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.

2 thoughts on “A difficult life

  1. I have a nasty habit of comparing my life to others & thinking I have it so hard.

    Growing up, I was tormented for my appearance. Really cruel teasing… ‘Fuck, you’re ugly!’ type-comments. But I managed OK. I had a loving home life, I excelled in school & had lots of friends. However, there was a stretch of about 2.5 years that were particularly challenging.

    In 2010 I juggled wedding planning + marriage, graduating college, job hunting, moving, & a mentally taxing job. In early 2011 my Mom died unexpectedly. I was 24 & an only child. I handled all the logistics of the funeral; Dad was too distraught. I also taught him how to handle the finances since Mom did everything electronically. I fell into a state of depression. My Mom was the person I loved & relied on most. My marriage started crumbling (at the time I didn’t realize it). In 2012, my ex walked out. Quit his job, dropped out of college/blew his student loan $, bought a new motorcycle, & started relations with another woman while telling me we were still working on things. That was a particularly dark 4 months. After the divorce was finalized I started climbing out of the darkness. I made some great strides.. started a new relationship with a man I trust & respect. I landed a new job I love. I took two vacations by myself. I cared for my dog & developed my photography skills.

    I still have challenges.. painful & expensive dental issues, cleaning up my finances [from the divorce], & helping my grandmother since my Mom is gone.

    But I’m getting better at realizing such is life. I believe everything in life happens when & how it should, and I’m learning to trust in the Universe, even if I never do understand why certain things happen. It’s not so much what happens, but how we react. Easier said than done, but I’m working on it.

    1. TLC, just from the short period I’ve been following your journey, you’re doing GREAT! It’s very difficult sometimes to just admit we have a problem – that we’re being bullied or mistreated or that our life is particularly imperfect right now. Since I have been blogging I’ve found myself appreciating my/our better qualities of compassion and generosity, while at the same time realizing I have absolutely nothing worthwhile to whine about in the bigger picture. But I’m human, have bad days, and recognize that my own imperfection is also not that bad or that horrible and it’s okay to whine and complain sometimes. Being a work in progress is not the easiest thing to accept, but it seems a whole lot more restful and satisfying than fighting and trying to pretend otherwise. Just saying – working on it is GOOD.

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