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Teddy said it best...

"Comparison is the thief of joy." This quote has been on the bulletin board above my computer for years and has rescued me many a time. I even say it out loud sometimes. It comes to mind today because Instagram stories and hashtags are full of messages about not getting caught up in the perfect images, angles, filters and little corners of designer perfection we see on social media. Who hasn't been influenced to think "I'm not good enough/successful enough/pretty enough/fit enough/stylish enough..." after looking at the carefully curated images found everywhere online? I'm excited to see a movement happening to accept and love ourselves and our lives as-is, and realize that nobody is perfect. We are only seeing the best parts, not all the REAL parts.

It was back in the pre-Instagram, pre-RRR days when I posted this quote in my office, when the pumpkin patch was our only focus. In our corner of Nebraska there are several fall agritourism choices, some that were there when we started in 2005 and some that have opened since. One of the biggest and most successful pumpkin patches in the whole country is about 45 minutes from here. We probably should have realized what a challenge that would be when we hatched this idea but we were blissfully optimistic. We believed then, and still do, that there is room for us and what we offer. Sure, it would be easier to be the only pumpkin patch in the market, but who has the luxury of zero competition? Rather than fall into the trap of comparing and feeling less-than, we use this quote to inspire us to work harder and be our best US. What makes us unique? What can we offer that others can't? What can we do better?

It is a daily challenge and one that we come up against in the vintage selling side of our business too. In fact, it's probably THE main reason behind Rural Route Rust. We knew that due to steep competition we couldn't be fully self-employed by relying on the pumpkin patch alone. We needed to expand beyond fall and RRR was born. That led to vending outside the farm, which led to new friends and so many valuable experiences that it is hard to remember a time before this lifestyle.

So don't let comparison steal your joy -- be inspired, be motivated, be entertained, but be you.

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