Most days I feel good. I feel content. I feel we are on the right path. I feel we are okay… more than okay. We are HAPPY. We are us. And we are doing things our way… figuring out this whole ‘life’ thing as we go.
But then (of course) there are other days. The days where I let myself fall into the ugly ugly trap of comparing myself to others… comparing my life to theirs… how far someone has come, with how far I have yet to go… I let it get me down. I let it weigh on me. I let my heart ache from the questions swirling in my brain… Did I make the right choices? Should I have sacrificed it all for this? Is this where we want to be? Will we ever really get there? Will this ever feel easy?
I’m embarrassed to say I had one of those moments recently. In the middle of James attempting to have a conversation with me – I started crying and asked him if he ever wished we had normal 9-5 jobs with good pay, vacation days, sick days, health benefits, and retirement funds… If he wished we hadn’t sacrificed all that to follow my dream (now, our dream). I asked if he wished we owned a home, and had kids already… I asked if he was happy with how things had turned out so far. He looked pretty shocked and confused… like he wanted to ask me what on earth brought on these questions and worries. But he didn’t need to ask… he knows me well, and knew long before I had the chance to answer – that I was falling into a trap of comparing my life to those around me. He reminded me that no two lives look the same, nor are they supposed to look the same… that I was comparing apples to oranges, night to day, Alaska to Hawaii… (you get the point).
I suppose all people feel this way at times…? (Please tell me you do…) Well, at least Theodore Roosevelt must have since he said this… (He really knew what he was talking about!)
But I really let this one get me down. Usually I feel it, but I don’t let it take me out. I don’t end up in a ball of tears questioning every choice I’ve ever made up until this point. (Well, not EVERY choice… definitely not questioning marrying James! No worries!)
I wrote about this feeling last year for my wedding graduate post on A Practical Wedding. And after I wrote that piece I really felt I’d washed my hands of it. Washed my hands of comparing my life to others and worrying about decisions I’d made. I felt I’d grown up and that my 30’s would be a new world of living happily ever after and knowing that my life was not meant to look like someone else’s. But then… then the comparisons and aching in my chest came roaring in like a storm in the night. Out of no where I was doubting myself and this life that James and I had built together. And I was angry with myself for doing so because I should know better…
James and I talked for a while about my feelings. I cried it out (which usually makes me feel better). We talked about our lives, and he reminded me how far we’ve come. He pointed out that while other people were saving for houses, cars, and babies… we were using any extra money we had to invest in this little business we were building so that we could live our dreams and work side by side doing what we love. He reminded me how important I always said it was to me that our (future) children saw us following our passions rather than working a job we hated to pay the bills… to show them that happiness is much more than extra money in the bank… it is loved ones and time spent with them. And slowly, word by word, he brought me out of the ugly place I was in… and I realized how ungrateful I must have seemed, and how ridiculous it was of me to ever let myself think any of it.
As he held my hand, looked me in the eye, and told me everything would turn out just fine… I vowed to do my best to not compare our life to those around us again. I reminded myself that no matter what dreams fall by the wayside, and what dreams of ours are met… no matter what we have or don’t have… as long as we have each other … we have more than enough.