“I wish that I could be like the cool kids,
Like the cool kids they seem to fit in.”
Cool Kids, Echosmith
The lines from the song get stuck in my head, repeated constantly. Partly because the tune and mostly because the truth resonates. No matter the age, we all want to fit in. Though my girls are the ones who play this song, these are lifelong lyrics that swirl around in my head and heart.
I haven’t been one to struggle with comparisons, at least I haven’t thought so. But when I look back at my periods of discontentment, I’ve found that really the “It would be nice” or “If only we could” has usually been inspired by someone else’s reality. What I’ve really been saying all these years is, “I wish I had what she had”. From a bigger house to a husband who bought different kinds of gifts, I could, and have, quickly convinced myself that someone else’s good, was my missing out.
And we want to belong. I know not being included can hurt. And the cool kids, they seem to fit in. Whether my nine-year old isn’t invited to a birthday party or I’m not part of an email loop, the exclusion stings because we want to be wanted. Even if we have no interest in being part of the whatever, we want to be invited in.
Despite my detail of struggling with comparisons, there’s no question in the last few years I have. I’m not sure if it’s my line of work where I publicly see jobs other people are getting, (she’s getting invited to do this, whatever this is, and I’m not) or if it’s my increased use of social media where it seems everyone is sharing the awesomeness in their lives, or maybe I’m just maturing and more self aware, so when comparison pops its head I recognize it. It’s probably a combination of all three and more. Regardless of the reasons, I feel it more. And I hate it.
I’ve struggled with how to escape my thoughts, my feelings. They don’t just turn off because I think they should. And I’ve found that focusing on what is mine, all mine, helps me see and then appreciate where God has uniquely placed me in this world.
I look at the dirty dishes in the sink, an unlikely place to start you might think, but if I’m having a moment of mental gymnastics where I’m feeling like I’m missing out on the party, and I’m standing there facing them, I don’t turn away. I face them. These dishes had food, nutritious food that my family could afford and I could prepare. My family. Yes, those four freckled girls and one faithful husband that I love like no one else on the planet. They are all mine in the sense that I am the only person who gets to mother my children and love this man. It is precious and good and enough.
And then how bout them dishes? That mess that is uniquely mine. We often don’t like to claim our pain, hurt, problems, issues as something to celebrate. But what if we should? These too are uniquely mine.
My actual life. That’s what I want to embrace. The one that is mine. All mine. I still check Facebook, but I do less often when I need to remember that this house, this family, these problems, make up the one and only life God granted me. I don’t want to miss out on the goodness because I feel like the cool kids have something else.
I am working to love my actual life.