I am in a philosophical mood today. I have been thinking about my life and what I have to be grateful for. This has been prompted by some illness in my family and being confronted with the thought of losing someone I love.
I have a tendency to be very critical of myself and put myself down. This stems from my low self-esteem which over the years I have worked very hard to build up. One of my biggest flaws, which is made even easier to sustain through the use of Facebook, is comparing myself to others. While in my last job it dawned on me that I was being driven by all the wrong motives. I wanted it to appear as though I was ‘sorted’, as though I had a ‘career’. The fact that I was totally miserable and reducing my quality of life seemed to be secondary to wanting to put on a good show for others.
Looking back I feel a bit surprised at myself for being prepared to compromise my happiness and wellbeing in order to pursue a career. I was so scared of not fulfilling my destiny (or some rubbish like that) and worried about people judging me that I put myself last in the equation. Don’t get me wrong, things haven’t been easy since I left my job. I have been my own worst critic telling myself “you’ve failed”, “you’re a quitter”, “what are you doing with your life?” No one else has put pressure on me, it’s just coming from my own head. However, I have decided to cut myself some slack and treat myself with the same kindness and tolerance I give to others.
I used to be really envious of people who live their life with a sense of freedom. For example, two of my friends are travelling around New Zealand at the moment. They just threw some clothes in a backpack and went! At the age of 25 I suppose it might be considered unusual to be married to the person I’ve been with for 9 years, to have a mortgage, etc. Thinking about it though, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I like the stability these things give me. Adventure is great but maybe I’m just on a different journey (yes I am aware of how cheesy that sounds!) Maybe instead of beating myself up for being “boring” I should champion the fact that I’m happiest when I’m sat in my fleecy pjs, eating junk food and chilling with my husband in front of a good film.
The other thing I’ve realised is that Facebook is like window shopping someone else’s life. They aren’t going to put last year’s tatty stock in the window are they?! Here’s my conclusion, it doesn’t matter! We are all different and all have different priorities. As long as we can respect other people’s choices we don’t necessarily have to want to make the same ones ourselves.
So today I am taking time to appreciate what I have because I have a lot to be thankful for. I am thinking about happy times I have spent with loved ones and this in itself is a good reminder that the simple things in life are often the ones that count for the most. That time we went on a sightseeing tour in London…reading our favourite poems together…playing card games while eating cheese and biscuits….you showing me how to butter bread ‘to the corners!’ I don’t remember what I was wearing or how much money I had in my back pocket, I just remember the simple pleasure of spending time together and just being us.