Look inside. What do you see?

April 27, 2012 |  Category:   life

It’s looks complex.


We all have our up days and our down days. We all feel insecure sometimes and lost. It’s normal and it has nothing to do with how old you are, how experienced you are, or how successful you are. It’s just part of being alive. I appreciated each and every one of your nice comments yesterday. I am sort of embarrassed by them I have to admit. I am never one to write something just to seek out comments and I would die a little inside if someone thought otherwise. I write what I feel (and maybe overshare sometimes), but that’s really all.


It’s been a weird year so far, let alone week (I did end up working after all so it wasn’t the unstructured free time that threw me off). Judging from conversations with some friends, I’m not alone in that regard. I still feel like I’m in new territory about certain things, one of which includes the business, but maybe that’s a good thing. And despite whatever head space I’m currently in this week, I feel like some things were accomplished. There was, in fact, some real moments of clarity.


I’m realizing that I need to turn off some of this internet chatter. There is so much chatter over what we’re working on, where we’ve been, where we’re going, who we’re hanging out with, what we’ve accomplished and we’re all high fiving each other every day and this is all really good stuff, but sometimes it’s really exhausting too. In the end, what does it mean anyway? I was thinking back to my high school and college days, before the internet, and how there wasn’t so much of this constant sharing. It was easier to focus on your own work without the distractions, obviously, but I was thinking more specifically that the circle of peers that you might have measured your work or yourself against was smaller. Maybe it was just your fellow classmates and some friends, but it was small. Now, it’s easy to feel like you’re constantly measuring yourself against the world. Who can live up to that? It’s time to get back to the small.

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  • Susan April 27, 2012 at 5:51 am

    So true…we live in a society of sharing and comparing. It’s hard not to participate-I think we all have…but getting back to the small is an idea I am on board with. Thanks for sharing Jenna.

  • Pink Ronnie April 27, 2012 at 7:51 am

    You’ve really nailed it on the head, I think. It’s such a basic human thing to compare ourselves to others, and now that everyone’s achievements are plastered all over the internet, it can become quite a constant toil to try and ‘better’ yourself or your blog because of what someone else out there might be doing. One of my other favourite bloggers write something recently that really resonated with me: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
    Ronnie xo

  • Manja April 27, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Honestly, you are in my head again! Hahahaha! I had just realized that a week ago and cut down on my daily Facebook and blog reading activities and guess what? I actually focus better on my work as an illustrator/artist. I am all for new technologies but I really feel like getting out of the house more (coming from a true city girl:)) and just clearing my head from way to much info!

  • mirna April 27, 2012 at 8:45 am

    I will miss seeing your pics and reading you but i understand you so much .Internet can give a lot but it also takes a lot from us .

  • Jenna April 27, 2012 at 9:53 am

    @mirna, I’m not leaving the blog, or even posting less. This is my space, this is different. I was speaking more or less about other social media outlets.

  • jennygordy April 27, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Ugh, you are so right! Once again you’ve put my feelings into words. Thanks for sharing that. Hearing stuff like this always helps me have clarity. I want to get back to the small too. I always feel more peaceful and focused when I’m away from the internet chatter, but it’s so addictive to be a part of it on a daily basis! I’m embarrassed to say that all the high-fiving is part of what’s addictive, but you nailed that on the head. Sometimes there’s the fear of isolation and disconnection without all that internet stuff. But I don’t want to be a person who comes to rely on internet high fives to get through the day.

    I know what you mean by nice comments being embarrassing sometimes. As wonderful as they are, I don’t want people thinking I need their help or sympathy all the time just because I’m posting something honest about my life. Because I’m already fine with my life and choices and have faith in myself–I’m just trying to live thoughtfully and keep evolving, and sometimes my blog is a place for thinking things through.

    The comparison thing gets me too. I just googled that “comparison is the thief of joy” quote from a comment above, and there are a ton of blog posts on this! Some helpful, some not so much.

  • Jessica April 27, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Not sure if this is the same thing as what you’re talking about, but… I’ve been thinking a lot about how so much of the conversation on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. revolves around telling one another that we’re pretty, love each other’s clothes, spaces, style, etc., etc. Though so much of the conversation is “positive”–and certainly well-intended–the scale of it over-emphasizes the importance of these things. It’s one thing to have a few friends compliment each other (who doesn’t like that), but quite another to have dozens of people online asking somebody where she got her blouse. It’s easy to start caring a little too much about things that really aren’t important at all. Plus, how can we say the criticisms (also rampant online) don’t matter, when we’ve come to depend on a steady stream of compliments for confidence? I’m probably being overly dramatic about this, but it’s been weighing on me. :)

  • erin April 27, 2012 at 10:25 am

    So true- it’s overwhelming. I find Twitter sometimes “shouty” and sometimes cliquey- so much “look at me and what I’m doing.” Even Instagram, which I love, feels like it’s a competition for the most perfect shot sometimes. I find myself disappointed if I don’t get “likes” on photos, which is just ridiculous. I don’t make my living through my blog but I can imagine for those who do it’s even harder to focus on work and doing your own thing. The only solution I’ve found is more reading, more time with the kids, and way less time online.

