Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Semantics (or High Degrees of Difficulty)

While I was going to sleep last night, I was thinking that maybe the problem is semantics.

Maybe the problem is the difference in our definitions of what is hard. When I say something isn't hard, it's probably different than what someone else defines as hard. Maybe your hard just isn't hard enough for me.

That's what she said.
Finding the perfect GIF is not hard.
But, seriously, what is difficult to me is likely not the same as what might be difficult for someone else.

As I lay in bed, I thought about this need we have as human beings to show one another just how difficult our lives are. How trying and stressful. How unbearable. "No, you don't understand," a friend of mine used to say every time she told a story about her life. It was rather annoying.

Instead of Charlie Sheen with his endless proclamations of "winning," many of us want to win in some contrived game of Whose Life is Harder?

If you don't play this game, you end up as the target of another sort of game. This game is called Must Be Nice. I heard this a lot when I worked at Southern Living. Traveling around the South? "Must be nice." Handling decorating projects? "Must be nice." Having my kids in photo shoots? "Must be nice."

"Must be nice" is like a perfume. It has fresh green notes of envy and mossy undertones of resentment.

People like to shame you a bit if your life seems too good.

But it was nice. When people asked, "How's the job going?", I'd say, "It's great."

So, full disclosure, when I was a working mom, on the days when the routine went as planned and everyone was where they were supposed to be, I didn't think it was all that hard either.

Perhaps it's me. I don't like things to be hard. I don't equate busy with hard. I don't equate daily routines with hard. Busy is busy. Routine is routine. I don't think something that is worthwhile also has to be difficult. My job was worthwhile but, during the great years before the layoffs and New York invasion, it was not difficult. It was highly enjoyable.

What's "hard" for me are things that other people likely have not and will not ever experience. I hope they never do.

I hate what happens when I have to tell someone what my memoir is about, when they shake their heads in sympathy and say, "That must be so hard." I always preface it with this: "It's really sad. So I'm going to tell you but then we're going to move along." This is my clumsy way of asking that we not spend a lot of time defining my life's particular degree of difficulty.

My goal is to live the life of Clooney. I'm quite certain he faces difficulties because we all do. Does he go around trying to get people to nod in sympathy and say, "Poor you"? God no. Yuck.

My goal in life is to tell you what I do each day and to have you say, "Must be nice."

Hell yes, that's my goal. I really just want to be the female Clooney.


"I don't believe in happy endings, but I do believe in happy travels, because ultimately, you die at a very young age, or you live long enough to watch your friends die. It's a mean thing, life." - George Clooney*


*This has been a blatant excuse to post a photo of George Clooney. So here it is: 

1 comment:

  1. must be nice to have such a entertaining blog

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