Life is as hard or as easy as we want to make it.
This week I have had a couple of Aha moments that made me wonder how people may perceive me. At 45 years old I have learned not to care much about what people think of me (which was not always the case in my life) and to care about whether I can go to bed every night knowing I was kind, nice and present for the people that crossed my way. I do try to be the best version of myself but I have to be honest, it’s not always the case.
I have a good friend whose daughter is my daughter’s close friend (perfect scenario Right?). they moved to a little island in the Caribbean (they seem really happy living there much to our dismay but, hey, now we have a vacation place we can crash 😉 ). This week they came back to visit and another woman I know threw a little get together for them. I was surprised I got invited because I thought this woman (the hostess) didn’t like me much. I went to her house to see my friend and the hostess was kind but we didn’t really talked much. Long story short when I was coming back home I called my husband and I said “you know, she was nice for not liking me”…. then I paused and I got this Aha moment when I realized maybe it’s not that she doesn’t like me, maybe it’s me who is assuming things. Kevin asked me why I think she doesn’t like me and I said “well, they get together quite often and she never invites me over… and I remember this time when she mentioned how easy I have it being skinny and fit and with a perfect daughter and a perfect husband”… then it hit me: First of all, it’s not that they never invite me over, it’s that when they did it in the past I never came because most of their get togethers are late in the evening or weekends. Of course after people ask you to come over three times and you respond with “I have to wake up early to run” or “I already have plans with Kevin and Kori” they stop inviting you. No big deal so far… but, What about me having a perfect life and a perfect skinny body? Does she know how hard I work for everything I have? Does she know my life is not perfect, I just choose to focus on the positives of it?… of course not, How would she know if all I ever talk about is how grateful I am for everything I have and how grateful I am for having such a blessed life, loving husband and perfect daughter?
Truth is, it’s easy to judge someone from the outside. I did it with her too. All I knew is how she makes tons of money and her family seemed perfect from her Facebook posts and Christmas cards. Little I knew she was struggling in her marriage with an abusive husband and she was trying to keep the strong face for her kids. I felt bad after I found out. Not about her, she is strong and she will be fine (and of course I will reach out!) but about how selfish and judgmental I was and how I even found a way to justify it.
It’s so easy to judge when we haven’t walked on someone else’s shoes.
I do have a perfect life. I do have a happy life. I may not have everything but I am not lacking of anything. I love where I am at in my life. But, to get here there has been a lot of struggle before. A lot of growing up and learning. A lot of letting things go. And, overall, a lot of acceptance and learning gratitude instead of “greetitude” (I want this, I don’t have that, how come they have it and I don’t?”)… I went through a failed, abusive marriage (my first one), overcoming an eating disorder, a non existent relationship with my dad, a cancer scare, a contentious relationship with my mother, dealing with anger issues, injuries, asthma… lots of years of personal growth, lots of years of working in myself trying to become a better version of how I was… And even now I work very hard every day both in myself and to keep things the way they are. Notice that is not hard work because I enjoy it. I do have a lean body but there has been a lot of struggle to overcome the eating disorder and not let food thoughts consume my life, and to accept my body the way it is without wanting it to be perfect. I am fit and I can run somehow fast but it’s not because I am sitting all day doing nothing else. I train every day (minus recovery days of course) and I train really hard. I go to bed early. I push myself to the point of almost throwing up from the effort. But I like it so I am not going to complain about it. It is my choice. And I have been training for over 20 years now (first with swimming). I do watch what I eat and choose healthy foods over junk food (most of the time), it just has become a part of my lifestyle. I work hard in my job, it’s just something I enjoy doing so I don’t consider it a job. And I do prioritize my family before anything else. Kori and Kevin always come first. My family is my best accomplishment and the only thing I really care about and I am really proud about… Yes, I would like to sit and watch House Hunters International instead of a Scooby Doo movie, but I know Kori at some point will have her own life and won’t like to spend as much time with me (it’s called growing up and having your own life) so I make the most out of it. Yes, I rather go to the movies on the weekend instead of hanging at a swimming meet (where Kori is not even competing), but I much rather be at the meet next to Kevin if he is working there. I like being with him even if that means listening to “go, go” and smelling chlorine… I do like my friends but I rather be with Kevin doing nothing on our free weekends than having a “fun girls night out”. I don’t take the things I have for granted and I also know that everything we have and life as we know it can be gone in a second. That’s why I don’t complain and why I am grateful for everything I have and the life I have created.
As for that woman, I will reach out. Because it doesn’t matter what she may think of me, I do know better and I do want to be better. And when i was struggling in my life I had so many nice people not only reaching out to me but really getting out of their way to make a difference in my life that the only thing I can do is at least the same for everybody else. After all, we are here together and we are here to help each other have a perfect life. It is possible.