Do you remember the day when Hurricae Ophelia hit the October before last and the sky turned orange and the sun turned red? Well I’m writing this on that day (though no doubt I’ll edit it and make it a bit more coherent in a few days time! (edit: a year and a half later!)). It was the most bizarre kind of day – the clouds were a dark steely grey, yet there was not a drop of rain. The sun was red and the sky was pink like sunset, yet it was noon, and the wind brought down any leaves or branches that were dead or dying. It was no wonder many people had thoughts of the apocalypse occurring. As I reached the top of the hill on our dog walk, I had a bit of an epiphany……
(Sentimentality alert!:) (And another warning: this post gets a bit deep and tragic I’m afraid.) If the whole of human-kind died that day, and I spent the last moments with my family, I would be quite happy at the end of my life. My only sadness would be that my children wouldn’t get to live enough of theirs. But I’ve been fortunate enough to live a happy, comfortable, and loving childhood and adulthood and have two of the most adorable and wonderful people in my life that I am very proud to have as my daughters, and a husband who is kind and loves me. Why then, have I spent much of the last few years crying in depression over the state of my life?
I haven’t talked about this on my blog or on my YouTube channel before, nor even to anyone in real life apart from Chris, and quite frankly, I don’t particularly want to now. But for the last few years I’ve been having a bit of a mid-life crisis. Not the fun kind when you buy a stupid but gorgeous car and risk everything on a torrid exciting affair; but sadly, the kind where I go over and over the fact that my life has been a complete and utter failure and if I died right now, I wouldn’t have achieved anything or done anything successful.
So this is the thing: why would I die happy if everyone was going to die right now? And why would I die depressed, if I was the only one to die right now? As far as I can tell, it comes down to this: ego.
Generally speaking (ie. not just for me) there is a lot of pressure in our lives to be successful. There is a lot of emphasis on working hard and killing it. There is an expectation (maybe particularly for us grammar school kids) to pick a career and do well at it; rise to the top of the game. I’m gradually coming to terms with the fact that this isn’t my story. Maybe it never will be or maybe it is still to come.
But what does it matter? I mean, really? I am SO fucking lucky to have what I have. The things I mentioned above are what is really important. So what if I’m in my middle years and still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up; let alone be any good at it? Who really cares if we don’t actually manage to hashtag girlboss and hustle our way through life? Only our egos.
So yeah, I guess this blog post is giving myself a bit of a talking to, as well as hopefully spreading a little positive message to enjoy the important things in life and ignore our ego. There’s no need to let it get us down.
Edit: Eighteen months after writing this post I’m finally publishing it – probably because it isn’t such a sensitive subject for me any more. I’m in a much happier, positive place right now and have more-or-less come to terms with what hasn’t worked out for me career-wise and am more relaxed about it. I still remember that day clearly though – it was such a strange atmosphere outside – all the wildlife knew something was up, and you couldn’t help your thoughts getting a bit deep. It really brought home what is more valuable in life. So yes, comparison may well be the thief of joy, but so are our egos. Let both go and we can be a lot happier.