Reading an email from a long-time friend back east and the struggles he is enduring, I was surprised to find him refer to it as “my presently difficult life.” In all the years we have known each other, through a lot of ups and downs, I have never heard him use this gloomy term to describe what is going on in his life. And of course it go me thinking … and blogging about it.
Would you ever describe your life as “difficult?” Is it temporary or just a normal state of affairs? Is it because of choices you have made or circumstances thrust upon you? Would you classify it as difficult or is it in comparison to others around you?
In the case of my dear old friend, he continues to financially resolve his divorce and is a single dad with primary physical and legal custody, and his father recently passed away after fighting the good fight with cancer. The latter is devastating, but as an only child with a mother who has never worked outside the home and is rather dependent … it’s an issue. He was raised in the greater NYC area and has moved about 5 hours south – to a saner cost of living area – and juggling caring for his mother and his children and himself is challenging.
In this case it is circumstance-based difficult. Logistics of a surviving, dependent parent. Settling a divorce. Children and their needs. Plus work. Leisure and time for himself? Nonexistent. Knowing him as I do, a day or two with no commitments and children away and cared for would do wonders for his disposition. I suggested (in complete seriousness) he schedule a week or two in California. Bring mom. Bring the kids. M and I would be happy to host and between the pool and other local attractions would find something to keep them all entertained. He’s a professionally trained chef and could sport his skills on my terrible cooktop (he is a stove snob and makes no apologies about it). It would be FUN! Hopefully he is thinking about it.
Our life is not that difficult. There are times when it seems more challenging, like I am juggling with 6 balls and keeping them all afloat is really little more that desperate wishful thinking. I also know it’s temporary, that everything I drop will be picked up, dusted off, and resolved to some conclusion. It is an imperfect process, and my acceptance of limitations (there are only 48 hours in a single weekend after all) makes it easier to prioritize and plan appropriately. Sometimes I am disappointed with myself. Sometimes I am the one doing the disappointing to someone else. But that’s life. We cannot always get what we want, and there are definitely times when we do not get all we need. Somehow we get by, though.
I have an overflowing list of work-related things to accomplish this weekend, and come Monday morning they will be all done. Laundry, dishes, cooking, bill-paying, bank reconciling? Maybe not so much. Or M will do more of it as well as the landscaping he’s working on and the hobby car parts he’s eager to play with. There is not a lot of line items for “fun” on my agenda, but I am okay with that. And since I know I have at least enough clothes to get through Monday next week, I will be fine if the laundry continues to pile up. But it won’t. I may not get it folded and put away, but I will get it washed and dried. Because I’m thinking about it right now. And it will make me happy, feel good to get this one little household chore done.
So I am off to get to it. Live my not-very-difficult life. With extreme gratitude and hope for others I know who struggle.
Happy weekending, everyone.