On being OK with being OK…

I had a long and lovely lunch today with a true and trusted friend whom I love. (How pleasingly alliterative that sentence was!) I wasn’t my usual, fizzy self: I often find, that once the truly joyous bit of Christmas is over -giving to my little ones and making sure they have a wonderful day- and the new year draws closer, I become somewhat brooding and retrospective. I ask myself where I am going, what I want from the coming year and dwell perhaps a little too much on what I don’t have and would like. For me, this isn’t about material possessions: I am not lusting after new cars, or bigger houses, but rather examining the quality and quantity of my relationships with others. Having been through an incredibly heart wrenching break-up/make-up scenario with my partner over the last few years, a drama which continues to play out, wreaking havoc with my emotions, I found myself crying into my wine on Christmas night, having seen on Facebook that a guy I once dated has just got engaged. He, and his intended, looked so happy that I fell into a well of self-pity that I just couldn’t seem to clamber out of. Why, I asked myself, is my happy ever after taking so long to arrive?

I poured all of this out to my beautiful friend, who after a few rough years, finally got her happy ever after when she married her partner, and father of her equally beautiful son, last year. Her response surprised me: she told me that she had been grumpy and touchy over Christmas too, which had impacted on her partner and was now making her feel a bit guilty. Oddly, this grumpiness was also bound up with a Facebook induced disgruntlement: she noticed that an old school friend of hers had posted a picture of her and her husband on the impressive veranda of their new home, in Africa. When her husband, a steady and pragmatic man known as Bear, who is not prone to flights of fancy, returned from work, she greeted him with, ‘I think we should move to Africa, or France, or get a place out in the country, miles from anywhere.’ His reply? – a simple but effective ‘No’. It sounds like a rather terse response, but he knows her so well, and loves her better. He is her ballast in the stormy sea of life, and while she wanders around looking for the next challenge, the next achievement, and the next celebration and paints all her experiences with high visibility gloss, he is understated and hard-working: for him, things don’t have to be amazing, they just have to be good enough.

When we had finished laughing, we explored our disgruntlements together over a glass of vino, and came to some rather enlightening conclusions: Facebook can be depressing ( so different from the wonderful warts and all human warmth I have encountered on WordPress), it doesn’t represent reality (tsetse fly, malaria, droughts, snakes- beautiful friend is NOT an intrepid girl), it can bring out the worst in human nature- jealously and feelings of inadequacy and finally and perhaps most importantly, that my beautiful friend has to stop believing that life should turn out like an 80s movie, that she is addicted, as am I, to overachieving and being seen to be doing well, and making everything amazing, instead of just, well, nice or good enough and that this doesn’t lead to happiness or contentment. Perhaps, Mr Bear has it right? I think that is, unconsciously, part of the reason she married him.

My New Year resolutions: to start my new job as I mean to go on, by being good enough, and not spectacular; (another down side of expecting so much from life, is the way in which you punish yourself, and others when it doesn’t live up to expectation: my friend is a teacher, and if she takes one less than enthralling class, she feels utterly inadequate and useless); to count my blessings every day, and narrativise my life, and the lives of others, in ways which do not leave me feeling inadequate and depressed. Is my happy ever after already here? – But, because I am convinced other people are having a better one, or it doesn’t match the one in my head, I can’t see it. Maybe I had it and it didn’t last because there is no such thing. But I have two beautiful kids, a wonderful family, a new job, a nice home and a friend like beautiful friend, whom I can pour my heart out to and who understands. In 2014, I am resolved to count my blessings.

Her New Year resolutions: to stop painting everything with high visibility gloss (she started this one straight away by admitting that the spa we went to before lunch was, not amazing if it had been a bit hotter, but shit because it was cold and that the lunch was not amazing, but just really nice and then squealed about liberating it felt to tell the truth!) We decided that from now on, amazing will be reserved for weddings, births and the like and coined a phrase, deciding that we need to learn to be OK with being OK. Not amazing, not brilliant, but…well, OK.

I love beautiful friend: she called me later and thanked me for an ‘amazing day’.  Oops.

