DO ALL THE THINGS!! Finding Balance in Life’s Adventures.

Sometimes, after sifting through my social media feeds, I have this feeling that I should be doing crazy awesome stuff ALL THE TIME!!! Does that ever happen to you?

I mean, everyone else is, right? That person is traveling across the world, this person’s going on a sweet climbing trip, over there is someone who just quit their job and bought a van in which to go galavanting around the country. Eventually, in my brain, all of those separate people doing their individual awesome things start to meld together into one giant Twitter Hive Person; an aggregate of everyone I follow. And that person is AWESOME. The Twitter Hive Person is traveling, adventuring, helping people, making delicious, healthy food, scaling mountains, exercising religiously, pressing 24kg kettlebells while standing on one leg, and having fun dinner parties every single night.

I’m not a crazy adventurous *do cool stuff all the time* person. But, sometimes I feel like I *should* be. Maybe I’m too busy comparing myself to the Twitter Hive Person. Maybe I don’t have quite the right balance of normal vs. adventure worked out in my own day-to-day. But, whatever the reason, I sometimes hear a little voice in my head that says “you should be doing more awesome stuff all the time.” And then I feel bad.

I pretty much didn’t do anything extraordinarily cool or adventurous all winter. December was a sad and heavy month. I spent a lot of time with family, and I barely got outside other than to walk to and from the bus stop. January and February weren’t much different. After a few months of laying low, the pendulum is now swinging the other way. This week, Minneapolis got 9″ of fresh, lovely snow added to our snowpack. After months of just wanting to sit on the couch and knit, I suddenly had the urge for a little adventure. So, my husband and I got out the cross-country skis and headlamps and did some night skiing. We liked it so much that we went out the following evening as well.

One of my favorite little books, “The Tao of Pooh,” speaks about the importance of recognizing one’s true nature. For example, birds fly really well, but most aren’t that great at swimming or jumping. They’re just not built that way. I like going on big trips and climbing mountains, and I also like long stretches of time firmly ensconced in a routine at home. Recognizing and accepting my own nature, and not thinking I *should* be some other way than how I am, removes an incredible amount of pressure. And with all of that energy not going into trying to be someone I’m not, I have a lot more to put into who I actually am.

So, it’s OK to not be doing crazy awesome things all the time. In fact, it’s probably good. It is for me, at least. If you find yourself comparing yourself to an impossible-to-keep-up-with Twitter Hive Person, take a deep breath, step back, and don’t judge yourself. Take away inspiration from what others are doing, and then integrate that into your life in a way that honors your own true nature.


15 thoughts on “DO ALL THE THINGS!! Finding Balance in Life’s Adventures.

  1. Maija

    I have SO much trouble with this! I have almost cut my Facebook consumption to zero because I was always feeling bad that I wasn’t doing SOMETHING AMAZING like everyone else seemed to be doing ALL.THE.TIME.

    I know you don’t do FB, and I see exactly how that can happen on Twitter too; I just spend less time on Twitter in general, or maybe don’t pay as much attention… Because when I do, it’s hard for me to remember to focus on my own mini successes and to celebrate them as the real achievements they are instead of worrying what everyone else is doing.

    Thanks for writing this, I really do struggle with social media and kinda need to be on it for, well, my job, but have many a days where I think I’d be better off focused just on me and not seeing what everyone else is up to.

    1. Elizabeth Post author

      “…remember to focus on my own mini successes and to celebrate them as the real achievements they are instead of worrying what everyone else is doing. ”

      Exactly! Thanks for putting that into such perfect words.

  2. Katie

    YES YES YES! What Majka said, totally. I think it’s so hard not to fall into the trap of comparing our lives to the lives of others, even if we’re strong and secure in our own lives.

    It’s an interesting distinction you make, though, about merging all of the cool things people are doing individually into one massive person doing a bajillion cool things. That really resonated with me. When we’re confronted with SO MANY people doing individual amazing things, it’s hard not to turn it into one giant “they’re all doing awesome stuff” kind of amoebic blob thing/Twitter hive person. But until now, I didn’t realize that’s what I do sometimes!

