I feel guilty that this is my life.
It’s a strange feeling, and one I’m able to ignore about 90% of the time. But there are still those moments when I’m walking home from the cafe after my regular 8-3 workday or sipping brews on the porch afterward that I feel it.
I feel guilty for loving it this much. Especially now, because it’s not currently an “adventure” per se. It’s just a normal little life where I wake up and eat some oatmeal and go serve tables at a cafe. And then I’ll read or write or go drink beers at Mulligans with some cool people and do it all again the next day. And like, there’s nothing special about that. I could have this life anywhere. But I’m not, I’m having it here, and I love having it here, and the awesomeness of that should be it. End of story. But it’s not, because there are times when you feel like you should be wanting more, and you should be using your time better, and you shouldn’t be this happy doing what you’re doing. Which is weird, but true. And you feel bad that you uprooted your life and are “living the dream” and loving it so much because everyone else is telling you that their life is normal and the same, and if they aren’t raving about their normalness than you shouldn’t either.
So, instead of forcing yourself into a downward spiral of unhappiness, you simply play it down.
“Things are good!” you say when XX sends you a long message from home asking what’s new and how you’re doing. “Pretty normal. Chillin. Working. How are you?”
It’s fucked – but there’s a tiny part of you that feels like you aren’t allowed to have this life anymore. Like, sure. You took a big leap and posted some cool Insta pics and everyone said they thought you were really brave and interesting. And it was fun! But it’s been long enough now. ⅓ of the year has passed, and life has gone on as usual, and it feels unlikely to think that people still care about this. That people still think you’re brave and interesting. Instead you assume they’re over it, and think you should be over it too. Like, we get it. You’re in a different country and you seem to enjoy it there. Whatever, baby.
You also feel guilty because you yourself genuinely think your life is that interesting. Like, the fact you got up the other day and had the ability to go skydiving at the drop of a hat and the fact you have a really comfy bed now where your morning view is literally a mountain and a pink sky, and the fact you’ve learned how to bake a carrot cake and who knew that’s what you would end up doing in NZ? Learning to bake a badass carrot cake? That’s SO COOL! And you are SO PROUD and you feel so happy and weird and good about yourself. But then you see someone else’s cool photo or wake up to a big reality check and you feel like a loser for thinking you’re actually that interesting. Everyone has their own, neat little life. Yours is nothing special. So, you feel guilty for thinking it was, and play it down even more because who the eff cares about your damn carrot cake.
But I mean, a) it was actually such an insanely good carrot cake and b) I’m in New Zealand baking a motha fuckinn carrot cake c) I feel so genuinely happy when I think about it. Which is so lame but so true. And I should be allowed to feel happy about a carrot cake even if no one else in the world (besides my mom) gives a shit. I mean, no, I don’t feel the need to post a photo of it with the caption ‘made a yummy carrot cake today #food #foodporn #MarthaStewartwho?’
But I do think if living a normal, chilled-out, carrot cake life makes me this happy, this is a good thing and should be celebrated instead of weighing me down with guilt.
And perhaps this is the fundamental PROBLEM WITH SOCIETY, that we are trained to feel guilty for enjoying our seemingly meaningless lives because we think we should be doing more and striving for more and keeping in touch with more people. Because we are conditioned to caption our photos “it’s the little things” or some other beautiful/bullshit sentiment along those lines and then judge its merit by how many likes it got, which is the polar opposite of what we just said about it. Because we are constantly comparing our lives to everyone elses’ and feeling like ours aren’t enough – and the second we think maybe it is enough – maybe it’s more, even – we feel lame for thinking that this is what it’s all about. That when our entire Facebook feed got engaged this weekend, we’re this over-the-moon about a mother fucking cake.
So NOW, you’re stuck in this weird limbo of simultaneously feeling embarrassed for your dumb, pathetic life and feeling insanely guilty because you really do think your life is this big cool overseas adventure that other people aren’t having.
You are literally forcing yourself to decide whether or not to be happy instead of just being something.
So, I think my point is this (and it’s a point I’ve tried to make a million times before but obviously failed at doing because I’m still feeling these things).
We are allowed to be happy about whatever the fuck we want to be happy about. We are allowed to be this happy even if our lives aren’t that interesting. We are allowed to feel however we want to feel. And we shouldn’t feel guilty for loving our lives regardless of whether we’re loving it because it’s genuinely a crazy, bombin’ adventure or because we are just really happy about having a big comfy bed.
It doesn’t matter.
If doesn’t fucking matter.
Let’s drop the guilt and just be happy when we want to be and figure out how to change it when we’re not. It’s that simple (I mean sometimes. I get that it’s not always that simple. But in its most basic form, quite often it can be).
As for me, wrapping this post up just in time to pull another #MarthaStewartWho?