction and sometime to silly decisions. I see many people jumping on the 12WBT wagon, or joining up at their local Crossfit gym or deciding to run a marathon in six months, when they can barely jog around the block right now. And I wonder how many have really thought about whether it's right for them?
I've been wallowing around in both of these murky pools lately. My blogging's not good enough, my training sucks, I can't do anything right, blah, blah, blah. Poor me. I read about what other people are doing and I feel like a big fat failure.
Well, I'm calling bullshit on half the stuff I read online. I'm not saying that people lie (OK, yes I am in some cases), but feats of strength at the gym or being nominated for a blogger "award" does not a happy life make. And comparing yourself with other people only makes you mental. So I'm taking stock of the good things in my life... and then I'm going to make myself a little plan to work on a couple of areas that need improvement.
Here's my little list of a few real things that make my life bloody fantastic:
- I'm in a very happy, stable relationship. Married for 27 years, people - Now that's an achievement. There should be an award for THAT.
- I'm in good health. A minor injury isn't going to slow me down.
- My kids are smart, happy and (mostly) thoughtful boys, who do well at school/work. I'll take an awesome parent award while we're handing out trophies, thanks.
- We're financially secure. We're not rich, but we can afford to eat, pay our bills and have a few holidays. That's a lot more than many people have, and I'm grateful.
- I have a few real life friends who are absolute gems. Some of them are also online friends who manage to keep it real. I'm looking at you, Sara and Liz.
There are many more good things in my life, but you get the idea. My life is awesome. I'd better go update my Facebook status to tell everyone.
Does the internet ever make you dotty, loopy or downright crazy? Please tell me I'm not alone...