(photo from when I picked out a wedding dress)

This summer, and life in general, is bursting full of good, sweet, moments. Moments of connection, adventure, belonging.

But at the same time, I am finding myself throwing the biggest pity party you've ever seen, lost in what feels like a wave of jealousy and comparing. I've heard the saying a thousand times, "Comparison is the thief of joy," and I know in my heart of hearts that this is true. Yet I'm finding myself, now more than ever, being caught up in this sickly cycle.

In the twenty-something years of life, lots of milestones happen. I have friends in every category: single, dating, engaged, newlyweds, renters, homeowners, married with a house and babies and toddlers. Each stage is important and is reason to celebrate, but at no given time will all of my friends be in the same category like we were in college. Life can change dramatically and quickly in your twenties, and we have to change along with it. Marriage, houses, and babies are big, alter-the-course-of-your-life changes. I'm learning to allow my friendships to grow along with the changes, even (and especially) if I am the one who's life is changing dramatically.

I have much to be thankful for. I have a dream husband who's loved me since we were 12. We have a fairy-tale dating story and a marriage worth more than gold. We live in a city we love, with a wide and deep network of friends. I'm launching a business I'm passionate about, and am fueled by both the creative aspects as well as the business side of it. We have amazing family close by and a nephew on the way. We have it so good. And yet, I am so much more quick to compare myself to what I don't have than focus on what I do have.

Thanks to Instagram and good lighting, our lives look pretty dreamy from the outside. This summer my husband and I were asked to model in a variety of styled photo shoots, and we have thousands of amazing photos from this summer alone. I know other people with incredible photos and how easy it is to fall into the trap that what you see in the photo represents every single moment in their life. Every moment of my life is not filled with mountain top kisses in Banff, or modeling in styled wedding photo shoots. Along with the great moments, our lives are also filled with everything from laundry and dirty dishes, to traffic and cavities, and to even bigger, serious disappointments and devastating losses. Not even close to a fraction of those are represented on my social media outlets.

I have so many good things, the best things, in life. Even so, there will always be the temptation to covet something of someone else's. That car or that house or that Europe trip or a baby by that age. When this sneaks in, I remember that we almost never have the full story, and I cannot compare any aspect of my life to someone else's. In the same way that every detail of my life is not on Instagram, neither is everyone else's.

We can pull from everything we're thankful for when we so easily fall into the trap of comparing and self-pity. There is always, always something to be thankful for. We're each living our own story filled with both great things and hard things. Let's remind each other of all the good in our lives and that truly, the best is yet to come.