urghhh…

27 04 2010

I caught up with an old friend today and we had a great conversation.  Much has changed in both our lives and all of it positive.  Somehow though, I still walked away feeling like I was not keeping up the Joneses….

I’m actually kinda bummed.  Over the years I have managed to feel very good about where I am in life and not make the dreaded comparison that can make you feel like something is lacking.  I am very proud of our achievements and our lifestyle.  However, it is not filled with flashy social events, twice-yearly world travel, or fancy cars.  I feel very fortunate.  Most days.  I have my health, a great job, a wonderful partner in life and love, and countless other things. 

Sometimes though words can complicate the delicate balance between appreciation of what you have and wanting of the things you don’t.

I’m fairly certain that our conversation was not initially meant to take the following path but I learned far more than I ever needed to about salaries of people I used to work with.  It simply leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I have encountered this a few times over the past ten years and it never fails to elicit this exact reaction.  I learned a long time ago that equal work does not necessarily equal comparable pay.    

I love my life.  And I hate doubting it.   Or where I am.  Even for a second. 

I can easily withdraw back into my own little world and cut myself off from friends but I know that isn’t the solution.  Has anyone else ever felt like this? If so, how did you cope with the feeling?

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3 responses

28 04 2010
Meredith

I think we’ve all felt like that at one time or another. However, most of the people that seem to have everything, are likely swimming in debt. Especially living in this city.

I can easily visit someone’s house and see all of their gadgets and hear all about their latest worldly adventures….but I am happy living in my rented apartment, watching my 16 year old tube tv, listening to my 18 year old stereo, and driving my 16 year old car.

When I lose touch, I remember the lyrics of Sheryl Crow’s “Soak Up the Sun” song.
“It’s not having what you want; it’s wanting what you’ve got.” So true.

It’s my opinion that the larger and more expensive the city you live in, the more you feel left in the cold if you don’t feel the need to own all of the gadgets that others own. I don’t know how much longer I will last in Toronto. A smaller city with affordable housing may be in my future.

If it counts for anything Jen, I think you have a beautiful life. You live in a nice place, you’re married to a guy that you love, your family is nearby, you’re healthy, you are rich with friends, and you have a job to pay the bills. That’s really what life is all about, and sometimes big city dwellers forget that.

M

28 04 2010
Carol

I felt something similar … for me it wasn’t so much about work as it was about personal stuff. Having been brought up a good Catholic girl in a fairly traditional family, I still have a little voice in my head that tells me I `should` be married, have five kids, have a house in the `burbs, a nice car and a better wardrobe. (I`m doing alright for shoes.) I look at my university friends with the big houses, fancy cars, and settled respectable lives and I sometimes feel like I haven`t quite become a grown-up yet. Never mind that I actually really like being single and shudder at the thought of small beings dependent on me, I still get hit by that version of not-keeping-up-with-the-Joneses (or, more specifically, my sister).

I coped with it by quitting my job (well, leaving it for a while) and running away to South America. It’s not for everyone, but it’s working for me 🙂

29 04 2010
Me

Thanks for the perspectives! Feeling much better now 😉
Mer, that line from Sheryl Crow was my motto for so many years. So true..
Would love to get out of this city too someday.
Carol, I like the way you cope…I’ve been reading and loving what you are writing!

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