My new job is working out just fine. It's demanding and challenging, which I like, but I confess that after a few stressful weeks of long days and a general sense of cluelessness that comes with new responsibilities, I whined to my husband about why everyone else seems to have a free ride.
I grumped about entrepreneurs who struck it rich with dumb ideas and people who quit work to pursue their passions. I groused about peers who will never know what the office looks like on Saturdays and writers who don't have day jobs. I bitterly recalled talentless slugs from my past who climbed the ladder with unparalleled success. I said if I were 20 years younger and had a uterus, I could give birth to some rich guy's kid and be set for life. One ex-husband and a good lawyer, and I'd be golden. Why do I always get the hard jobs?
He said because that's who you are. You work hard at everything.
Heavy sigh. Yes, of course. I am designed for this. It's in my DNA, but sometimes I look wistfully at people who made other choices. They aren't my choices, but for some reason I fall back on the envy card when I am stressed. It helped me to remember the words a friend shared with me many years ago. She said, "Swim in your own lane. Looking in somebody else's lane is only going to slow down your race."
When I stopped comparing myself to everyone else, I realized I'm happy with the way things turned out. Some choices in my life and in my career seemed like deliberate leaps into the unknown. Other choices were calculated steps on a clearly defined path but some frankly seemed more like cosmic whimsy than free will. When I add it all up, though, I landed in a pretty good place.
So many lessons, so little time. When I think about what I've learned just in the past few weeks, I am reminded more than ever that no good comes of wishing for someone else's life. Nobody has it as easy as you think, so figure out what's important to you. Work hard at it, trust yourself and then grab a lane, put your head down and swim.