I watched her walking across the parking lot. She strode confidantly to her SUV. Her arms were loaded with 4 or 5 blue plastic tubs and locking lids she had just purchased in the store. She didn’t fumble in all of her pockets (and purse) for her keys. No, she just bumped her knee into a magical unlocking device and her back door opened effortlessly. Her fashionable athletic wear and salon hair added to her air of accomplishment and confidence.
Obviously, she was taking her brand new, clean, plastic containers (with lids) home to organize her winter clothes. Or maybe, she was going to organize her kids rooms. She will fold and tuck everything into those tubs. They will be stacked neatly into her walk-in closet with working light(s). After happily organizing and cleaning her kids beautiful and whimsically decorated rooms, she will go downstairs to have lunch on her marble island. She will open her iPad and use her whole house wifi to send emails to her coworkers and girlfriends. She will have lunch at a cute cafe and pick up her children at school. Her husband is handsome and buys her flowers for no reason. He adores her and their life together.
I imagine all of this while I am sitting in my 15 year old car. It is a practical 4 door – well now it is technically a 2 door – since my 3 kids broke the door handles for both of the back doors. Now, my kids and dogs have to climb over the front seats with their muddy shoes and paws to sit in a jumbled chaotic mess in the back seat. I was crying into my phone when I saw her. My debit card was maxed out and I was unable to purchase the groceries we needed. I don’t know what I thought Customer Service could do for me, but I needed to vent. I watched her, with those new plastic tubs, being so organized and pretty. I felt jealousy and envy and then a mixture of anger and resentment followed by sadness and self pity. She was living my life – I should be driving a big SUV. I should have well lit closets and a marble island in my kitchen. Instead, I am trying to figure out which cheap starchy carbohydrate will be the main course for dinner. My kids wear the clothes that her kids grew out of and then donated to the Thrift Store. My “husband” is running around like he is an unmarried 25 year old fool.
We all have those moments. Moments when we wonder how we got to this place. We started out going in a certain direction and then invariably we end up going in a different direction. Sometimes, the change in direction is a welcome transition and sometimes it is a hardship we have to deal with. No matter how your life turned around or what direction you are going in, we always wonder how things could be different if only…
This much I know. I have lived long enough to know that every situation is temporary. Good times and bad times are just temporary moments. The day will come when I am unlocking a vehicle that all doors work properly. I will buy bags and bags of groceries. And I will be watched by someone else that is having a bad day.
Reprieve. Allow yourself a reprieve from daily life. It’s OK to daydream about an alternate life in a parallel universe that you wish you were living. But, after a brief reprieve from the grind of daily life, come back to your reality. If the reality is not going in the direction you intended, then it is a perfect time to change lanes and get off the turnpike you are travelling.
Remember, someone is watching you.