Yearning for a Different Path While Honoring Your Own Journey
I have a friend, Lori, who leads a very different life from mine. I absolutely LOVE my life, my family, my career. But sometimes—just sometimes—I yearn for Lori’s experiences.
Lori is a mommy to three young children. She often posts photos on social media that capture days at home playing with her kids, splashing around in the pool, sharing a snuggly moment before naptime. Her days are focused on loving her little ones and taking care of their needs.
When I see these pictures, I’ll admit it, I’m hit by a spark of envy. My youngest is 17. But I still remember the seemingly endless hugs and fun times spent jumping on the trampoline or fishing in the pond. I was his number one playmate—his number one person. But the days of giggly playtime and snuggling up for a nap with a warm little body have passed.
I feel kind of sad that part of my life is over. Plus, I always harbored dreams of being a stay-at-home mom. So when I see these sweet moments playing out on social media, I’m envious.
At the same time, I know that being a stay-at-home mom isn’t all happy, smiley moments. Lori doesn’t get much time alone. There are days she yearns for adult conversation. And she admits to sometimes missing having a career outside the home. It’s in these moments, she feels envious of MY life.
In her words: “You travel … and inspire … and leave your house. And I don’t just mean going to Walmart!”
Lori and I became friends when we taught at the same school years ago. We were two like-minded individuals passionate about education and ensuring we were using the most progressive techniques for reaching our students. But our paths eventually went in two different directions.
When she had her children, Lori left the classroom behind and embraced the challenges of being a stay-at-home mom. I left the classroom, too. But because my children were older and almost grown, I left to take a leap of faith into starting my happiness coaching and educational consulting businesses.
We are both extremely happy with the choices we made. But we can also admit that there are times we wouldn’t mind spending a little time in the other’s shoes.
But that’s the beauty of life. People choose different paths at different times in their lives. They embrace their choices—but know it’s OK to dream about the “path not taken.”
Envy may seem like a bad thing on its surface. But those moments of envy also provide valuable insight. They let you acknowledge your feelings and face them head on. You can recognize that you’re so happy for what someone else has, that you wouldn’t mind having a little bit of it, too.
Most importantly, these brief twinges of envy allow you the opportunity to take a look at your own life, recall exactly what you love most about it, and make any adjustments you need to be even happier with your choices.
See, it’s not so much that the grass is really greener on the other side of the fence. It’s that we each have a shade of green that works best for us.
We just have to remember that no two hues are the same!