Wednesday, December 12, 2012
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.