13 Comments

Filed under General, Musings on Life, Personal Growth

13 responses to “On being OK with being OK…

  1. This is “amazing” . No, really. I mean it. This is a lovely personal piece of writing. I enjoyed it very much. I feel like I had a chance to sit and talk to a wonderful friend. Thanks for writing this.

    Do you know that one of the hardest things about moving to France has been the loneliness? Other than my tight little family of four, we know absolutely no one. And everyone around us speaks French while I stumble along always learning and never pronouncing anything right.. I have a head full of ideas that I have to shove through the narrow funnel of French words I have at my disposal. I get lots of puzzeled looks and a few polite inquiries about where I’m FROM but no friends. People have their own lives here as everywhere.

    If you have a girlfriend you can talk to, you have a treasure better than gold.

    Happy New Year.
    Alice

    • Agreed Alice: she is a treasure and I’m lucky to have her. I’m sorry to hear that the trade off for your life of peace is loneliness. It can take a while to build new networks of friends and this will happen I’m sure as your language skills build. You know, learning a new language is a fascinating adventure: my Spanish sister in law told me that she feels like a different person when she speaks English. I wonder who French Alice will be? ;-)

      • Being lonely (outside my lovely family) is a small price to pay. Then there are wonderful writers to get to know through the blog-zone.

        Your sister-in-law makes a very good point about language and identity. I thought this was only happened with France and the French language.

        Yes. I feel like a different person when I speak French than when I speak English. When movies are dubbed in French, the entire character and feel of the show shifts for me.

        I’ve read that becoming “French” is a francophone transition . One must speak the language to be considered French. Race, color or national origin matters much less here than in the U.S.. But speaking the language matters more.

        Perhaps this is only the way this feels as an outsider coming in.

        I wonder who I will become next. too. :-)
        Alice

      • Whoever French Alice turns out to be, I’m pretty sure she’ll be magnificent :-)

      • I’m looking forward to this. :-)

  2. Hey face. I had a therapist once who taught me that good enough was good enough. That striving for perfection only leads to disappointment.
    It’s not just Facebook. The media, magazines, film etc all present us with life at full volume, and ours feel dull and quiet in comparison. If we can step back we will often find that quiet noise is actually beautiful music.
    May your next year be good enough :D

  3. Three times I tried to write my comment on my IPad – and it failed. This is what I mean about keep it going until you are happy! This is a write from your heart and gut and I thank you for your openness and honesty. You are lucky to have such a beautiful friend in life and your phrase of learning to be OK with being OK is wonderful, just add I am happy within my skin for what I have in life..and if more happiness finds me, I shall be even happier. You are riding the waves of emotions and I am paddling alongside of you. Can I tell you my sweet, I was not truly happy in my life till 6 years ago when I met Mr. S – (at the age of 52). Relationships came and went..but they do for a reason. We hold on, we love, we let go until one day it all falls into place before you even realising ~ smiles. With you new job, there will be new people, learning to adjust how you worked, will take a bit to get used to – but I have every confidence in you. Stay away from FB and the like – full of comments and photos that perhaps aren’t even real. I wish you nothing but happiness lovely, now and in the New Year ahead.,,and as I’m said I’m a good listener ;-) A lovely post xxx

    • Bless you rambly- this is lovely and I’m glad you have found your happiness- it inspires me to think I can and will find mine. Have a wonderful New Year. Speak soon. Hugs xx

      • you will find yours – I have no fear.
        Life changes within seconds and we must remember to be happy within ourselves and who we are…this in turn draws others to us. You will have an amazing 2014 and I can’t wait to get to know you even more. You are special and well I am glad I met you..just sayin’ :-) x

      • Awww, this is turning into a shameful love fest and mutual appreciation society! He he he…Happy New Year beautiful lady…x

  4. I agree completely with Rambly. I dumped FB long ago and have never missed it – it’s all about appearance and lacks any sort of depth. I, too, found the love of my life very late – just married him in August. Part of it was that I just wasn’t ready – I had lots of stuff to sort through and I needed to grow into myself and accept myself. My husband, M, like me, had several failed relationships and we agree that we each had some self-examination to do. This is breathtakingly trite, but there will be someone! So lovely to read your posts again. :)

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