I just turned 35 a few weeks ago, and it was kind of a wakeup call for me. I know a lot of people think of 30 as the turning point into adulthood, but in my mind, it's been 35. It was kind of weird to enter my mid-thirties and realize that I'm not where I thought I would be. I always thought that by 35 I'd be a mom, and for a variety of reasons, that's not the case. I thought by now I'd have an established career as a food writer, and a really grounded sense of self. Actually, I'm still kind of figuring it all out, day by day.

It’s funny how Instagram shapes our view of the world. I see all of the beautiful feeds, and often feel small in comparison. There will always be somebody with a cleaner house, prettier pictures, a more successful book, or more followers. My sense of self vacillates photo by photo, from confident to fragile. Despite writing a cookbook and having a blog, I often feel directionless. I see tiny squares on my iPhone screen – perfect snapshots from others’ lives – and craft them into my own impossible standards.

And yet – the crazy thing is – I recognize that I am beyond blessed. I have an amazing husband who I love dearly, two wonderful families, incredible friends in NYC and beyond, work that I love, and a book deal (?!?!) – grateful doesn't even begin to cut it. Sure, life looks differently than I thought. Who cares?

So here's my challenge, for you and for me. Let's do something radical. Let's stop the whole comparison game. Seriously. What's the point? What we see of others' lives is never the whole story. (Trust me, we all have messes and sorrows and insecurities – they're just usually left off Instagram!) Comparing only leads to pride or defeat, and neither are great options.

Friends, despite how you may feel, here’s the truth: you are enough. Right now. Exactly as you are. Oh I know, there's a million things you want to change: maybe you're not where you want to be in your career... or you've got another five pounds to lose. Maybe you haven't met "the One"…or maybe you're married and desperately want a baby, but can't get pregnant...or you have little kids but feel totally overwhelmed, and guilty for not being more grateful. There's always going to be something that makes you feel like you’re "not enough." But until we start fully accepting ourselves for who we are – and refusing to compare – we will never live the meaningful lives we were intended to live.

My goal for 35 is to really believe this truth for myself. To stop comparing. To use the gifts I've been given to make a small difference in the world, and hopefully to use my struggles to encourage others. I want to live fully, love deeply, and to be thankful – so very thankful – for all that God has given me.

xo, Anna

P.S. If you want to read more about the topic of today's post, I highly recommend Brene Brown's book The Gifts of Imperfection, and Harriet Rosetto's spiritual memoir Sacred Housekeeping. Both have been pretty life-changing for me in learning to embrace myself, imperfections and all. Also, I'm currently reading Andie Mitchell's heart-wrenching memoir It Was Me All Along, which for anyone who has ever struggled with their weight, is especially poignant.

(Photo by Pablo Enriquez, for The Kitchn)