19 May 2009

the jealousy

Thanks to facebook, I now know every detail of the lives of pretty much everyone I've ever met, gone to high school with, etc. In many ways, this is a good thing. But it's also caused me to realize something: if there is such a thing as a "normal life," I'm really not living it.

Basically, everyone I went to high school with went to college, got a job, met a someone, got engaged and had things like engagement parties and wedding showers (I know this because there is photographic evidence to back it up), got married, bought houses, got pregnant, etc. There seems to be no end to the cute, smiling wedding photos, the baby announcements, the mentions of things like "girls weekend" and sailing trips, buying houses, calling plumbers, etc. Normal things that 30 year olds do, or are starting to do.

Now of course I realize that this is not a realistic portrayal of everyone's whole life, it's not like they are posting all the bad parts, but seriously, these people seem happy.

Me? I married a drug addict, had two babies with him while living in crappy apartments and then got divorced. No engagement party, no house. No girls weekend. No boat. No Pottery Barn Baby bedding. And it's fine, right? It's fine. I'm fine with it. I made my decisions, I have two beautiful children, I got a master's degree somewhere between the eloping and baby number 2, and I have a great job that I'm good at and have enjoyed some success (I was in a national magazine this month!).

But truth be told, I'm jealous. With my ex not paying child support, my debt payoff goal has been pushed back by years. YEARS. I've even been wondering if filing for bankruptcy is my best option. I'll probably never be able to buy a house, or not for a long time. And buying your first house at 40 or something is depressing. I'm working my butt off to fix things, to stay afloat, and I know I'm doing right by my kids, but what am I doing for me? I'm essentially working my butt off to make up for a bad decision I made when I was 24 years old. I've wasted more than half my 20s and now probably all my 30s because I was too afraid to admit that I knew I was making a mistake. I had no idea.

It's hard to admit that you feel jipped by life, when you know it could always be worse. I could be homeless. Heck, I could still be married to him. Something could have happened to my kids. Something could have happened to me. But it still doesn't make me feel better when I see those "my hubby hung up the baby's shelves tonight!" status updates. I'm just being honest, I guess.


Looking For Freedom... said...

Thank god you're not posting stuff about Pottery Barn baby bedding... Seriously. That's just not...real enough.

Trent almost left Facebook because he was so sick of the oh-my-life-is-so-happy-and-perfect-and-I-shop-at-Anthropologie-and-drive-a-minivan posts.

I have no advice, and I am CERTAINLY not going to say anything like "The grass is always greener blah blah blah." I do understand feeling kind of jipped by life.

Congratulations on the national magazine mention, by the way!

LauraC said...

I think facebook and blogging are very similar. You just get a sneak peek into the good things in someone's life, and very rarely do you see the bad stuff. I know when I've written in the past about the bad parts of having twins, people went all in an uproar about how I didn't appreciate my life.

But I don't think everyone has had that "american dream" you write of. I mean, on the surface my life looks similar to what you've described. But along the way, I lost my hearing, I was in a train wreck, DH had debilitating back problems that had him in bed 23 hours a day for 6 months until he had surgery, DH & I got laid off on the same day after the tech market collapsed after 9/11, we had to take jobs making much less than we were before, etc. We've had some really crappy times along the way.

I do wonder though, how much of this weight on your shoulders is bc of the debt. I'm not advocating for bankruptcy but if you think your ex may never be part of the picture, maybe it is time to let go of that part of your past and move on. If it would take you 7 years to pay off the debt, if you declared bankruptcy now, you would be ok in 7 years. But maybe you would be in a better financial position in 7 years being able to allocate the money to things other than debt.

Anyway I know I'm just some stranger who doesn't know the whole story so I'm coming in with only the info you write here. My sister went through something similar with her first husband - alcoholic, abusive, racked up debt, she finally left and had to work two jobs just to keep her head above water, ex never sent her money. She finally declared bankruptcy and it was this huge weight off her shoulders. She could just work one job and that worry was gone.

libraryliz said...

It's funny that you posted this today because I just spent the weekend with my roommates from college (graduated 14 years ago), and of the 5 of us, only two have the "normal" life you're referring to...one divorced her husband after 7 years after finding out he was bipolar (he knew, just neglected to tell her or be treated--he left her with a mortgage and a ridiculous adjustable rate home equity loan that she is currently trying to get out from under). My husband works with a woman who is in a similar situation to you--early 30s, child under 2, (soon to be ex)husband with a heroin problem who disappears and doesn't help with the finances. I've actually thought about suggesting she read your blog for moral support!
Anyway, what I'm getting at is, you're not alone, not that that will make you feel any better...

Amy said...

It's all a front anyway. Don't try to keep up with the Jones', because the Jones' are in debt.

Jenn said...

You know, I have a nice, normal, happy life and I find that I think that my friends and family who post those types of things on Facebook lie, exaggerate and waste a lot of time trying to impress other people. All the while, I remember their snotty kids who don't sleep in their own beds, scream at or hit them or their husbands who travel 20 out of 30 days of the month or just lost jobs or their homes without furniture (because they can't afford it). Everyone has problems. Everyone. (Even me.)

JBlank said...

I just think that the perfect people on facebook are putting on a front. You know what they say about those neat freak people, they are hiding something very dirty. Life is not all sunshine and lollipops. I dare say that many would be jealous of your gardening. I still haven't decided where to plant things. Uggh. You seem like the kind of person who will show your kids that you can deal with what you must face in life. You will find a way, it will all work out.

Anonymous said...

I'm filing bankruptcy because I realized at 36 and having a husband who rarely works, I was never getting out of living in his mother's basement apt.

I am not proud of it. I'm going from a credit score of 740 to probably 0, BUT it will allow me to sock $ away and get a decent apartment for myself and my son.

Homeownership is over rated ;-) I have owned them in the past and the only thing I really enjoyed about them was the freedom that noone told me what to do. Otherwise I hated fixing, mowing, etc. ;-)

I love your blog. I wish you lots of luck!

Ann (Darinsmom)

Christine said...

Ah facebook. I had to actually turn off seeing info from one of my close friends because all of his updates made him sound like a complete ass. (and a condescending one at that) I find that my experience of people has been far different than what they portray on FB. Even if you were buying pottery barn bedding would you be posting about it? It's a sad life indeed when you have to tell the world the brand name of your kids bed sheets.