We are always compromising to a greater or lesser extent. When choosing where to go out with friends, when deciding what to do at the weekend, when buying anything… always compromising with others.
It is a bit lesson that we try to teach to our kids. If they want to watch a film but not the same one, they are always told to have a chat about it and reach a compromise. Maybe if one chooses to watch what the other wants, he can later on get make a decision about something else… It is an important lesson to learn in live – compromising.
But what about learning to compromise with ourselves? This is a lesson I have been learning lately.
Sometimes it is strange for me to look back at 3 years ago and see how much I have changed and different I am now. How different my life is! I never thought I could change this much in my mid thirties/early forties.
Four years ago I thought I had everything figured out. I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. I was working full-time, from home at that point; I had two amazing boys and a wonderful husband; I was cooking super healthy food, all from scratch, all home-made; I was supporting my husband realize his musical dreams; I had a clean, tidy and beautiful house; brilliant friends…
As I was working from home, whenever I left my office to get a coffee, I would put on a wash, empty the dishwasher, hoover, mop… do something in the house. During my lunch I would cook dinner and then get a sandwich and eat it at my desk. When I finished work, I would collect the kids from childcare, feed them, play with them, have some family time, put them to bed, get the laptop and work for another 3 hours. The kids were only 2 and 4 so weekends were very busy and intense. Some weekends MR B had gigs which meant I was on my own with the kids. Life with small kids is busy and tough. Also rewarding, don’t get me wrong, but tough. It gets easier as they get older. Much easier.
I crashed. There was a serious of events at work that brought things to a head but the reality was that I was juggling too many balls. I suffered with anxiety and panic attacks. It was a really tough and dark time for me and my family. There are days that I feel like it is all behind me now and there are days where I still feel extremely fragile but it is about finding the balance and learning to cope.
The reality is that I had to learn to compromise with myself. Expectations versus Reality. Compromise that the boys can eat a ready-to-go or pre-made meal once in a blue moon because everything else is home-made and healthy; compromise that the house can stay messy few more days but I will sit down and relax and no one will care; compromise that spending a morning reading in bed is not a waste of time but good for the soul… so many compromises.
All these things are of course facts that I already knew. Not only did I know them but I would support them and encourage other people to do them! Of course! But for some reason I would not follow my own advice. For some reason I wanted the perfect life, the one that doesn’t exist, with the perfect family, the perfect house, the organised home, the family walks in the park with the sun shining! The thing is that I didn’t even know that that is what I wanted, what I was reaching for! I don’t want to blame the media for selling me that perfect life. There are plenty of things for sale that I don’t buy. I just simply got caught up in the rat race and, although it is perfectly fine for some people and it works out great for them, I found out the hard way that it is not for me.
Everyday I have to make compromises. The harder ones are with myself. It is easier to compromise with others, ok, not all the time, but it is more embedded in us. Compromise with oneself is a behavior learnt late in life, at least for me, and that is what I struggle with the most.