I am having quite a ride with this reversal of roles. My friends are now the ones telling me that they envy my life. Me, of all people, who is so used to living vicariously through other people, with no little help from Facebook? (For those wondering what’s going on, please read my post about my “gap year” here. It doesn’t explain everything but gives a sort of background.)
I have always been the one wishing I had that car, or that body, or that boyfriend, or that husband, or that daughter, or that son, or that job. Having stayed unattached when almost all my friends started raising families, I have always thought others had the better slice of cake and I couldn’t get the things I wanted out of life. I envied, how I envied, people who traveled, people who bought houses, people whose children hugged them at night, people whose lives seemed to be more interesting and fulfilling.
I am not sure if I will ever get used to hearing this from people: “I envy you, Ella. Imagine, you can fly to another country just like that, with no mortgage or tuition to think of?”
After my one hundred despedidas, I heard this sentiment in different forms.
“Wish I could do that, leave everything, be free to start a new life.”
“You’re so lucky, you could meet new people, explore new places.”
“That is a rare opportunity.”
“The most wonderful gift.”
There are days when I do feel carefree, when I wear pajamas all day, eat peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches for lunch, snack on chocolates, and devour books as if there is no tomorrow. There are days when I am my best self – I wake up early, pray, exercise, cook, do laundry, play with my niece, dine with my sister and her husband using their best cutlery, and soak in a warm bath. Those are the happy days.
But there are days when I feel my life seems much better from the outside, because I do not see the wonder of it all, and people’s comments to me sound like the short reviews printed on the first few pages of a book, which I always suspect were written by the author’s friends and not exactly descriptive of the book’s worth. Those are the days when I miss my regular lawyer’s paycheck, when I want to talk to my friends back home over coffee and not through the Internet, when catching a bus takes up the whole day (in the Philippines, I drove everywhere and thus owned my time), and when I worry about what will happen to me in the future.
Just today, two people told me they envied me. One person said it because he saw that I did not have to be stressed about work. My thought bubble went like this: That’s easy, try it – do not work. I assure you the stress also comes because you’re not going to get paid either. 🙂 Another person said it to me because I am here in beautiful Sydney where everyone looks like Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, and she imagined I was beating men away with a stick. Thought bubble: This friend has seen too many movies.
Oh, the romanticized version of my life sounds so much better. Perhaps I could write a book about it.