just over a year ago something really strange happened. i logged onto my pinterest account and went to check who had recently started following me that i wanted to follow back. the number that i had checked a few weeks prior that had been at a couple hundred now said it was in the 70,000's.

i was baffled and thought it had to be some sort of glitch in the system. i tried refreshing the page and logging in and out of my account but the number just kept growing. it was so bizarre and i called nick into our room to check that i wasn't just delusional and some sort of strange phenomenon was in fact occurring.

long story short, my number of followers continued to grow at a ridiculously fast rate and other people started noticing as well. i heard from friends that i hadn't talked to in months or even years and random people were taking interest in it and contacting me for advertising and the such. while it was fun to reconnect with old friends who were just as mind blown as i was, it also brought on this weird sense of pressure and attention from strangers that made me feel somewhat uncomfortable. i don't really enjoy being the spotlight in big groups - especially when it's a group full of strangers, i'm much happier to sit back and quietly observe. but it did feel pretty cool to know that i had access to such a large audience and was grateful for some of the doors and opportunities that it did open.

eventually my following grew to just over 3 million. it felt ridiculous and absurd to say out loud because it didn't seem real. i still had no clue how it happened until one day i got an email from pinterest that solved the mystery. apparently one of my boards had made it onto a popular page on pinterest which is where it accumulated all the followers. but pinterest had decided to change up those pages in order to give more pinners a chance to be discovered or something along those lines. after that explanation i noticed my following (and apparently other popular pinners did as well) begin to drop as inactive accounts began to be purged and less people started following me than people unfollowing me. last i checked there were about 2.8 million people following me (which i still feel stupid saying/typing).

but i guess the point that i'm trying to get at is that numbers are just numbers. and a silly thing to base your self worth on. i've been thinking about this a lot recently - especially since i read this blog post from one of my favorite bloggers at love chugs. i completely agree with everything she pointed out.

numbers on a scale, in a bank account, likes on a photo and followers on social media are just numbers at the end of the day. they are just smoke and mirrors. they're not real, tangible indicators of our happiness or understanding of self worth. they don't bring lasting happiness or true contentment. but we still spend so much of our time and energy fretting about them - at least i know i'm guilty of this.

but where my happiness truly comes from is an understanding of my purpose, a clear conscious, good relationships and striving toward self improvement. and then being okay when i fail. because if i challenge myself and fail, i'm still learning something. and that's not really failing after all. but i'm learning that the key is to not challenge yourself with the ambition of gaining something like a letter grade or a number on a scale or a certain amount of "followers." i'm a lot happier when i'm striving towards learning something substantial, getting healthier or forming and improving real relationships with the people around me.

you and i are just people trying to figure out this wild, wild world around us. but let's remember what's important and what is a waste of our time. let's simplify our lives and purge anything that is getting in the way of our personal growth. the best way to start is to forget about ourselves and look towards helping others find their sense of self worth. in doing that we will gain so much more than we give.