Sep 13

I Love My Life, but…

Is the glass half full or half empty? Maybe you'd just prefer a cup of tea?I’m not really an envious person and I try to stay optimistic. I generally manage to have a glass-half-full outlook, although occasionally I lapse into glass-half-empty and every now and then I have one of those but-I-ordered-a-Coke-and-fries moments.

For a variety of reasons, by the time I got to Saturday evening I was feeling quite stressed. I’m telling you that so that you don’t judge me too harshly for what is coming next. Remember, I was a woman on the edge.

I decided to shake off my why-can’t-my-life-be-easier blues by visiting Facebook. A quick catch-up with my friends would surely put everything into perspective. Nothing like reading about toilet-training dramas, toddlers that won’t nap and renovation nightmares to remind me that things could be worse (such Schadenfreude is possible, of course, because my kids are past the toilet training and naps stage and we’re not renovating).

Instead of finding these everyday hassles, I came across a status update by a friend from primary school. Last I heard, she had five children and was working as a lecturer at Newcastle Uni and part-time lawyer. Did I mention she’s also gorgeous? It’s worth keeping that in mind.

My friend’s status update led me to her blog. My gorgeous, intelligent, successful friend with five children also has time for a blog. Quite an interesting and well written one, actually, so we can add creative to her list of admirable qualities.

What is her blog about? I’m glad you asked, because this is the point that pushed me over the edge from ‘oh, isn’t that nice’ to ‘This isn’t the life I signed up for. When’s the next train out of town?’ Her blog, since you’re being so insistent and totally disregarding the distress the subject causes me, is about how she is moving to the South West of France for a year with her partner and children.

In the cold light of day, I can be happy for this exciting opportunity that has come along for her and still be content with my own life. But in that brief moment when I read that she was preparing for an exciting sojourn in Europe, I gazed about at my avalanching ironing pile, craft-covered dining room table and yet to be unpacked bags of groceries and wished that I was about to jet off to somewhere exciting and exotic as well.

Please make me feel better about myself by telling me that you envy her as well. If I’m part of a crowd, I’ll be able to use that whole ‘mob mentality’ thing to excuse my bad attitude. Maybe we should all follow her blog Our House in Quercy and leave encouraging, thoughtful comments to compensate for our negative attitude (I’m already generalising my bad response to include you, so you might as well be part of the solution. That whole mob mentality concept really works, doesn’t it?).

If you could leave your life (but not your family) behind for a year, where would you go? I’d definitely end up in Europe, probably Germany. What about you?

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  1. Megan

    Yep, I’m green too!

    I’d go to Switzerland and France…
    .-= Megan´s last blog ..The Party! =-.

    1. Susan

      I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling envious!

      Switzerland and France sound great. I’ll be able to visit you from Germany. 🙂

  2. Meredith @ thinkthinks

    I’m sort of but not really envious. I’d love to be able to go and see my family in Germany again (I could visit you too!) and spend some time travelling around Europe and indeed everywhere else in the world (New York and Morocco, I’m specifically looking at you), but I don’t really have the pull-up-stumps-live-in-another-country envy.

    I’m more envious of an old primary school friend who is travelling around Australia in a Winnebago with her husband and six kids. And let’s make it clear that it’s not the 6 kids that I envy, two will do me fine! It’s the close family times they appear to be having. Her updates are so entertaining and even the most ordinary day to day experiences like eating breakfast or reading seem like fun.

    But on the upside – I just got a Nespresso machine yesterday. My cup is not only half-full, it is half-full with fresh creamy latte. I’m livin’ the dream, baby.
    .-= Meredith @ thinkthinks´s last blog ..Just runnin’ down the road’s her idea of having fun =-.

    1. Susan

      A Winnebago? I thought you wanted to travel around the countryside in a VW van. Now there’s a reality TV show I’d tune in to. 🙂

  3. Marg

    Some times our every day lives can seem to crowd us in a little bit can’t they.

    I am a bit envious too. I did the whole living overseas thing (before child I should stress) but since coming back to Australia have never left the country again, and that’s something I don’t see changing in the short or medium future. I would love to give my son the opportunity to travel, but I guess decisions about priorities have to be made, and that’s just not what I can do at the moment.
    .-= Marg´s last blog ..Currently Reading- An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon =-.

    1. Susan

      I’d love for my children to be able to travel as well, so I guess that was a large part of where my envy came from. I don’t necessarily want to live in France, but I’d love to be able to take my children on a holiday where we could explore Europe and see the sights. *sigh*

      Nevermind, there are amazing opportunities right on our doorstep to see and experience amazing things if we look for them. Just look at how excited all those women in Oprah’s audience were to be told that they were heading to Australia for 10 days. We don’t have to travel half way around the world, it’s right here. 🙂

  4. life in a pink fibro

    I’m sort of envious. She’s just taking the ironing with her, you know. It will have a different accent, but it will still be ironing.

