Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Not always lollipops and rainbows

Husband and I were recently talking about blogs and how they often paint a distorted picture of reality. I had been commenting on how my wonderful sister-in-law's blog made life look so charming and fabulous, which it is, but that doesn't mean you don't have bad days. We all have them. Some people blog about it, but most of us don't.

It's only natural to share what you feel comfortable sharing with the cyber world because most of us don't share intimate details with our neighbors let alone people we don't know. Yet we do divulge a lot of details and create a world of perceived perfection.

So in an effort to dispel any illusions of my own perfection (not that I am aware of anyone thinking this about me or my life), I thought I would take a moment to point out a few things most people don't know.

I often feel mediocre. I am a jack of all trades and master of none. Can I play the piano? Sure, but not very well. Can't accompany. Can't hardly get the timing right. But I can read music. I keep thinking that someday I am going to get better but that's hard to do when you don't make the time to play. Can I play the guitar? Not really, but I own one and I can play a few notes on it. Again, I keep thinking I am going to learn and sing campfire songs with my children in the summer while out in nature. But that's even harder to do when I don't make the time to play the instrument I know how to play. Can I write? Some people think so. I used to think so, but now I am not so sure. Writing is a skill that is honed with practice and experience. I don't practice nearly enough, so I kind of suck at it right now. Can I run? Sure, but I'm average. I'm not awesome but I'm not terrible. Photography? Well, I used to be better, but then I used to make it a point to shoot every day. That doesn't happen anymore. So it begs the question of what I spend the majority of my time doing.

I am happy to report that I spend most of my time with JH or in the service of him and husband in the form of playing, cooking, cleaning, household management duties, etc. I think that is where my time should be spent at present and I enjoy it, but I keep looking for an extra hour or two in the day unclaimed by the mother and wife duties to work on some of these other interests. And here I sit in a quiet house (JH is sleeping peacefully in the other room), and I am blogging. I could be studying my personal training materials or practicing the guitar or writing my first screenplay, but I am blogging about all the things I am not doing. Ironic.

The other thing is I often compare myself to other people. I wish I were as smart as ______ or how can I be as creative and thoughtful as ________. Maybe someday I will be as fast as _____ or play the piano like ________. I wish I could teach my son sign language and have him reading by the age of 3, speaking in full sentences with an extensive vocabulary and running his first road race at 5, but let's get real.

I don't generally feel insecure or inferior around anyone, except one particular person and it's rather ridiculous because I happen to know that everyone is dealing with something. No one is perfect no matter what their blog may say. Who cares if I can't quote passages of literature or run a 6 minute mile or have a serious political debate or play the piano well enough that I could fill in in primary. How important is all of that? I have to keep telling myself that the most important thing I can do each day is make sure my son feels loved and develops his own sense of love and passion for living. He can't do that if I don't do that since he learns from observing those around him. The other most important thing is taking care of our home and our family, so that there is peace and joy abounding. Sounds simple, and maybe it is. But when my son is looking to me to pay attention and play with him and I look to the piano or the computer screen or my latest book obsession, I am sending the wrong message.

It is important to develop my talents and interests, and I do. But I have to accept I am not going to be Jon Schmidt or run a 6 minute mile or write like Charles Dickens... at least not right now. Not when there are other things that are more important in the long run. I am far from perfect. My life has its ups and downs, its good days and bad days. I have moments of weakness, insecurity and loneliness just like everyone else. But at the end of the day, I love my life. I love my husband and my son who make my world one of indescribable beauty and joy. If I never write my screenplay or learn to accompany on the piano or run a sub 3:30 marathon, it's ok. Because I am a mom, and I have done an Ironman and I think I have done some pretty awesome stuff so far in my 31 years. And there are at least 6 people who think I am pretty incredible.

And that folks is a little dose of reality.


Janice said...

You are a beautiful writer.

noelle regina said...

a much appreciate dose of it. i am often bothered by the dinner is on the table, my hair is perfectly coiffed, life is peaches and cream, i haven't frowned since 5th grade blogs that i find.

Brooke said...

Well said...and I think you are pretty incredible too!

Allison and Noah Riley said...

Plus, you bake a beautiful loaf of bread.

We're anxious to catch up with the three of you soon! We're back on June 15, let's aim for something very shortly thereafter.

familia Bybaran said...

you are not a good runner? PUH- LEASE! Now I think you are being over-modest about everything. Maybe you actually do play piano just like chopin. You are great at lots and lots of things, but you are right, you probably never will be the best at just one thing. There is always going to be someone out there better than you at something. Such is life.

Great post. I have had the same thought reading people's blogs. And of course I understand why only the good stuff makes it on the blog.

I happen to think you are great.

Melissa C said...

I really enjoyed this post. You are incredible, and don't let anyone tell you that you are not. It is so true for me anyway that I typically only blog about the good. I need to get off the computer and give Keira a bit more attention too while Soren sleeps.

Margo said...

Wonderful thoughts. I think it is safe to say that there are more than six people who think you are pretty incredible. Love ya tons. Can't wait to see you this summer....margo

amara said...

Only six people think you're incredible? C'mon, we all do.

Nicole Cave said...

Ok, I have to laugh because after I read this post I scrolled down a little more and saw that you kill plants. So funny...yeah none of us are perfect but, I would hate to read a negative blog all the time. I think the trick to life is to just keep going with all of our talents or hobbies, no matter how great we are at them...it doesn't matter...it would matter if we stopped though!