I think that all people look at this world and wonder about the grass on the other side – it is why we have the cliche in the first place. I think a lot of people wonder how someone living way above their means can actually exist for very long. I think all of us wonder from time to time why others seem to get away with literal larceny, while the rest of us are just trying to keep our heads above the ever rising water.
I think we all question and all find ourselves stormed with anger because the life that we lead, the life that we have always dreamed of, just isn’t exactly like we thought it would be. Doesn’t matter what job we have, what our dinner companion looks like, doesn’t even matter if our child gets the solo in the holiday musical, we still wonder at the person sitting right next to us with a idiotic grin on his face.
I often wonder if I look like Tina Fey when I sit next to these people. Sort of a lip curled, hatred in the eyes, and the leaning away as if the very smell of success disgusts us. You know the look, you might have even perfected that look.
Sitting here in a red fleece blanket covered in ridiculously smiling snowmen wearing green hats, I can picture in my mind my bank account. Listening to the heat try and warm me, I can see in my mind the cars those people drive, the trips those people take, and the seemingly endless amount of joy they display at all times. Those people; those people that I will never be.
Part of growing up, unfortunately, is realizing that you will never be another person – you are stuck with you. And part of growing up is realizing that those people aren’t any happier, nor have more of a life than you do. It is a horrible realization. A horrendous thing to realize that the life you are stuck with is yours and for the most part will be yours until the day you die.
We all dream big. I dream of going to Paris or finally publishing one of my novels. I dream of having a farmhouse, or at least being able to go to the grocery store without wondering if I can get away without cookies this week because they are not on sale. I dream of sitting in a beautiful hall listening to music written a century ago and not worrying if my children can have the Christmas they are dreaming of – knowing I can provide everything for them.
Part of my life is my own fault. I am a rather selfish and quite a lazy person. There always seem to be times that I didn’t work for something, but rather let an opportunity pass me by in the hopes that all my dreams would be easy. I know there have been times when I didn’t fight for the next thing because I was so tired, so exhausted from trying to be something that others thought I should be. But had I fought, would it all have changed?
Hindsight being what it is you can look back at those moments and question the validity of your own thoughts. Could I have lived without that trip? Could I have looked a little harder for a better job? Could I have stayed put instead of needing to believe that something out there was worth my passions? Could I have been in the middle of my dreams all along and simply never seen it?
Truly, I don’t have much to complain about. I have two children that are healthy, my husband does have a job, and despite the condition we do have a roof over our heads. I have found a way to write each day, a way that satisfies the amazing amount of passion that I have for the craft. And at the end of each day I have the love that so many would die for.
So why the jealousy of the man beside me? Why do I resent those I have never met and don’t know anything about? Why is it so easy to imagine that others are living the way I have always wanted? And why is it so easy to imagine that I am not? Why is it that I can list the things in life that make me so joyful, and so blessed, but I can’t find the satisfaction that I need to fully enjoy it?
If you ask one of my therapist they will tell you that I am a restless soul that will never be truly happy and satisfied. If you ask the former nun I saw for awhile she will probably give you God’s version and then ask me why I am not running full out for the dream. Other therapists will question what it is I really want. Generally, others will tell me it simply a normal part of life.
But how is dissatisfaction a normal part of life? How is it that we, as a people, have decided that simply being able to get up each morning in relative comfort is not enough. When did we lose the possibility of enough and instead strive only for the next best?
I imagine that some professors will stand on their podiums and lecture me about the demons of electronics and the internet. I imagine that my mother would roll her eyes. I imagine there are those that would say the availability of junk food, televisions or manicures or even drugs is the reason. I don’t know if I believe any of that. I don’t think my dissatisfaction comes from a make believe world and my mother rolls her eyes at me a lot.
So why I am so dissatisfied?
What about shame? Is it possible that I have built in my head this castle among the stars that I don’t have? Is it possible that because I am not jetting to Paris every other weekend I feel like I have failed somehow? Is it possible that because my mother and father expected the world of me, and honestly believed that I could do it, I am dissatisfied with the fact that I don’t have it. Is it my own shame that looks at that man sitting next to me like I am channeling Tina Fey?
There are many aspects of our own selves that are completely our own fault and in our control. Embarrassment, intimidation, jealousy and even shame. While I could argue that we can’t truly control love or even happiness to an extent, I could also argue that my shame is completely my own.
No one is telling me that I am doing it wrong. No one is pointing their finger at me and thinking that I have somehow failed. No one is looking at me and wondering when it is I will change my life for the better. No one but me.
If I were to be honest I would say there is occasionally times when I am the one someone is looking at with the exact imitation of Tina Fey.