  • Jenna April 27, 2012 at 10:27 am

    @Jessica – yes yes – all of that is a part of what I’m thinking.

  • dolittledesign April 27, 2012 at 10:39 am

    No comments from me… but I would like to share an article from the NYTimes:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/opinion/sunday/the-flight-from-conversation.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1&ref=general&src=me&pagewanted=all

  • Uncle Beefy April 27, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Miss Jenna, You know I don’t have to say a whole lot here, right? We are clearly on the same page. And, we’re gonna have A LOT to talk about come August. And how!

    The sad part is I just read a post from my archives, from two years ago, that is almost the same as what I just wrote yesterday. Oh boy. Hmmm. Back to the drawing board, I guess.

    I’m with ya’. I’m with ya’. :)

    Hope you have a nice weekend.

  • tiffmino April 27, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Right on, Jenna. I am with you with a smaller world – can you imagine, we made it through high school, college, and university, without cell phones and the internet? I sometimes feel ‘old’ for saying it (I am *almost* 42), but I am glad I am from another generation where we didn’t have to worry about FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc. I can enjoy it now occasionally as an adult, because I can stop myself from measuring myself against others… but as a teenager, life is hard enough going through changes within yourself, figuring yourself out – I would hate to have the pressure of FB, etc. on top of that. I don’t know how most people can keep up with all of them, and like you, keep up a blog and a business. Especially with children to take care of at the same time. But it’s true, sometimes it gets to be too much. Time to take a step back and ‘disconnect’…

    I appreciate your voice here – you manage to express, so eloquently, similar thoughts that I often have. So, thank you, Jenna, for taking time to share just the right amount to make us all feel ‘normal.’ :)

  • kay w. April 27, 2012 at 11:11 am

    there’s something in the water, i swear.

    it’s conflicting. through posts like this one and other thought provoking blog posts lately, it gives me comfort to know that i’m not crazy feeling what i’ve been feeling recently about oversharing, feeling minute and inconsequential to all the OTHER great stuff everyone ELSE is doing, unsure of where my life is going, etc etc etc. i think frequently of why i feel a need to do things like tweet (when i’m probably going to dismiss that thought in an hour), or post on instagram (who cares what i’m doing right then, right there and who am i to assume others care too), but then i eventually realize i’m looking too hard, too closely, and quite possibly looking for/coming to an assumption that may very well not exist. we are only as content as we allow ourselves to be, and if it brings me even a speck of joy to share something, with anyone who’s willing to listen on twitter or instagram or otherwise, why take that away from myself? as double-edged sword as it is, that’s the beauty of social technology, under/oversharing is completely subjective – some prefer it, some don’t – though i know for myself, i would never tell someone they’re oversharing when it’s just as easy (if not easier) for me to step away. i forget that, sometimes.

    i absolutely agree with you – it’s going back to the small that ultimately matters, but sometimes we need to step away to see the bigger picture in order to really see and appreciate the small. it’s only when we step too close that everything seems so big, so unmanageable.

  • Lauren April 27, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I’m not much of a long commenter but just felt compelled to say, hear hear. I have often wondered if it’s NYC that makes me feel quite often competitive and comparative; ahead, then behind, gaining, then lacking, or the worst, stagnant. But I have in the past few months realized the affect “the internet” has on me. It’s no good and I can’t be trusted to not fall into its hole and get swallowed up. Until I establish true confidence in myself and my world I have to work on keeping my distance.

  • Sora April 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Well put, Jenna. Social media is here to stay and we are all trying to find the right way to integrate it into our lives. This article sparked a lot of conversation between my friends. You might find it interesting.

  • Kelly April 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I have some of these thoughts, too. Which is why I don’t participate in social media. I guess, other than occasionally reading and commenting on blogs…not sure how “social” that is. Anyway, the less I engage with things like twitter, the easier it is for me to find, not just joy, but contentment.

  • jen April 27, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    jenna, i run a small business too. i am always in this tenuous state. i think it’s just part of the package. it took me awhile to figure it out but for me there is no such thing as long term, or is this the right time. the only thing we can do is just move forward. don’t stop, keep writing. there’s so much truth to it. and it’s nice to know that i’m not alone in this. that’s why i keep coming back to this blog.

  • sarah April 27, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Thank you for this post. These thoughts have been rattling around in my head the past few weeks, and I’ve been trying to find healthy balance between the ‘big’ and the ‘small’ of the social media world, and life in general. Your words really helped me to focus, again, on what I want to be doing with my time, and how I want my time, words and actions to be sincere.

