I came across this postcard in a stack I had bought months ago. While I was writing it to send to a friend I found myself thinking about the meaning behind the words CREATE YOUR OWN STORY. You could take them in the literal sense. They could serve as inspiration for finally writing that novel or short story you’ve been nurturing the idea for, but have kept hidden away for months, maybe even years (I have a whole file on my computer for those). Or you could take them another way. Maybe something like this.
Sometimes, you’re not sure of yourself. You wonder where your life is going and where you’ll be a month from now, a year from now, a decade from now. You worry you’ll still be exactly where you are right now: stuck, like an insect caught in amber, unable to move while you watch the world revolve around you. You doubt the choices you have made and the roads you have walked down. You wonder if you are doing enough each day to reach your goals and take yourself closer to your own idea of what happiness is.
Worst of all, you compare the story of your life to others. You look at their characters, plot twists and happy endings and wonder, “Hey, why can’t I have that? Why does my story seem so dull and uninspiring while theirs seem like thrilling page-turners full of romance and adventure? What am I doing wrong?”
In the world we live in now it is easy to forget that life is not a literature class. You are not required to compare your story to others and analyse themes, images and metaphors to draw a conclusion of which one is more effective or more meaningful.
You have always been told never to judge a book by its cover, yet you do it every time you judge yourself and others by appearances alone. You shouldn’t, you know. As you get older, your cover will get worn. The colours will fade and creases will appear. When you look back on that life and approach its epilogue, I promise that you will care more about the pages you took the time to write and live in than the futile efforts you made to make that cover look perfect. Besides, covers rarely tell us what a story is really about.
Walking into a bookshop or a library you will find that no one story is the same as another. Many are similar, but none are identical. The same is true of you and those you compare yourself to. Your life has its own story arc with different chapters in a different order. It has its own cover, its own format, its own style. Embrace it. Accept it. Stop comparing your story to others and just focus on writing it in the way that makes sense to you. You will be far happier that way; I guarantee it.
One more thing. Don’t forget to share your story with others from time to time, even if you think they won’t be interested. You never know, to them, you might be a Classic or a bestseller. A story they will never tire of reading.
I’m not sure if this will mean anything to anyone or if it even makes sense. It doesn’t really matter. I wrote it for myself and the people I care about* who I know feel this way and I wanted to share it. Thank you for reading this small part of my story.
*To the friends of mine who read this, please know that to me you are Classics and bestsellers and I will never get tired of hearing your stories or sharing mine with you.