A few days ago, I was sitting on the couch and I realized something. I am truly blessed. And I love my life.
While years past have been rocky, 2014 is off to a great start. I recently received a promotion at work. I will finally be a full time employee again! And as excited as I am about the job itself, I am ecstatic that I will now be able to help better support my family.
But, I have also noticed how other people seem to want to invalidate my life. When happily speaking with a former co-worker of mine about how this new job will greatly help my family, she sort of laughed. I believe it is because my husband and I have six dogs and a cat.
For some reason, many people do not see this as a “family.” Unfortunately, stereotypical ideals seem to be firmly in place. To qualify as a “real” family to most of the world you need to have human children. And if you don’t, but have an abundance of fur kids, people assume that you are unable to have children and are “filling the void.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. My husband and I are perfectly capable of having children. We are choosing not to. I could go into the long list of reasons why kids just aren’t for us, however, that’s the beautiful thing. I don’t have to. Our decision doesn’t need to be validated by anyone. This is our marriage, our life and our family.
Unlike many of my friends, I am also quite content with what I have. I love my 2009 Chevy Cobalt (that was just paid off last year!). And I have no intention of selling it to “upgrade” to a Lexis or any other ridiculously priced car. A vehicle does not (and should not) define who you are. It is merely a tool to get you from point A to point B comfortably and safely.
Too many people are caught up in the “keeping up with the Jones'” syndrome. My friend *Betty is one such person. She is never happy with what she has (and she has a lot). If someone remodels their house, she begins making plans to redo her own. If someone has new jewelry on, she makes a trip to the mall that weekend.
It is quite a sad thing to watch. She is surrounded by so much love and support and security. Yet, that seems to not be enough for her. And she has no qualms about telling others how to “upgrade” either. Whenever she comes over to our house, she always makes at least one comment about something she would change.
But you know what? I wouldn’t change a single thing. Matt and I are so very fortunate that we are even able to afford a house. Many of my friends are still living in apartments and some (gulp!) are still at home with their parents. And while I understand that the house needs a few adjustments (new windows and a new sink), I have no desire to move to a different one. We have made this house our home and that’s all that matters.
And then there are those who are constantly trying to climb the social ladder. You know, the people that seem to have 10 million Facebook friends, 2 million twitter followers, etc. To be quite honest, my husband and I have one person that we truly consider our friend.
That’s right, just one. Yes, I have tons of “friends” on Facebook, twitter and numerous connections on LinkedIn. But, none of these people really even know me. Sure, we may have gone to high school together, but, do they know my hopes, dreams, fears and passions?
This one person has been the bestest friend that we could have ever asked for. He came racing over to the house one day on his way to work (making him late) so that he could help me unclog our toilet while my husband was at work. He has seen me without my make-up on. And I trust him implicitly.
My point is, it truly is not the quantity, but the quality of your friendships that matter. I can count on one hand the number of Facebook “friends” that would have helped me with my toilet that day. I’ll give you a hint: it’s less than one.
In conclusion, your life has a purpose and meaning. And you do not need to seek anyone’s approval for living the way that best suits you. Be proud of who you are and take ownership of your life.