Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Versions

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.

I love keeping up with old friends. Facebook is how I connected with my Gentleman. It's also caused arguments and frustrations. I've noticed, unfortunately, that it makes me depressed sometimes too.

Because of Facebook, I get to see what my friends are up to. And I get to compare their lives to mine.

I get to see the many different versions of how my life could be.

***

First, there are those two friends that are living the rock star life I was supposed to be living.

One is a high school friend whose band played at my sweet 16 birthday party. Then, senior year, I sang for my own band and we competed against each other. He is in a well-known rock band now, living the rock star life, traveling the world and meeting famous people.

Then there's my other friend, the one who managed the first band I sang for, here in Dallas. She's continued managing bands and now has her own Indie record label.

That should be me.

***

Even if my rock star dreams didn't come true, there is still the perfect married family that I could have had.

She is a successful business woman, married to a handsome man who provides for and adores her. They have two children, are active together, eat organically, live earth friendly, spend good quality family time together and are smiling and in love throughout it all. To hit even closer to home, she lives on the same street as the dream house my husband and I shared when we were married.

It seems that she is living the life I should be living...

***

So, my marriage didn't work out and now I find myself in a loving, long distance relationship with a high school classmate. He's my best friend. We want to be together however, we both have children and exes who live in our respective towns. We both share custody of our children.

And yes, even THAT has been resolved for another couple I know on Facebook. Two of our high school classmates have found each other and reconnected across the miles. Two single parents. She moved back to Louisiana and they were married over the weekend. Their kids stood with them as they said their vows. He declared that she was the "woman of his dreams" and she declared that she's "linked forever. incredibly happy. totally in love."

*sigh*

***

"When you stop comparing what is right here and now with what you wish were, you can begin to enjoy what is."
~ Cheri Huber

I realize that comparing myself, my body, my financial status, my life, my ANYTHING to others is the worst thing I can do. I do know this. Still I can't help but sigh deeply when I observe these people, from my computer screen, and wonder why it isn't me.

However... what I see on Facebook is MY perception. Is it the truth?

My friend, the rock star? On the outside, he lives an awesome life. I also know a few things that aren't so awesome. But... it's part of the lifestyle.

The perfect married couple? I lived in that neighborhood. I know that what's on the outside is what matters most. I also know some of the ugliness behind the beautiful giant doors and gorgeous facades. Perhaps I don't know their whole story.

Who knows what my high school girlfriend went through to move herself and her children back to Louisiana? Maybe she's never had support from her ex? Maybe this is a brand new start for her.

I don't wish bad on any of these people, I just have to remind myself that we all have battles. We all have different stages of life. We all have versions we thought we'd be living.

If I were the rock star, I'd never have met my husband and started a family. I wouldn't have my baby girls who make me smile so big and learn so much.

If I had the perfect family in my dream house, I wouldn't be in this amazing relationship with the kindest gentleman who loves me like I've never been loved before. I may have never felt the strength that's developed in my life as a single mom.

I don't know what's next with me, with my life... I can't keep looking back and asking, "Why?" or "What if?" My mind can't look beyond what happened in the past and is even judging the present based on the past!

It is up to me to create my own happiness by accepting what is in this very moment. If I can accept the now, let go of the past, and allow the future to unfold, I could create something greater than I ever imagined.

It is up to me, to borrow my friend Morgan's phrase, to enjoy "happily ever NOW".

But sometimes, I think Facebook should go eff off.

"If you are suffering in your life right now, I guarantee that this condition is tied up with some kind of attachment to how you think things SHOULD be going."
~ Wayne Dyer

15 comments:

  1. When I see posts like that, I take it as inspiration. Yes, there is a brief sting, but I enjoy viewing other people's lives and seeing how they have thrived. It's certainly better than the people who complain about how their life sucks. I feed off of others' happiness. It expands my own.

    Plus, as you so wisely said, your life happened for a reason, to give you the contrast that you needed to find what you have found. We all come to the present in our own way. And as the Dyer quote shows, there is no "thing" that you could attain that would make you happy. It's the lessons that you have learned and your relationship with yourself that make you happy.

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  2. Wow. Do I understand this. At the same time, whenever I think about how different my life could have been or should have been, I remember that I wouldn't change anything about where I am now. I couldn't risk choices that would mean I don't have my kids or this wonderful man in my life.

