Friday 6 August 2021

The Easy Life?

We all want an easy life, but what exactly is that and is it really a thing? Does an easy life really exist? It's something I've been pondering on for a while now. This is in part down to a phrase my Mum uses regularly, and partly down to the fact that I am a self confessed over thinker! I really wish I weren't. It drives me quite mad at times (literally on occasion), but it can also give me an insight into things I don't understand (make sure you learn something new everyday) or more often, it gives me an insight into me, who I am and how I process things. However, as always and true to myself, I have gone completely off-track. 

woman in hammock overlooking mountain view

The phrase that triggered this particular bout of overthinking is one which many people probably use, 'It's just one thing after another.' Not a long sentence. Most folk would probably use it as a throw away comment to have a bit of a gripe, but one which nevertheless set my brain into overdrive. You see, I'm not sure life is supposed to be easy. And, what I might consider to be easy, you may not.

So as you can clearly see, my brain is a bit of minefield, my thought processes are a bit screwy and it often goes off on a weird tangent before returning to the original thought. Trust me, it's never boring in my head! Needless to say, the next thing to pop into my head were lions! I did warn you, but bear with me, this does kind of make sense (I think). 

two lions with mountain in the background

My point is lions do not have an easy life. No wild animal does, but I have never heard a lion complain that their favourite food wasn't available when they wanted it, or indeed, that they've had to go out and chase their food down, which may not even result in a meal, because sometimes dinner gets away. OK, so now I've written it down it doesn't look that relevant, but when you also think about the fact these animals have to deal with the obstacles we humans put in their way (hunting, destruction of their habitat and climate change) perhaps they should complain. 

Many of the things we complain about are just life happening. Some of those things we can control, some we can't, but if things always went right for us we would never have the opportunity to grow and learn. We wouldn't be able to use our experiences to help others.


 I really do believe that is what we are supposed to do, learn and then be there for our friends and family when they are having a tough time. Some people will need more help than others, but if I have learnt anything over the last few years, it's that even those people who appear to have things easy, don't. You never know what is going on behind closed doors, or what someone's head is telling them. Just because someone is confident and smiling, just because they seem to have all the things we ourselves might like to have, doesn't mean they really have an easy life. They may be caring for a relative, or battling with an illness themselves. They may be having difficulties at work, or perhaps their marriage is in tatters. Life is not easy, no matter who you are or what you do, or do not have!

I think, sometimes, those of us who write blogs and post on social media don't help. We need to be more honest and open. I scroll through Instagram and I see so many posts depicting 'perfect lives.' My feed is full of bright, showhome worthy rooms, Michelin star worthy food photos, chocolate box cottages and clean, smiling children in the most photo perfect outfits. I don't know about you, but I don't know anyone who has a home that looks quite so perfect, and at least one of my girls constantly had food down her. What we sell as our 'brand' on social media isn't always the whole truth, it is exactly that, a 'brand;' but would people like content less if we showed them a less than perfect life. If we explained the perfect house photo by admitting that actually, before this photo was taken the dog threw up on the carpet, which made the cat jump and run, knocking over the vase of flowers (which if you could see the back of, you'd see now has a massive chip) and don't mention how long it took to clean all of that up! My hunch is, you'd get a whole lot more likes.

Life isn't easy, nor is it supposed to be. Easy is also like 'normal,' a perception. At school I found maths very difficult, I spent many hours crying over equations etc, but I did find French easy. You may not have done. For some adults, filling out a form is just an easy piece of paper to get out of the way, for others it is overwhelming. Of course, for all of us there are things that make life very difficult and cause stress, things we could genuinely do without, like an unexpected bill or a major health scare. These are not the things I'm talking about, but these are the things we need to be ready to help others with in whatever way we are able. The things I'm talking about are the little things. The things we think will make our lives easier, but which in reality, would only temporarily fill a gap. 

I wonder if perhaps, what we really want is a simple life. A life where kindness, empathy and friendship abound. A life where we look out for one another.  A life where we don't walk away when we see someone is struggling, but we pick them up and walk with them. A life where we learn from one another, rather than judging one another. A life where we are all a little more honest and open about our lives and the struggles we face, rather than trying to project an image we think the world wants to see.

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