Reclaiming Time from Comparison

I nearly lost the afternoon to it.

It was a made-to-order summer Sunday: warm and bright. I was 100-pages deep in a big, fat book. I wanted to know what happened to the art student whose family died and I wanted to know how the author, a masterful wordsmith, storysmith, was going to tell it.

I had a few free hours before evening plans. And I wanted to spend them reading in my favorite chair at home.

I heated lentils, sliced bread, sat back in my favorite chair, opened my book to pickup where I left off. Then it happened.

Everybody else is out and about, I thought, shouldn’t you be? You’re supposed to be doing something or getting something done.

So quickly, comparison could have turned my afternoon from blissful to shameful. Layer on guilt about not being “productive,” and you’ve got one of the best recipes for discontent.

Luckily, I caught the thought before it snowballed into something big and nasty. So, what to do with it?

Marshall evidence against it? Have you polled Everybody Else? Do you have proof they are all out and about?

Throw some intellect at it? Hey, tough guy, your Latin root means to “bring together for a contest” and I have zippo interest in spending my brief time on earth trying to best everyone else on it.

But I decided to treat it like an uninvited guest at my party. COMPARISON, you old devil, you! You’re welcome to stay, but you’re not welcome to my attention. I’ve got a stupendous read to read.

And I returned to the art student, the lentils, and the afternoon reclaimed from comparison.

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