    But I totally try to stay away from getting too involved with Facebook. ;)

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  3. Hey T, totally understand the love hate aspect of facebook as I feel the same at times, but I remind myself of two things. Firstly, I am only seeing what they post on their facebook, no one (well no one with any decorum and sense) would post about the raging blue they've just had with their husband, or the very ugly photo from the last camping trip when its been 3 days since your last shower or your hairs been brushed; so I am only seeing the prettiness of their life and not the rest. And secondly, my heavy load is another persons basket of wishes. I grumble about the kids being messy, noisy etc, and then think of my friend who would give anything just to have a child that she could grumble about. Or I complain about my job, but I know I'm grateful I have one. What is that old saying - if everyone threw their troubles into a great big pile so we could see everyone's life issues, we would happily take our own bundle back in an instant.

    Great post though, having facebook to thank for my current relationship as well, I am grateful for the connection!

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  4. I sometimes feel able to be a bit more honest here (with you, in these comments) than what I might be on my blog or on my FB because of quasi-anonymity and the fact that your readers don't really intersect with mine (many of whom know me in real life).

    But on the outside...up until VERY recently, I was that perfect married person you describe.

    Both my husband and I practiced law, had a new son, still traveled alot internationally, have a larger home, new Jeep, etc.

    What people didn't know is that my husband was horribly depressed, my mother was undergoing YET MORE cancer treatment and we fought about money/sex/marriage CONSTANTLY. Some of my close friends knew....but it's not exactly something I discussed on FB...or even on my blog, at the time.

    The veneer on our life has cracked slightly in the past year....my husband is no longer working, people know about my mother's treatments and I've admitted to counselling for both myself and my marriage.

    But FB didn't portray any of that....and if my old friends perused the albums I posted, the descriptions of our latest trip to Spain, our new Jeep, our dinner parties....you would only be getting a small portion of the picture, one that is not only incomplete...but probably a lie.

    I think this happens more often than you think. I'm working on finding the right balance between honesty and respecting other people's privacy. I think that's hard for most people, except you.

    PS - I think you are one of the most honest and purposeful people I've ever come accross. I am frequently inspired by your introspection and hard work. I come here for that specific reason. Too bad that kind of stuff doesn't show up on FB...as I suspect you'd have alot of people secretly being envious of your ability to dig so deep.

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  5. Natalie, you are too kind. Thank you for that comment. You made me smile really big this morning!

    You all do leave the best comments! I'm so glad I'm not alone in feeling these things! Thank you for continuing to inspire me.

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  6. I love what Natalie said too and I agree that most people only put their best them out for people to see.
    I also agree with the fact that you would be supprised at how many people envy you my friend!

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  7. It's so true...FB portrays life so peachy, yet in reality, it's not always so great. But it DOES make you believe it and then the comparing starts...I *totally* get that and agree. Hard to take it with a grain of salt when you feel so unsure about your next steps...

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  8. I've SO BEEN THERE...just remember people post happy things on FB and leave out the miserable hard stuff. I betcha a million bucks their lives have as much crap in them as yours. BUT having said that...I have had the jealousy monster kick in a time or two. When that happens I just shut it off. :P Good to meet you!

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  9. Yes...a friend of mine reminds me a lot that people post what they want you to see. I often have to remind myself that envy has no purpose and just because someone else has something I want/went somewhere I wanted to go/etc. does not affect me in any way--my life is no different because of it.

    Oh, Wayne Dyer--must you be right again?

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  10. Funny, I was just redirected back to this post: http://lifesclassroom.blogspot.com/2010/12/embracing-my-inner-bitch-for-my.html.... where even I wrote "I only post on FB what I want them to see."

    Ah... if only I could listen to myself.

    And yes, Allison, Dr. Dyer is always right, isn't he? :)

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  11. T, you have the best commenters. I learn so much from them and you. Love the quotes!

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  12. Facebook is like blogging in many ways - we only see what people want us to see. Usually what's going on behind the scenes is a whole different...

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  13. Oh, how funny--that was the post where you talked about the Korean spa and I went back to comment...obviously for another reason! I didn't even realize.

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  14. As I was reading this, I was also thinking, "I bet those people's lives aren't perfect." And then you got to that part. I'm not sure I've ever met anybody that doesn't have some kind of struggle. But I get what you mean. Facebook can be all parts of good and evil. It can cause reconnections, but it can also cause fights and moments of feeling left out. And the judging can suck pretty badly too.

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  15. Oh T, how true, how true ... I think it's really healthy to remind yourself that what see on the outside is never what it really is.

    Enjoy your weekend,

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