Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
By William Shakespeare
It is hard to live without making comparisons. We compare ourselves to other’s looks, jobs, accomplishments, grades, homes… The list could go on indefinitely. I succumb to comparing myself too often, especially in this day of technology, especially Facebook.
In Shakespeare’s Sonnet, we assume he is comparing a loved woman to a summer’s day. Summer days seem to be beautiful, warm, and glowing. If the sonnet is read more closely, it is apparent that Shakespeare is writing about himself. I have read critiques that think he is glorifying himself. However, as I read the sonnet, I think that he is trying to make the reader aware of how beauty can change over time.
In my teens and twenties, I lived searching for the beautiful, glowing “summer day” that my life was supposed to become. It did not matter how I starved myself, studied to oblivion, or prayed for a husband and then pregnancy, my summer day never came. There was no glow, no perfect day. I think this is the case for most of us. We create this perfect life from what we read in books or see on social media.
Take a moment and read the sonnet carefully. There are subtle changes in his tone and verbiage. Shakespeare begins to spin descriptions painting the picture that every beauty will fade. It could fade by chance or through the natural course of time passage.
Every moment that I spend comparing myself to others, I lose a moment to be present in my real life. My life is not splendid with travels and children that earn straight A’s. We do not take fabulous trips abroad or dine at gastropubs. I have wrinkles and gray hairs. My body is not as tone and slim as in college. Married life is hard! We disagree on many things and lack the ability to have conversations about things other than our children. I fear that we will soon have nothing to converse about. But, I think other women have these same thoughts.
I fiercely love my daughter with her disabilities and lack of words. My husband tells others that as long as Piper is loved and happy, she will live with us, until we are unable to care for her. This makes me love him even more. This makes up for the conversations we do not have or the accolades I wish he gave me. I cannot compare him to other husbands because they live different lives. I cannot compare my struggles and feelings of inadequacy to other women because I am in a different situation. God chose us to parent our children, in the humble home we live in, with the income he has blessed us to earn.
My summer’s day may never come, but my nighttime firework show is brilliant! I have spectacular sparkles of a daughter using her communication device to express her needs, exploding excitement of a son that pours all his energy into being the best baseball player possible, and my musical anthem supporting their show by remaining consistent.
Let’s stop comparing our journey with others. We need to write our own poems boasting about our challenges and triumphs. It is time we look at our accomplishments and changes created over time as a blessing. Please drop a comment about how you are honoring your imaginary “summer day”. I want to hear that I am not alone. You, my dear friends, are a beautiful summer day. Bask in the warmth.
Wow Jen, this really resonates with me. It’s so easy to compare ourselves to others. We often feel as if we know people by what we see on Instagram and Facebook, we think what people post is reality. Typically, people are posting the highlights or the summer, not the winters or the cloudy and rainy days of their lives. This is a reminder to us all to look at our lives and situations and own them, not comparing to others’ lives or social media feeds. The people and things in our lives are blessings. Are those blessings sometimes hard to see or deal with? Yes! But we’re equipped in every way to handle these blessings which are richer and bigger than we can even imagine!