Monday, September 13, 2010

My Life Fits Me Fine

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When I was in kindergarten, I was so very jealous of Jennie O. She got to have a Halloween party at her house. My mom would never have let me have a Halloween party like Jennie.

In first grade, I was jealous of Brooke B. Her mom let her be a model, and she had a picture in the JC Penney ads where she was blowing a bubble. I wasn't pretty enough to be a model like Brooke.

In second grade, Katie W got to sit next to Andrew, who I had the biggest crush on. Even though I was one of his three girlfriends (ummmm yeah, he was a cool dude back then), I wanted to be the only one, and I wanted to be Katie.

In third grade, Nicky S was in ballet and had the coolest leotard and tights. I had tried ballet and lasted only six months because I hated it so much, but I still wanted to be Nicky.

In fourth grade, Keely B seemed to have all the friends, and her life looked so easy. I wanted Ben and Paul and Brian and Will to be hanging all over me like they did Keely.

In fifth grade, Lizzy L was the fastest runner I knew. She could even beat the boys, and I wanted to be her more than ever.

And so on it went...

In college, I found my own stride, and things were pretty smooth. I was happy with my life and what I was doing, and I honestly can't think of anyone I truly envied.

After college, I looked at Carrie J and how she juggled an awesome job - doing the same thing as me but at a different company - and a stream of boyfriends who adored her. I dated a couple guys I didn't even like so that I could be like her. Fortunately I came to my senses and stopped that pattern. But Carrie led the charmed life I wanted.

As I had the wee ones, I saw all my neighbors and friends quitting their jobs to joyously stay home with their children. I kept working and looked at my friend Lisa D with envy for her easy life. Then I quit my job when the wee ones were 2 and not yet 1. It was a miserable life for me for a variety of reasons, and I soon went back to work.

I'm not sure exactly where I realized that my life is my life - and I like it that way. No matter how golden someone's life appears, it isn't truly as it appears. There's always some wrinkle that you don't know about that adds pain or strife or stress in some way. Our own lives are how we design them, and mine really fits me quite nicely.

I've figured out how to stay home with the wee ones and enjoy it. I fill the time I have doing things I - generally - enjoy, and I take pride in what I accomplish. I found a man to marry who is everything I asked for and all that I need. Nothing is perfect, but that would get boring. Instead, I am content.

I can now look at people who have gorgeous hair and genuinely admire it without wanting to trade places. I watch the women at the gym wearing tight spandex that looks good on them as they churn off another dozen miles, and I shake my head in wonder. I watch the chefs who cook on the Food Network, and their prowess astounds me - but I wouldn't want to be them.

Welllllll, most of the time anyway....

This Post was inspired by the book "Following Polly" by Karen Bergreen, which was the From Left to Write book club selection this month. As always, our posts are not book reviews but instead are drawn from something in the book. I received a copy of the book to read for the book club, but there was no compensation involved.

PS This book get two huge thumbs up. Loved it.


Hyacynth September 13, 2010 at 9:17 PM  

Michelle, I totally relate to this post in so many ways. I spent a good chunk of my life always wanting to some other girl. Always thinking she had some kind of way better life, whoever that she happened to be at that moment.
But I'm finally, finally to the point where I like me. And I like liking me. And I like being me. And I like the life that's been given to me.
And it's so very freeing.

Thank you for this post. I'm glad you like you. Gonna have to check out that book.

Sky Princess September 13, 2010 at 9:32 PM  

I know a girl who has the most gorgeous hair I have ever seen, and she complains about it.

The grass is green on both sides of the fence.

Zen Mama Wannabe September 13, 2010 at 10:52 PM  

You have learned what I find I must remind myself of time and time again! That it just isn't as easy or as wonderful or as simple for that other person as you (meaning "I") might think. Your post is a great reminder of that - and yes, in many ways the book was too.

P.S. I've read it too - and wholeheartedly agree with the 2 thumbs up rating! :)

Linsey K / Me Too You / From Left to Write September 14, 2010 at 1:02 AM  

Why does it take us so long to realize this stuff?! I so wish my daughters could skip this jealousy stuff, but I think it is just part of the process? Part of life? So glad you are "content" (I love that word...). I feel sort of THERE now too. It's a good place.

Karen September 14, 2010 at 6:28 AM  

That's a happy place to be. When you can look on the world and enjoy without envy, you've reached a peace inside yourself that love or money can't buy.

Emily September 14, 2010 at 9:43 AM  

It really seemed that Following Polly did bring one back to the times when they wished they were someone else. I do think it comes with age, that acceptance of your own life, and don't forget, Polly did get herself murdered for her "perfect" life, didn't she?

Megryansmom September 14, 2010 at 10:50 AM  

Hmmm wonder where I fit in, wishing I were the skinnier, younger me with longer hair LOL. I suppose 2 of those things could be fixed if I really tried hard enough.

Melissa September 14, 2010 at 11:19 AM  

Great conceit. Lovely realization. Envy is wasted energy. I much prefer gratitude!

Melissa September 14, 2010 at 11:19 AM  

Great conceit. Lovely realization. Envy is wasted energy. I much prefer gratitude!

Joanna Jenkins September 14, 2010 at 2:20 PM  

I can relate to a lot of what you said which means I'll probably enjoy this book. I'm add it to my reading list. Thanks for the tip.

Tara R. September 14, 2010 at 3:29 PM  

I can only be the best 'me' I can. If I had someone else's life, I wouldn't have all the great things I do have.

You're right, all the people we envy have their own secrets that we might NOT want to have too.

septembermom September 14, 2010 at 3:58 PM  

That is the best place to be, feeling good within your own skin. I like how my perspective in that area has really matured over the years. I'm going to check out that book.

Pat September 15, 2010 at 6:43 PM  

I think most of us have gone through wishing we could be like someone else when we were young, when we "thought like a child." But maturity is putting away childish things and ways of thinking...I Corinthians 13:11..."When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a (wo)man, I put childish ways behind me." I think most of us are comfortable in our own skin the older we get--except, of course for the aches and pains!

jGreat post, Michelle!

Anonymous September 17, 2010 at 11:25 PM  

I assume that now, at this phase in life, you aspire to be Jen U. Is that true? ;)

Michelle September 19, 2010 at 1:58 PM  

Hyacynth - I don't think it's you. I am pretty sure everyone always wants to be someone else - until they figure out that they sorta like their own lives.

Sky Princess - Yeah... those people kill me. :) Sometimes we have to decide that our shade of green is just fine though.

Zen Mama Wannabe - I do have to remind myself sometimes! If only it were that easy, right?

Linsey - Oh I have no idea. But if I could go back in time knowing what I know now, oh how much easier my life would be :)

Karen - Nope, money definitely can't buy it. And I think sometimes money impedes it.

Emily - Oh she certainly did. And her "perfect" life is so not what anyone would have expected.

Megryansmom - Wellll yeah, it would always be NICE to be skinnier or younger or have longer hair, but that doesn't mean that we're truly unhappy with ourselves, right?

Melissa - Gratitude is a wonderful thing. Envy ... so wasted. And I really need all the energy I can get; I can't spare any for wasted emotions!

Joanna - Definitely add it to your reading list; it was a fun book.

Tara - Amen! That is so well said.

Kelly - It is a wonderful place to be, and I hope the wee ones get there sooner than later. I think they start this way and are there now, but something happens in the tween and teen yeras to ruin it.

Pat - I hope that most people are comfortable in their own skin eventually, but I know I can look around and absolutely see people who aren't unfortunately.

Jen - Ummmm yeah. I aspire to be Jen. Especially the violin playing part....

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