So many people have that Norman Rockwell image of perfection, the Better Homes and Garden house with perfectly behaved children and an attentive spouse. It’s the impossible dream. All I feel is overwhelmed and inadequate as I look around at perfectly manicured lawns, fabulous vacations and angelic children posted on Facebook.
The expectations are set high for society which leaves us feeling like a failure. Sometimes I could cry, not letting on to family or friends and wonder how many others feel the same? How many others are drowning just trying to get it all done?
We are working harder longer and stressing out more than our parents did. Today, both parents are working, children are involved in a multitude of activities outside the home and we are always on the go. We’ve made life too competitive and complicated. We are setting ourselves up for failure when a 6 year old has a thousand dollar cell phone and both parents are busting their butts to pay the mortgage on a house that’s way over the budget. Today there’s so many more options, from the foods we eat to items purchased due to the internet. I can easily order a sweater from Ireland and shoes from Italy then drive 20 miles to eat sushi at my favorite restaurant. We’re over achieving but not in a good way. Our parents stayed local; working near their home, shopping at the local market, and as children we were involved in local activities. They were content with enough, making due with what they had. And I think that was less stressful. Now we commute to work, shop everywhere from Illinois to India thanks to online options and cart our kids to wherever has the best team or coaching options. Personally, I think we’ve lost something in transition. We’ve lost our sense of community. We’ve lost our connection to others because we’re all trying to be the best.
Don’t get me wrong, we should all be trying to do our best but it’s ok to be good enough. Not coming in first doesn’t mean we’re a failure. There’s a lot of negativity in our world today. Negativity of injustice, lack of empathy and loss of control in the world, life is messy. Keeping the house clean, my child well behaved and fulfilled isn’t an easy job. And I do mean job. I have sacrificed myself and my needs my times. That made me unhappy and sometimes resentful. It’s exhausting trying to keep up with what everyone else has and does. Reality tv doesn’t help that mindset either. Keeping up with the K… yuk! Why does society place value on such nonsense? Why are celebrities made important for doing nothing? So you’re pretty or maybe you can act or catch a football, So what!!! What do they do to make our lives or anyone else’s better? Why isn’t value placed on helping others?
I think we are caught up in a cycle that’s unhealthy. It’s unhealthy for ourselves as well as our children. It’s time to put things into perspective, put our lives back on track. It’s time to stop putting so much weight on what other people think or do. Set some realistic priorities. Get back to what is really important, spending time with family and friends. Counting our blessings. Life isn’t about how much we can accumulate. It’s the journey. It’s about the people we meet along the way. I’m not saying to move to Zimbabwe and live in a hut. I’m just saying slow down. Life is short so make time for people not things. I know I’ve been emotionally and physically exhausted at times trying to keep up, keep up with the neighbors, coworkers, and friends.
I think it’s about finding happiness and knowing our self worth. Time to start slowing down, prioritizing. Pick and choose what’s really necessary. Do we really need a 6 year old with an iPhone? Do we need a new SUV every other year? Do we need the kitchen remodeled? What we do need is to connect with our families! Place value on experiences not things. Focus on what is actually happening at that moment and try not to anticipate anything else. We need to focus on what we need to do to be happy and healthy and in turn we can help others. That’s the way to make a difference in our world.
There’s a difference between making a life and making a living. It’s time to choose making a life and sharing it with someone special, that’s living!