Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The grass is always greener

Thank you all so much for your comments on my last post. I appreciate your advice and support more than I can express here.

As I was reflecting further yesterday on this coming weekend and on L's shower, I was reminded that I just need to keep things in the proper perspective. Sure, L is pregnant with a girl and isdue the same date I would have been had things gone a different direction for me. Yes, she is having an experience--a healthy pregnancy which will result in a baby--that I have not had and likely will never have. But someone will always have something that I don't have. (And I'm not even talking, really, about material things.)

The reverse is also true. Many is the time I have been the one who had something that a friend did not have, that she desperately wanted.

When I was a travel nurse before law school, I had a friend who was a SAHM to three children under 4 who envied me my freedom. (Side note: at that time, she felt very trapped in her situation. Her children are now older, she works part-time, and she divorced her husband. She feels better now.)

When I decided to leave nursing and go to law school, I can't even tell you the number of people I worked with who openly told me that they were envious of my career change. Many of them were well past the point of burnout and would have gladly changed careers, if their circumstances had allowed them to do so.

I know I have friends and relatives who are envious of my career. In this economic climate, there are probably people who envy the fact that I have a job at all, people who would be willing to do almost anything to get back into the workforce.

When I got married, I know that a couple of my single friends envied me. (Some of my married friends were envious that we got married on a beach on Hawaii and that we eloped and did our wedding "the easy way." I got a lot of "wow, we should have done that" from married/engaged people.) I know that a couple of my unmarried friends still envy my married state and yearn to be married themselves.

Throughout my life, when I have had good news to share, whether it was about a new nursing contract, being accepted to law school, getting my first "real" job as a lawyer, or getting married on Maui, I have not hesitated to share it with my friends or to celebrate. And truth be told, I almost never stopped to think that my happiness and success might somehow bring them pain. I expected my friends to be happy for me. . . . and the majority of the time, I believe that they were.

Why, then, should I expect anything different from my friend L? She isn't having a baby or allowing her sister-in-law to throw her a shower to make me uncomfortable or to lord it over me that she has been able to achieve a goal that has eluded me for almost two years. No, she is simply sharing her happiness with her friends and celebrating a very special event in her life. No different than what I have done in regard to every happy event that has occurred in my own life.

"It's not about me" will be my mantra on Saturday. I will act happy for my friend, not only because it is the right thing to do, the only thing to do, but because I am genuinely happy for her, despite my own pain. I will make the day about L and her husband and their baby girl, as it should be.

I will try to remember that there will always be someone who has something I don't have that I desperately want. And that's OK.

Oh, and I will also spend the majority of the shower with my single childless girlfriends and avoid the pregnancy/labor/babies talk as much as possible.

ETA: I did get her a gift from her registry; MM and I made a quick in-and-out trip to Babies R Us just before it closed after dinner one night last week. I stuck to bedding to lessen the "ooh, it's so cute!!" factor.


  1. What a remarkable perspective. You're so right, of course (although it still might sting!) I'm very proud of you and will be thinking of you this weekend.

  2. What a good, refreshing (just what I needed) post. You're right. While it's so easy for me to get stuck in the WHY ME? state, I know there are people who are envious of my life.

    Did I tell you I'm an attorney also? I think I'm one of those who wants a career change. I wonder daily what I was thinking when I went to law school. I SO should've been a kindergarten teacher. ;o)

  3. Such a great perspective! It's sort of funny to think about, but I remember being really upset when my friends were getting married and I wasn't. I wanted to so badly, and it was upsetting. A friend and I ended up getting married and divorced around the same time, and it was probably hard for her when I got remarried.

    I'll be thinking of you this weekend! Those are never easy.

    ~ http://tryingagian.blogspot.com/


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