No one wants to hear that life is falling apart. Problems are too real. Which is why we live avoiding them.
Happiness is real too, but we spend a lot of time holding on by seeking faux happiness in order to avoid real problems.
We are a people that struggles with the real. We’d rather assume that everything is okay instead of assuring that it is. That takes effort, time, investment of self – who has time for that? We get on Pinterest and pin boards of inspiration that we fail to live by, boards of our dream house that we don’t need, awesome food we will never cook. It makes us feel good and energized by the thought. We buy how-to books because we are inspired by what they contain, but they sit on our shelves because actually reading and following the directions is too much effort. We buy fancy cars not because we need them, but because we want what they represent. We are sustained by the fleeting moments of faux happiness acquired by nothing more than the thought of such. We buy toys we can’t afford to make us feel happy, excited, all to represent a feeling of accomplishment – like we made it. But we haven’t.
Why haven’t we made it?
We are stroking our own egos, proving to masses of people (that don’t care), that we are cool. People naturally want to prove their worth to others. We do it in relationships, at work… every time we encounter another person. We size ourselves up. It’s a hard thing to break from. I’m a victim of ego too.
I’ll admit something very shallow of me that happened just last week. I work at the University of Missouri. Classes just started and it was sorority week. I was surrounded, and I mean SURROUNDED, by a sea of 20-something females. I stepped out from my office on ‘sun-dress day.’ I was instantly the oldest gal in a two block radius. “Good Lord”, I thought. I wanted to run back inside. I suddenly felt bad about myself, my frizzy hair, my choice of ridiculous outfit, all of it. These girls were all so pretty and young. I had an extra 15 years of mistakes, stress, sun exposure and life written across my face. “This sucks.”
To look at it now, I laugh about it, but in the moment it was rough. I’m not a vain gal, I have an average to little ego, so it bothered me that the situation made me feel so insignificant. I had to ask myself to address it. Why did I feel that way? When I did, it made sense to me. On the surface I was jealous, but let me explain why. My initial thought was that these girls were all young, they hadn’t gone through childbirth, failed serious relationships, dealt with the stresses of mortgages, daycare and everything else. But that was my assumption due to the fact that they were young. Maybe some of them have gone through the same things. Maybe I shouldn’t assume, just as I hope they don’t look at me and think “right there is an old mainstream, house wife, blegh.”
In all reality these girls are at the starting line, they are fresh, bopping around in their neon nikes. I’m on my 15th lap around what feels like the grand canyon. I have sweat dripping off my face, a sprained ankle, a jacked up heart and about 500 lbs. of baggage that I’m toting. I try to pass by with a graceful prance but really, what’s the point? Instead I move to the outer lane, pass with a smile and say “hey!” Figuratively of course. All I can do is make my next lap better than the last and be grateful that I have already learned lessons, matured in my thinking, and gone through the all those things for which I was feeling inferior. For that, I keep running, turning my focus to the journey and play Macklemore in my head. “You can take a receipt to Heaven but you can not take it back.”
Would I actually trade lives with any of them? Not in a heartbeat.
To be young again doesn’t fix a damn thing. I’ve already come so far, I wouldn’t go back. Instead I hold my head high, not in a snobby way, just in a mid-thirties and confident with life sort of way. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not confident that tomorrow will be struggle-free. I’m just confident in myself and my ability to navigate through the rough waters. We rarely come out unscathed but we do come out. This ship will not sink. I have battle wounds and I also have stacks of medals that I don’t need to flaunt to anyone. Happiness is what we make within ourselves and with those we love – it is not something you make for the approval of others or to measure yourself up with another. It is not worn on your face. A smile is an easy mask, trust me. It is hidden inside. It is how you see life. If it’s anything but that, then it’s nothing but wasted time. You only have so many laps around the Grand Canyon. Don’t waste time. Just embrace all that you have and the distance that you have already come.
I have a closet of how-to’s which I’m going to start reading and boards of inspiration that I am going to live by. Plus, stuff is going to be made. The dream house board – forget it. A house to dream in, you bet. Walk comfortable in your own skin, no matter the baggage, the wrinkles, the scars the issues you are struggling through. Take ROUGH and just add TH, to the beginning (stands for True Heart by the way). You can get THROUGH.
Dream Big and With no Excuses.