the grass is always greener

11 September 2015

I’m sitting in Dora’s apartment after a Shabbat dinner of pizza, cucumber and tomato salad and rice. We are taking turns feeling the fan’s cool kiss on our faces.

Whoosh. Wrrrr. Whoosh. Wrrrr. Whoosh.

Each whoosh is a new present, banishing the sweat that is constantly threatening to appear on my brow. The TV is on – some gymnastics competition in Stuttgart. It is fascinating watching these young women. As I watch, I try and imagine their lives.

Wake up, quick breakfast, train, train, train, quick lunch, train, train, quick dinner, watch, watch, watch, learn, learn, learn, practice, practice, practice, sleep.

But we don’t see all that. That strikes me. We only see this final, beautiful, graceful result. We don’t see the fatigued faces, the broken feet, the bruised legs, the cries of hopelessness, of agony. No, we only see this unbelievable perfection. We see their youth and their dedication and we think:

Wow, what am I doing with my life?

Because we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t compare.

And then I thought:

Could it be that people think this about us?

That there is something in our lives that others see and they think:

Wow, what am I doing with my life?

Something that we downplayed and disregarded because we were there for all the heartbreak and bruises and brokenness and agony. Something that, when we put it out in the world, we said:

Goodbye and good riddance, you difficult thing, you.

While someone else saw it and thought:

Wow, what am I doing with my life?

And if not, is there something we could be doing that gives us a mental breakdown and bruises and tears and aching legs but which makes someone else think:

Wow, what am I doing with my life?

And if there is something that we could be doing that makes people think:

Wow, what am I doing with my life?

And that makes us think:

Why the hell am I doing this to myself?

But makes us say at the end of it all:

I think it was all worth it – but goodbye and good riddance, you difficult thing, you.

Then why the hell aren’t we doing it already?

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