Jan 5, 2013

the simple truth is it makes me sad

two of the most accomplished women I know: smart, exceeding in their careers,loved in their homes, supported by their families, frequently seem the least happy.


I have the privilege of knowing a lot of strong, beautiful, wonderful women. And they are all strong, beautiful and wonderful in different ways. Many of them are loved...indeed, all of them are loved, just some more holistically, some more universally than others.

And some just seem happier.

And if I were to be scientific I would not the multiple variables,the variations on happiness, the minimum required, the maximum that is relevant.
I don't know that I have the capacity or time.

So what captures my attention is this inverse proportion to commonly acknowledged success, generally understood achievement.
I find it moving that a friend of mine frequently on the edge of financial distress, commonly facing romantic difficulties, is happy with a good drink and good food and good friends. I find it disturbing that someone with half those woes can find the same situation annoying when the brand is slightly off.

I mean, maybe it is not correlation, so much as causation: not easily pleased some are driven to succeed in an attempt to find peace and happiness. Whereas lady one may be already happy with less money, 10 extra pounds, and an odd assortment of friends and lovers, lady two may not hang with that.

Maybe this is the case.
And maybe it is truly, a simple case of nature and nurture: hormones of sadness, backgrounds of pressure and abuse.

But knowing what I know about them, and other friends, I question that as well.
And understanding that you never can truly see inside another persons head, truly know who is actually happy, I try to temper my curiosity with a grain of salt...maybe they are happy in their quietest moments, maybe their mouths curve towards a scowl.

Truth be told, I have a pretty sour looking face, and have seen some pics of myself...I know not every image can be trusted....

But, I diverge from my point, and disclaimers now proffered I get to my point.

The two women I know who are most commonly dissatisfied, most frequently annoyed, who give off waves of displeasure, of disappointment, in others, in themselves, live in nice homes, have partners who love them, have careers in which they are respected... they in fact are well educated and work in the field they desired. They have families who are there for them, involved in their lives, and a safety network deep and wide. They have financial reserves. They have friends.

What is that? Is it the pressure we put on ourselves, the missing piece, the always can do more? Are those driven to be so good at who they are driven by demons and not by promises? Or are the missing pieces, the almost not quite there I can do better you can do better I blame myself and you ....just responses and small attempts to get closer to a much deeper, broader missing puzzle piece that even they cannot see?

Or is it just the fear. The fear of having too much to lose?

I don't know. But I worry about it in myself. And I think about it more than I should. And I try not to judge it: harshly, or with concern. You can't save everyone, you can't know everyone. And you most certainly cannot expect everyone to be happy. That is especially cruel.

*you may ask: why is this post about women when it could be about everyone? Mostly because the ornery connection between success and pleasure in men is a well documented and ongoing discussion, and unfortunately well tread paradox. But as women's worlds grow, as we enter generations with autonomy, timelines with new pressures and increasing power and need, so do our conflicting messages and issues. And apparently having it all is not the answer.

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