    In this age of over-sharing, this phenomenon is definitely more pervasive than it used to be too, but I’m glad you’re recognizing it’s okay.

    1. Elizabeth Post author

      Well put, Katie. I did a little experiment where I parsed individuals out and looked at their feeds separately. And, not surprisingly, I found that it’s not *all awesome all the time* as my whole feed would suggest. I’ve had actual conversations with my husband where we’re reading our Twitter feeds and we look at each other and exclaim “how do people have the time to *do* all of this stuff?” It’s not because we’re not getting out there and doing things ourselves. It’s because the Twitter Hive Person is just plain impossible to keep up with.

  3. Eileen

    One thing that contributes to the Twitter Hive person (or the Facebook Hive person) is that folks share selectively.

    I’ll go through periods where I won’t post much because I’ve just been quietly working at home, or catching up on movies, etc. this happend a fair amount on weekend for me since I can arrange to have my “weekend” on a week day on occasion. But if you look at my twitter stream and don’t notice the dates it may seem like I went directly from one adventure to another. I think many people do the same.

    I agree with your ending advice, “Take away inspiration from what others are doing, and then integrate that into your life in a way that honors your own true nature.” I think you do that well, and just so you know, you’ve inspired me not only with your more traditional adventures but I also love your Tiny Adventure posts!

    1. Elizabeth Post author

      Ah yes, good point about the selective posting. I totally do that, too, both in my Twitter feed and on my blog. I think it makes a big difference in perception of reality and balance when we’re looking at others’ postings.

      Thanks for your kind words, too. I’m glad to know that you find something positive here. I haven’t posted any tiny adventures for a while, perhaps I should get back on those and make them regular posts once again! Our little headlamp skiing adventure at the local golf course last week would definitely fit the bill.

  4. Nora

    I love this! I think the sneaky thing about the Twitter Hive Person is that they start out being inspiring and encouraging– good things, right? There are tons of good ideas out there, and seeing other people’s adventures can spark my own creativity. But its hard to notice when it crosses that line, and then all the sudden I dislike my own adventures/work/dinner parties, etc., because they don’t live up to this Twitter-Hive-Person-Standard. And you don’t even realize it’s happening! Thanks for sharing this post!

    1. Elizabeth Post author

      Nora, I agree wholeheartedly that Twitter is amazingly inspiring and encouraging! I’ve met some amazing people on Twitter, and I’ve even met some in person, gone on trips with them, and climbed with them. Such an incredible network of people.

  5. Lydia

    Ah! Totally agree. I also battle with the BE MOAR AWESOME voice all the time. But really, Enough Awesome is subjective and a personal decision, me thinks. Two things that have come across my desk that have helped:

    1) This quote: “Judging yourself for what you haven’t yet accomplished is like finding fault with a lion because it can’t fly, a bird because it can’t swim, or tree because it can’t leave.”

    2) This post: We Need to Quit Telling Lies on Facebook — incredibly honest, and heads up, maybe not suitable to read in every workplace.

    Love this post, Eliz, as always.


    1. Elizabeth Post author

      Lydia, thank you! Your comment, “Enough Awesome is subjective and a personal decision,” definitely rings true. I find that for most of us, we are our own worst critics, and put more pressure on ourselves than anyone else.

      Perhaps I’ll start tweeting more about doing the dishes and having bad hair days.

  6. Dave Sandel

    Wow. Just wow. This is an incredibly insightful post, and dare I say, my favorite one you’ve written.

    As you said, some people are built to be The Twitter Hive Person. I think I am, but I struggle to integrate it with my daily life, and that’s the part that gets to me. I’ve written a couple posts about it recently, though not nearly as eloquently and thoughtful as you have.

    Good to know the frustration is not only with me and the rest of your commenters!

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