Sorry, there really isn’t a tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) version.
You don’t have to read it, it’s really ok. Just putting it out there into the world. Your choice to read or not.
There are all these lives I don’t live. Sure, I could get all wrapped up in talking about reality/multiple realities, discussing the different careers and passions I could pursue…but I’ve had this conversation with myself too many times before and the outcome is dumb. That would be talking about different lives within the framework I already have.
What I’m really talking about here is other types of frameworks altogether. And before I begin, I just want to say that I do not intend this to be a talk about understanding how fortunate one is and being charitable and generous. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a lovely topic, but it’s not the thought I’m trying to bring out here.
So what I really mean to discuss is the realization of the reality that there are other types of lives that I have never and most likely never will live.
I am wealthy, loved, protected; I am reasonably intelligent, I have been blessed with the opportunity to live many places and see many different people, and as a result I am very open-minded; I live a life many people never have the chance to come close to.
Sometimes it’s frustrating recognizing that. I have friends that could never afford the education I’ve had. I have friends and even family members that cannot be as open-minded. I know people who don’t feel loved, and I’ve seen people fall into dark places I am blessed to be able to avoid. And it’s so upsetting to know this: it’s like survivor’s guilt. I know these people personally, and I am better off than them in different ways.
(Please, oh please, whatever you do don’t think I’m bragging or whatever because I’m seriously so sad even writing this. This is not me trying to show off. This is me upset and hurt because life just is the way it is.)
For example, one particular friend of mine is going to a community college. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not equivalent to the education my brother and I are receiving. This friend also continually feels unloved, doesn’t feel good enough for anyone or anything. I’m blessed not to have that problem, but my empathy and guilt make it almost just as bad that I don’t. Almost. Nothing quite compares to personal darkness like that.
Another friend of mine has, in the past month, moved away from all their friends, had a seizure, and been hit by a car. They also made a trip to the unemployment office to “get some papers stamped.” I literally had to Google what that meant because I’ve never, ever had to experience anything like that, not to mention I’ve never had a seizure or been hit by a car. I have moved. But this isn’t a game of tit-for-tat “I’ve done this, you’ve done that.” I’m really, really saddened in that strange way that I’ve been fortunate and blessed enough to avoid these major events and downfalls.
Why is that? What makes me so special to not have to deal with these experiences, and why does it hurt me so much? And looking at the even bigger psychological picture, how to I reconcile my life and this recent realization? Finally, do those friends look at lives even worse off than theirs and have the same issue? That is, is this something everyone experiences in one form or another because all of this is relative? I’m tempted to say yes, but I just don’t know. This is such a strong feeling for me…I just don’t know.
Can anyone help? Or at least just read this and see my life. If not, at least it feels good to write it down and externalize it.
[Author’s note: the dashes and ellipses are there to visually separate the blocks of text.]
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.
I missed two days of daily thoughts. And so early in the process! I kept coming on Tumblr with this feeling I was supposed to be doing something, but I just wouldn’t remember. Anyway…
I’ve been thinking about some events from the past year…year and a half. Working through the situations, remembering what I said and how I contributed to the issues.
I did some things that were really not so great and out of my usual “character”. I look back and sort of mentally tell myself that I was an idiot. It’s starting to make me feel really melancholic…well, slightly.
But I’m really happy this is happening because I’m realizing that I don’t regret what I did. Not that some of the things I said and did weren’t hurtful, but I’ve moved on from all of it. It’s no longer this pressing weight of “You messed up real bad. Way to go! Even more than a year later you’re still so stupid and mean!” I don’t have to keep beating myself up about it all.
Now it’s just a memory. Passing thought, slipping around in my ever-active mind. Hah.
But of course now there’s new things to think about. Other people and situations to worry about, so it’s not like I’m just blissfully content with everything. But it’s ok. It’s all just ok. Life goes on.
Sometimes I like to pretend I’m mad at people over things that would never be an issue with them (e.g. socioeconomic status, appearance)…
…but then I have to remind myself that I’m not.
I’m such an actor (and I get so bored sometimes) that I get too much into the role!