I’ve started writing this post twice already. Third time’s a charm…
While I was reading The Marriage Plot, I stumbled across this quote,
My life getting better, but it ain’t getting any easier.
And it sent something through me, something warm and soothing. I’ve since read it over a billion times. What drives me batty is what an obvious statement of fact it is. Better is rarely easier. That’s so obvious.
Except it’s not. Not to me at least. I guess in some situations it makes sense to me, especially with something like food. Better food is seldom easier. It is not the same to make a cake from scratch as it is from the box. Even if you really enjoy that sort of thing, even if you do it so often it doesn’t feel harder to you at all, objectively it is.
I guess what I have found interesting is that I never really explored that concept further. In life things, my mind equates better with easier. A better job makes life easier. A better salary makes bill paying easier. A better parenting style makes raising children easier. Better self-esteem makes finding the man of your dreams easier. A better crocheter has an easier time with projects.
Are we on the same wavelength yet? Do you see what I’m alluding to?
Here are some things in my life that are Better but certainly not getting Easier.
It doesn’t feel this way, but when I step back and look at things objectively (concrete numbers make that easier) it’s obvious I am in a better financial state than I have been in my life. Not one of my six credit lines is maxed out and four of the six have zero balances and have had so for ages. I have retirement savings with five digits. I’ve never in my life saved so much money. When I subtract the amount of my debts (student and credit) from my savings, I have a net worth of over $20k which is something that was impossible to wrap my head around just five years ago. I swear there was a time in my life I believed net worth was for old people. At least the green ones (net worth, not people).
My finances aren’t any easier though. Not by a long shot. I recently drained the last of my savings to fund the last couple of weeks of summer camp because I couldn’t arrange care for the kids that wasn’t imposing on a bunch of people. The last time I got a normal, timely, child support payment was in April. The last time I got a child support payment at all was in June. And of course I have not been compensated for any of the cost of summer camp. I haven’t requested a dime from my parents but right now, things are finally approaching the perilous point. You know, the one where you’re counting the days left to your paycheck and taking inventory of your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry while anxiously glancing at the fuel needle. I’m surviving on a very tiny overdraft line of credit ING gives me for my checking account. The credit cards with empty balances are calling me a little louder every day.
Yeah, that point. That totally not easier point.
I’m in a stronger, healthier relationship now. We have similar values and on similar life paths. We’ve had similar challenges in the past. It feels more like a team than anything I’ve been in before. He may not be my husband, but he treats me the way I always imagined my husband would treat me. But it’s not Easier. This Summer with his daughter here, I family went up to a size six. And managing the change in dynamics the presence of his daughter brought was challenging at times. Don’t get me wrong, the girl is great– she’s sweet and helpful but she craves her Dad’s attention (understandably) and I had to adjust to that without disappearing into the background at the same time.
And no matter how much we have in common, managing a family is still hard work. We’re still figuring out how to distribute work to each other and to the kids while making sure to communicate gratitude constantly.
When I take the fact I’m back in school and combine it with the fact I was able to keep my job, I know I’m in a Better place than I was even two years ago as to propel myself forward to achieving more of my goals. It is certainly not Easier nor does it look likely to become so even though so many people feel compelled to promise me it will. No, school does not get Easier. And work does not get Easier. As I master something, I move on to the next thing instead of stagnating. There is always another step to take, another achievement to unlock.
Of course, I do believe there is a moment when Better and Easier do merge into one. I think that is the ultimate Achievement Unlocked and is represented by that peak on the happiness chart researchers keep finding.
What about you? Are things in your life better AND easier? Better but not easier? Easier but not better? Or neither better nor easier?
P.S. I’m still sick and dealing with this crap sinus infection. So I apologize if I got rambly in places. My powers of editing are vastly diminished in this state.