Sunday, January 15, 2012

Birthday Eve

It's not even 10am on the eve of my birthday and my husband and I were woken up about 45 minutes ago to a commotion in our neighbor's apartment. Since we have paper thin walls, we could pretty much here everything once we turned off the white noise machine (we could hear a lot with the machine on too). Our neighbor, who judging from the noise we would hear periodically, was dying from a VERY painful disease. Apparently he died this morning and the family did not get to see him before he passed. The anguished family, who were screaming and crying out while banging on the walls, were the ones that woke us up. We had never met this neighbor since we had different entrances and because he was sick, never left his room, but we did listen to him moan loudly for the past several months. It's sad to hear through the walls that he died, and even sadder to hear that the family did not get to say their goodbyes. Their mournful regret was pretty painful to hear.

My newest painting that I started two days ago. It's a 24"x30" panel.
So why am I telling you about this? My post today was going to be about how every year, around my birthday, I go through a phase of beating myself up for not being who I expected to be by this time. I would compare myself to others who were further in their careers or had things I wanted, like a house, a happy marriage, perhaps even some children. I was really good at making myself feel like I didn't "measure up". I guess this is part of what makes me so ambitious and drives me to achieve so much, wanting to "measure up", but what I had accomplished was never enough. My achievements were never enough. I never "measured up" to the image of who I was supposed to be in my head.

It's a horrible thing to do: compare oneself to others. I'm sure I'm not the only one who does it. I'm sure even successful people, every once in awhile, compare themselves to someone they don't feel that they can ever "measure up" to. It's human nature, at least I'd like to believe that's where it comes from. Maybe I am wrong and it's just the way I think. I have been wrong before (but don't tell my husband that!).

I finished the underpainting today, after I wrote this post...
At any rate, this is the first year I am not beating myself up for not measuring up. I have a great marriage with a wonderful husband and my career is sky-rocketing. Could I have more sales and a new house instead of an apartment? Sure, and I still want those things, along with other things I haven't talked about. But for the first time in a very long time, I'm pretty content on where I am in my life. I do wish I wasn't getting so old, but it's not tearing my apart inside like it used to. I am happy and with happiness comes contentment at where one is in life. It's a good feeling.

Listening to my neighbor dying and hearing how anguished his family was also put things into perspective. It's a sombering way to wake up but it made me think, on this eve before my birthday, that I am lucky to be alive and surrounded by people who love me. Rest in peace neighbor guy.

I started this one today also while waiting for paint to dry.

No comments:

Post a Comment