Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Falling... up

Although December is here, it's yet to properly feel like winter. It definitely feels like autumn, fall... whatever you want to call it. Chilly mornings, short daylight hours, trees gradually becoming bare, and sunshine that is heavenly - as opposed to the scorching blast of heat that we seem to get during the rest of the year. It doesn't seem that long ago I was cranking the air con, but now we're on the verge of needing the heating to make getting out of bed a little easier in the mornings.

This change of seasons means that slow-cooked curries, red wine, and hot drinks are calling.

It's just as well, because I've been in a bit of a funk lately - life issues in general. I think that over time, I've fallen into that useless exercise of comparing my life with that of others.

Partly, I've been comparing with the closest friends I have here. It's hard not to, at times. I often have moments of feeling like we're somewhat screwed financially (the same old boring story) because of bad decisions we made with money when we were younger. Without going into detail, it gets frustrating because we don't live extravagantly - and never have. We live fairly simply, in a modestly sized apartment, only drive one car, eat at home... and yet, week to week is always a budget juggling act. Things aren't going to change until I can bring in a decent income as well (which is a whole other story; I am - and have been - actively looking for work).

So when I get glimpses into the lovely homes that friends have, their fulfilling and interesting careers, the way their kids want for nothing and have a plethora of extra curricular activities, family members to step in and babysit etc whenever needed... I can't help feel a pang of envy at times. I want to make it clear, though, that I don't begrudge them one iota. Not at all. These friends have all worked incredibly hard - are still slogging away - and are lovely people who deserve good things in life.

Then I had a light bulb moment yesterday. Nobody's life is perfect. As I get to know people better, layers are peeling back, and I'm seeing that everybody has some kind of shit going on that is unpleasant or stressful. Interesting jobs usually mean a time-juggling act and less time with the kids. Or partners away from home much of the time, because their job requires them to travel. Some people have loved ones with serious health issues. Or difficult family dynamics - in laws and step-parenting. Dealing with any of that can be overwhelming, no matter how nice your home is, or how much you have saved in the bank. This has all been underlined by a health scare of my own last month - one that turned out to be okay in the end (for now) but is something I do intend to write about once I've processed things a little more. It's a topic I want to do justice to.

Maybe I'm just spelling out the obvious here, and wiser people have known all along that picture-perfect lives from the outside are rarely picture-perfect in reality. For me though, it's been a small weight lifted to have that flash, that duh moment.

Stop wishing, start appreciating more. Don't be so hard on myself. I am damn lucky already - a roof over my head, food in my belly, beautiful and kind kids with good health, a good man by my side. That's a lot to be happy about.


  1. I can empathise with a lot of what you wrote. I have been feeling it a lot this year and it is very painful. It is partly my age and partly some other losses and issues that are making this more acute.

    I know the feeling of being behind financially. I sometimes feel that I work for nothing. What do I have to show for it? It feels like we're just treading water some weeks and then, not too well.

    Sorry to unload on you - I guess I just wanted to commiserate and let you know you're not alone. I know logically too that other people's lives are seldom as ideal as they let on. Almost everyone has something going on.

    I do feel though, not for the first time, that I missed the bit where they handed out the instruction book for life. Should've paid more attention in class. =)

    Beautiful photos and I love the contrast of the leaves and the grass.

    1. That feeling of treading water, much of the time? I hear you. It's such a frustrating feeling. I'm sorry that you'e been having similar feelings too.

      You haven't unloaded on me, by any means. I questioned whether or not to hit the publish button for this post, because I thought, who wants to read me whine? When all is said and done, the financial problems I moan about are very much first world problems. Debt sucks, but we're not homeless. We live in a nice little apartment that most the world would probably die to live in (bad choice of words there, but I can't think of a better way to put it). We don't go hungry. We can stay as warm, dry, or cool as needed. We have access to a wonderful public school. This is all good, right? But I'm reconciling myself with the fact that it's human nature to wish for a little something more, and I've been guilty of that lately.

      Anyhow, in light of the mass shooting today, and those poor children and their families, I'm feeling extra grateful for what I have. Lots of cuddles for my girls today.

      PS - I never got that booklet either! But I always was a daydreamer at school...