    I too have Winnebago fantasies Meredith, but have you seen the size of those things – you’d go nuts in five minutes.

    We all have moments when we’d like to be someone else, but at the end of the day you’re probably living your best life. Then again, hubby and I are hoping to take our boys to Holland for a year at some point, so who am I to talk?????
    .-= life in a pink fibro´s last blog ..Somebody throw me a junior Masterchef =-.

    1. Susan

      I’ll be able to visit you in Holland if I’m in Germany. Looks like we should just have a mass Aussie blogger invasion of Europe and be done with it.

  5. Rachel

    I know what you mean. I’ve been having a bad year. My fiance and I relocated from a country town to Sydney in order to further our careers. Since we have got here I have been unable to get anything but casual work, my fiance has only been able to get temp work,which has caused a lot of money related stress.

    My fiance also had a car accident (he was not injured but found at fault so it cost us a lot), my health has been extremely poor (I’ve had glandular fever for weeks), some weeks we can barely afford to feed ourselves let alone save up for our wedding. We know we will never buy our own home as our rent so high, there is no way we can save enough money.

    The thing is… I love my fiance and our cats. I love where we live despite the rising cost. I have a generally good life, a supportive family and although pretty broke, still allocate myself a small amount of money per month to enjoy myself. Overall, when I look at it like that. I am happy.

    Then I log onto facebook. My friends are getting married, having babies, buying houses, progressing in their careers and travelling all over the world. I read through endless recounts of places I would love to visit, how wonderful it is to be married, how great it is to own their own homes and how they are lucky to have such good jobs they love. I can’t help but feel envious.

    I keep trying to tell myself that everyone has bad times, it could be worse and that I need to focus on what I do have, not what I don’t. Which is hard sometimes. Maybe I just need to ditch facebook?

    The point of my little rant (besdies letting off steam haha) is that we all know people who seem to have seamlessly easy lives and good luck. Some people just draw that sort of good energy.. others have to work for it. I wish I could work out how to do the former.
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..The Handmaids Tale – Margaret Atwood =-.

    1. Susan

      Sounds like you have had a tough year, Rachel. I’m impressed that you can still be so positive. I guess it does all come down to focusing on what is good in our lives rather than what isn’t working quite the way we would like.

      As much as I love keeping in touch with friends on Facebook, I think it does give us a very unbalanced view of other people’s lives. We only get to hear the great things or terrible things that happen without being aware of all mundane things that make up everyday life. We get a very filtered version of what people’s lives are really like.

  6. Melissa

    Yep, I’m jealous. I have to remind myself that 99% of the world’s population would envy me for things like my access to democracy, food, clean water and education…compare down, never compare up was a piece of good advice I read on someone else’s blog. Also, It’s good to remember that we aren’t all starting from the same point – some of us have lots of advantages and help in getting to where we are, some of us have many more challenges. Also, how we present ourselves and our lives on our blogs or on Facebook may not represent the full reality of our lives.

    If I could, I’d take the kids to a comfortable cottage somewhere in Scotland and spend lots of time roaming the wilds.

    1. Susan

      Alain de Botton gave a great TED talk about why going to school reunions is a terrible idea – that the sense of insecurity and frustration comes becomes you are comparing your life and achievements with others who have come from the same place as you (age, education and geography-wise, anyway).

      Scotland sounds nice. I’ll visit you there as long as you don’t make me eat Haggis. 🙂

  7. Tania McCartney

    I think you are an incredibly high-achieving, intelligent, talented, gorgeous and passionate person. I could have told you that BEFORE this blog stumble happened.

    I have know a woman similar to your friend. She has it all and is actually really lovely. But, surprisingly, she also has no friends. We can never know what’s behind the outer ‘illusion’.

    PS: I would also go to the South of France, but deep into the hinterlands. Or NYC… Or Tokyo. Ok, or New Zealand. Or London. Or Paris. And also Bath. And that little teensy town I had the most amazing hot chocolate of my life – Pitigliano, Italy.
    .-= Tania McCartney´s last blog ..Handmade Market a Blooming Success =-.

  8. MizB

    Sometimes Facebook is a really handy tool for keeping in touch, and sometimes it can really get-your-goat, eh?

    I may not be envious of your friend (I have no desire, really, to visit France), but I do have someone in my own life who makes me feel like you described… someone who’s always better at everything (seemingly), and has many talents, and is just plain maddening! Currently, said someone is back into doing a weight-loss/running program, and this annoys me to no end because SHE can be very disciplined & consistent, whereas I cannot… I’ve tried & tried, and still I am failing to stick with things, no matter how desperate I am. 😕

    So, yeah… I hear you. And, I’ll join that “mob mentality” with ya. 😉

    .-= MizB´s last blog ..Friday Finds Sept17 =-.