It happened to me again this week, that thing that happens to me All. The. Time. Someone looked at me and uttered a variation of the following: “I am so envious of how much you travel. If I didn’t have kids………….”
I know I was curt in my reply. When I’m ninety and alone, I may wish I’d made different choices, and that’s what I shot back. I don’t think I will have regrets. That’s not how I choose to live my life.
Regardless of how much of myself I display in this blog, there are things I don’t write about. However, I’m going to break my silence on this issue, because it needs to be done.
Until I was 31 or 32, I was largely still a baby. I didn’t know who I was. I look at ladies who are younger than that now, running businesses and pulling it all together, and I am in happy awe of them. Who knows where I’d be now if I had been that smart back then? Again, no regrets, but it’s a fact that I am a late bloomer. I didn’t really figure myself out until I was almost 40, and I’m okay with that.
I spent a lot of my life trying to please: my parents; my ex-husband (though he would surely disagree); a long-term ex-boyfriend I aimed to marry; my various bosses; my assortment of friends. Sometimes, I want to go back to that girl and scream at her to grow a pair, to stop living her life to please everybody else, hacking away at her spirit in the process.
I’ve walked through valleys and pits and disasters and will surely see more before I’m done. But, I will say this with certainty: I am sick of people telling me they envy my life. Until you’ve walked all the way through every dip and disappointment of it – the whole preponderance, not just the here-and-now – you have no idea what you’re saying.
Mostly, these comments come from people with kids, and I have some special words just for you. Children are wonderful. They are gifts. In almost every instance of people I know who have them, they chose to do it. Sometimes, they struggled and spent thousands of dollars and cried rivers of tears to attain what they wanted.
I don’t know whether this applies to me, because I’ve never tried to have a child, but it’s worth pondering in general because it does describe some woman out there. When someone says they envy another’s life and then launches into talking about what they could do if they didn’t have kids, do they ever stop to think that the woman sitting in front of them may not be able to have them? That she may choose to live her life the way she does as a consolation prize?
Don’t envy the life of another. There’s always more underneath the surface we see, and few people plumb the depths to discover more than the veneer. The grass isn’t greener someplace else, and the happiest people in the world know it.