A few days ago while having morning coffee with a friend and having a light conversation, I learned a valuable lesson.
While scrolling through her instagram feed, Anita had come across a two days old message from Paula, an old pal from high school. The message read:
Weekend girl’s trip to the bay, just a little get together. Thought I’d let you know.
Anita jumped at the opportunity to spend the day with a bunch of people she called her friends, who in all aspects she saw were better than her, one would say people who were competely out of her league, notheless she felt it necessary for her reputation and most importantly her confidence. A ridiculous idea, I thought. It was almost as if these people had given her the very breath in her lungs. She was adamant she had to get the necessary funds for the cross country trip to the bay. She could have easily refused to go, no one would hold it against her, except herself ofcourse. I felt she was being irrational, and I’ve known her long enough to know that she’s very impulsive.
In that moment as she said the words to me , I tried to talk her out of it, but with no success.
That little message made me come to a big realisation, that Anita never felt like she belonged, she always yearned to have more, more opportunities to see the world with her friends, more chances to be the perfect friend to everyone, more money to afford a ridiculously expensive cross country trip, more of what she thought would give her the ideal lifestyle.It broke my heart just a little, but it also made me realise that in the world we live in today, those who are not strong enough to have an element of individuality and live up to it are robbed of their happiness by others who appear to have it all, and yes I said ‘appear’, because truth be told most of them don’t, but they’ve learned to be completely content with what they have and have not traded it for idealistic lives that could only exist in their thoughts.
I myself was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, nor did I have it easy in the beginning, but I’ve always appreciated what I had, because for me that was my only source of happiness. Sure, I was open to the idea of a future full of opportunites and possibilities, but I never once entertained the idea of my parents owning a mansion. I always believed that what I had no one else could have, and what they had I could never have. In other words whatever idealistic lifestyle I created in my mind would always remain just that, a thought. It could never be mine.
Those were the exact same words I said to dear Annie that morning. At first she wouldn’t let go of what she believed was a once in a lifetime chance for her to get a little taste of “the good life”. She saw a non-existent threat to her own happiness in the lives of the students who could afford private college education and an oh so fabulous trip to the bay, because that was her ideal lifestyle. In her mind she saw herself living that life. In reality there was no threat to her happiness. The rich could co-exist with the poor, and each one’s happiness would be completely independent of the others.
What remains when you strip yourself of everything you had? Nothing, and it hurts to have nothing. You could never live someone else’s life. The life you idealise so much is not yours. It could never be yours.