I felt a little pathetic as I explained to Stuart why I stopped reading some of my once favourite blogs. I kept up on these lives religiously, dedicating time every morning to catch up with my "friends". It took a while before I noticed I'd be uncharacteristically gloomy after reading some of these colourful and splendid journals filled with clean hardwood floors, frame and plate adorned walls, weekend trips to sunny places. Slender bodies clad in expensive, "modest" swim suits. Handsome husband's in bowties and glasses, hats. Babies and puppies adoring red lipped mothers, always smiling. Blessed lives. Why wouldn't they always be smiling? Traveling, eating out, accessorising, taking pictures with cameras that use instant film, cupcakes, vintage furniture, bands I never heard of. Props, bi-annual family portraits, heirloom engagement rings.
There I sat in a house far away from my family, overweight, uneducated and alone all day. Struggling to make ends meet, stranded, childless. Helpless and sitting on an uncomfy couch, dealing with chronic back pain and the inability to sleep for longer than 45 minutes at a time. I had a husband going to a school he hated, memorising things he disagreed with in order to pass exams that drained our bank account, dreading graduating and having to live being in a profession he felt would prevent him progressing in life, and worst of all being associated with radicals. The other side of the coin was to drop out and disappoint family and be left with an incredible amount of debt with nothing to show for it. Sleepless nights, anxiety, fear, depression.
I had to stop. Deep fascination with these lives was not enough for me to be able to relate to these people. It was easy to think of them as my friends when they really weren't. At the end of reading and witnessing these dream lives I was left empty and slightly sick. I'd question why I wasn't living these lives. Why was life not working out for us when we were working so hard and struggling so incredibly?
Comparison IS the thief of joy.
It doesn't even matter! Those lives are not mine. We all have different experiences, the potential to do different wonderful things, the ability to touch lives in different ways. Here's to facing forward and making the most of what we have, whether we have a lot of things or not.