  • oilandgarlic April 27, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    I’m old enough to have experience most of my life and all of my youth w/o social media. I worry that my kids won’t even know how to function without seeking compliments, oversharing, etc.. although since that’s all they will know, I”m sure I’m worrying for nothing.

  • Jill @ For the Love of Brooklyn April 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    @doolittledesign Thank you so much for sharing that article. So much to chew on. There’s so much to grapple with these days regarding new technology and its simultaneous abilities to connect and distance us from each other. The broadening of networks does indeed create shallower relationships as one’s time is spread thinly across all channels.

    I don’t even know where to start.

  • Sandra April 27, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    I’ve been angsty about all of this too lately. The being on all the time and the comparisons and how many page views or comments or likes. Should I write more of “this” because I got so many comments instead of what I want to write. Where am I going with my blog?

    It feels good to take a step back and think about why I am going this. I want to build a community and make some real connections and not get caught up in the chatter and busy-ness…

  • Jackie April 27, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    It’s refreshing to get back to basics every once in a while. Just to cut all the “chatter” and just “be”, even for a day.

    I’m about due for a “back to basics” day myself.

  • Mo April 28, 2012 at 12:26 am

    Oh Jenna, thank you so much for writing this. “… constantly measuring yourself against the world. Who can live up to that?” I totally agree. I’ve been feeling guilty for not keeping up with some kind of online schedule, and I spend hours catching up when I get home from my stressful full time job. I don’t spend time creating like I need to, because I’m comparing myself with others all the time. I totally agree with @Jessica’s comment too. Well said everyone.

  • Jasmine April 28, 2012 at 1:38 am

    I love how you worded this. It can be difficult when so much of our lives are exposed for all to see, judge, and measure. Every move I make digitally is recorded and seen by a number of people. Am I saying the right things? Am I on the right trajectory in my life? Am I as successful as others?

    We live in such a weird time.

  • mirna April 28, 2012 at 2:29 am

    Oh , so it’s a good news that you stay here ! :) I never tried Twitter or Facebook but as i don’t want to try, i think i can really understand you !

  • yumi April 28, 2012 at 10:52 am

    well said jenna. it’s weird how as i get older the structure is something i seek and love (although i seriously bucked it when i was younger!). it’s definitely needed when you don’t have a set 9 to 5 work schedule. i do have a blog but no twitter, no facebook, no data plan on my phone. it’s been great. yeah sure i feel like i’m missing out sometimes on what all my friends are up to but then i realize i can always just dial a number and call. :) (hey, my husband is still using an old razor flip phone!!!!) yes, getting back to the small and simplicity of things is actually quite liberating. thanks for sharing your thoughts jenna!

  • hyun April 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Thanks for the reminder. I really needed to that.

  • Dee April 28, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    I am there. I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed by the constant interaction and I’ve decided to step back a little from social media connections. I need to keep my head down and do my own thing.

  • Bille April 29, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    I so appreciate your thoughts. There are enough things going on in life without feeling like we need to look over our shoulder to see if we are keeping up with everyone around us.

    I’m just echoing everyone else when I say that you have a knack of expressing those thoughts that are difficult to verbalize, but we all feel at some point or other. I think that is why we feel so drawn to your blog.

  • Grumble Girl April 30, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I feel this – so hard, lately – I have to remember what all this is and isn’t, you know? Le sigh.

  • Summer April 30, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Wow, this is so true. I always enjoy your musings and appreciate how honest you are in your posts, but this one really struck me.

    I’ve lived most of my life with the internet, and it never occurred to me how much I would spend in my adult life comparing myself to complete strangers! “She’s my age and has accomplished this…” is the story of my life. Side note, I’m 30, so it’s not like it’s just kids anymore, although I do worry about the ones that will have had fb their entire lives….but I often wonder if maybe they’ll become desensitized to it? I mean, if you’ve been comparing yourself to “the world” starting at 12 or 13, by the time you hit 20, you really just might not give a shit anymore. 😉 Just a thought.

  • Rick May 1, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing what most people are feeling but seldom talk about. You know how bad it’s gotten? My travels are less enjoyable because I feel the overwhelming need to ‘work’ to get photographs. I no longer do it for the enjoyment like I used to, all this for the same reasons you mentioned above. You hit the points so painfully close to home, that there’s no need to say more, but thanks. Thanks for putting things in perspective.

  • Mary May 3, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Such a wise and true post. I feel like I go through these phases every few months, when I just have to turn everything off and go dark for a while. It really is all too much. I love my blog and I feel like I gain something from it – an ability to focus on the positives and to express gratitude – but the inevitable comparisons to everybody else’s lives are sometimes a lot to take.