I’m 32 years old.
When my mom was 32, she had 4 kids aged 11, 8, 5, and under 1. That crying, pooping baby was me. With 4 kids at home, she co-managed an air conditioning and refrigeration business with my dad in Hong Kong. They had a legion of employees who depended on them. Full of entrepreneurial spirit, they also had other side hustles.
Meanwhile, here I am with 2 pet rats whom I visit once a week at my boyfriend’s place and I find it to be nearly too much responsibility. I rent a basement suite in Vancouver. I’ve gone through more jobs than I can count on both hands and my business is a small, heart-centered affair. (I laugh and talk to people for a living.) I’m in a 5 year long relationship with no plans to get married or have kids. My life couldn’t be more different.
So how come we compare?
You know what I mean. You do a mental Throwback Thursday.
- What were my parents doing when they were my age?
- Were they married yet?
- Did they have kids already?
- Where were they in their careers?
- How much stuff did they own by then?
Worse is when your parents run through the scenario for you.
When I was your age….. *cue guilt and shame*
But here’s a better question.
What do you want?
This question is more empowering. It helps me remember.
I don’t want 4 kids. I don’t want to toil away at a stressful job to go home to a hectic family life. I am CHOOSING to go at my own pace. I am choosing to live more slowly, more simply, and with more joy. And what brings me joy are deep conversations, belly laughs, animals, gardening, and other things that make me ME – not my parents, or anyone else.
Also to remember: We live in a different world.
As a 30-something Chinese woman in Vancouver in 2017, my identity is less inherently tied to my marital status and fertility. I live in a digital world impacted by rapid globalization and climate change.
My mom did her company bookkeeping in giant notebooks. I have an app for that. My mom was separated from my grandma who lived on the other side of a country border. Now my mom video chats with her grandchild who lives across an ocean.
Your world couldn’t be more different from your parents’ world.
So next time you feel guilt or shame around not being as successful as your parents, remember that you can’t compare apples and oranges. Don’t compare yourself with others, ESPECIALLY when set in a different time and context.
Reconnect with what is meaningful and important to you.
My mother had 4 babies by the time she was my age. I actually have a baby too.
Beyond Maybe is turning 4 years old this year and it has developed a new look and feel. (Thank you Angie Coates for your creative support and Erika Rathje for your web development wizardry!)
Over these few years, Beyond Maybe had ventured into different directions, bumped up against walls, and with bruised knees developed into a more confident and grounded identity.
I look forward to nurturing the communities that have grown around Beyond Maybe and sharing more life-changing coaching conversations, liberating laughter, and soul satisfying gatherings with you.
You are invited to join me on the adventure!
Check out the monthly support group, try out laughter yoga, or ask me about coaching so you can put aside the guilt and shame from comparing yourself to your parents.
As always, I’d love to hear from you. Or we could stay in touch by email.