Life. It's so mundane isn't it? Every person deals with the drudgery of life at some point, regardless of where you live, what your job is, or your financial or marital or children status. Generally it feels mundane more frequently than we would like to admit.
About two years ago I wrote a post about how social media skews people's views of other's lives, and how its siren-like songs lull us into this deadly cycle of desiring everyone else's jobs, spouses, and very existence. It can suck the joy out of our days and the freedom out of our lives. I wrote about how it was affecting me and my ability to enjoy my own life and spouse and job. It was tempting me to be severely discontent with who I was as a person- discontent with my unorganized, non-self-motivating, uncreative, lazy, less-artistic-than-you-cool-people, undecorated, un-pinteresty personality. I felt like a grey piece of flimsy printer paper among the rainbow colors of strong construction paper. It took some radical changes, but God finally opened my eyes to how wrong I was in viewing myself and my life in that way.
Being so far from friends and family and the familiarities and comforts of my former life has caused the discontent to creep back in. I find myself feeling sad while looking at my family's photos, going through my friends' Instagram feeds, or reading a person's status about moving to the heart of the Blue Ridge. Sad I can't do those things. Sad I can't see those people. Sad I'm missing out on family parties and events. Sad I can't be a part of the blossoming art community in Greenville. Sad I can't walk with my sisters or friends down Main Street on a Friday night and hear the jazz band playing or see flickering lights over the river and families cuddled on picnic blankets at the Movie Night in the Park. Sad I can't work the job I love in a market I understand with people who know me well.
I think as humans we'll always be afflicted with this desire for someone else's life. Social media increases these desires abundantly. There's a level of transparency that we need to have with one another, even on social media, in order to help remove the idea that our lives are perfect. That being said, I'd like to share a few things.
As you well know (or maybe you don't pay attention at all...in which case this will be a newsflash), I don't write often. The reason is because our life is too mundane to be of interest. Yup. That's the real reason. Imagine trying to write about your daily life. For those of you who don't have a job (like me!), it all looks pretty much the same. Waking up, having my tea, cleaning my house (or not...), taking a walk, making dinner, watching Netflix, then going to bed are pretty much the routine (this will change with Little Man's presence of course). It's easy to get swallowed up in routine and the mundane. After coming out of a few months of depression (back in October/November/December), I've realized that it's important for me to create newness in my routine. In light of this, I've started auditing a class at the school, volunteering here and there with office work, shooting for school events, and being intentional about spending time with people in our community. I also try and be outside daily, even if it's for a short amount of time.
It's hard to post Instagram pictures or Facebook posts with that kind of information (what do I even take a picture of? my crumb-filled table top? my dirty kitchen? the cloudy sky over the car-filled parking lot outside our window?), but maybe that's what needs to happen in order to be more transparent with others.
Don't misunderstand, we have had some amazing opportunities to travel and we've been able to see some incredibly beautiful places. We've been called to live in a village on the outskirts of a gorgeous, old city that happens to be very unique and hold many lovely charms. We've been blessed to have a group of friends from all over the world with whom we can talk and laugh and go to the park and eat and play games. I love my husband dearly and he is most certainly my best friend and favorite person to spend time with. We love our life here and are realizing how fortunate we are to be in such a place. But lest you be deceived, know that our life has settled into a routine just as it would if we lived back in a tiny town in Southern USA. We have our irritable days, our lazy days, our lets-not-clean days (or weeks...), our ramen-or-cereal-for-every-meal days, our boring days (more often than not), and our what-the-heck-did-we-do-in-moving-so-far-away days.
Life is never romantic or Hollywoodesque, though it may seem so to those on the outside. The key to a peaceful existence right where you are is to see the beauty in what you've been given. Don't long for another life- it only comes with a different set of difficulties to overcome. Be encouraged- the life you've been called to live is full of beauty and the possibility of joy and satisfaction. The job you have (or don't have) is allowing for new ways to spend your time and be creative with your routine. The friends (or friend) you've made are a beautiful way to connect and pour out and love and laugh. The quiet you experience (be it 5 minutes or 5 hours) is a perfect way to settle your mind, clear your heart, and center your thoughts on what is pure, lovely, true, right, and noble.
Our lives are each beautiful even in the mundane. Take the time to look for that beauty in your own mundane- you may be surprised at how much you can find.