Do you guys watch You’re the Worst? I’ve talked about it before but seem to remember that some of you hated it. This past season took a darker, serious turn, and gave us a beautiful episode (entitled LCD Soundsystem) that perfectly encapsulated what some of us struggle with as adults: do our friends and strangers have better, more-together lives? And what could we have done differently?
I won’t necessarily spoil the episode and this is not a review, but Gretchen, the female lead, stalks a couple in the neighborhood who she believes has it “all”: they’re married with a child, have a dog and nanny, and their biggest problem seems to be getting their daughter into preschool. The lesson of the episode, of course, is that no one has a perfect life. There are shitty days and long weeks and bills and sickness and fights and it happens to us all.
I will never pretend I don’t drown in this feeling. It’s a daily struggle. I think we’ve all been there (and these are not my thoughts): how could my life be better? what if I chose a different major? What if I would have turned down that first job offer? What if I would have continued dating that guy?
Over the weekend we were driving around Louisville, looking at houses for sale, and mentally noting areas we wanted to remember when we looked for jobs later. We pulled into one neighborhood I particularly love and I lamented that we had to go back to our home instead of staying there. J jokingly said, “yes, I bet no one in the neighborhood has any problems.”
Will moving to a new town make me the type of person who doesn’t yell at others at the grocery store? Will it make me remember to take my dry cleaning or help me control my sweet tooth? Will it make me less terrified to be a mother? Buying the house or moving to a new town won’t diminish those insecurities and doubt, but when you are struggling, it’s nice to imagine you CAN create a perfect life. We can sit behind our screens and desire to trade places with our Facebook friend or blogger we follow. But it doesn’t exist. No one is carefree. There will be good times. There will be hard times. Does anything eliminate that insecurity and uncertainty? And really, what’s wrong with living a good but NOT perfect life?
One of the things I want to work on in the new year is focusing on the positives and getting to where I want to be. Where WE want to be. And mostly I want to remember how lucky I am to have watched my niece’s first dance recital Friday night and to have had a secret lunch date with my mom Saturday afternoon. That I’m lucky to have the sincere love of a close-knit family. I want to remember how lucky I am that J and I had the means to enjoy an impromptu day date before Christmas. I don’t want to focus on the fact that the kitchen floor isn’t mopped or that we need to repaint. Rather, I want to focus on the love and laughter between these walls. To recognize that I might not have had time to tidy the den or prepare a gourmet meal, but I pour a hell of a cocktail and make guests feel welcome. That I’ve created a happy home and a thoughtful heart. I don’t want to be the person hiding in the bushes, overwhelmed with envy over the life of another: instead, I want to be overwhelmed with gratitude for the life I have been given.
Tell me, do you struggle with this feeling?
Tomorrow I’ll be back with something less dark: a 30 second holiday hair tutorial!