I have an enviable life. I live at the beach and have no real financial concerns. I don’t even have to work to pay my bills. I can watch the sunset over the ocean every night from my patio. I have a gorgeous boyfriend who loves me, and sweet kid who is happy and healthy and a car that always starts when I turn the key.
And yet… I am miserable.
The worst part about having no real problems is that you are forced to confront the real issue, which is the deeper, tender, rawest parts of you. The parts that refuse to be happy, refuse to feel the love that is all around you, refuse to see the glory in the sun setting over the Pacific.
I have had this enviable life for a few years now, since my husband and I separated. He very generously supports me financially and in general makes my life as easy as possible. I am lucky in ways that almost no one is lucky, and still I struggle to feel the peace and comfort and joy that should come along with that. With no actual dramas, there is no story to absorb all the uncomfortable feelings I have, which makes them harder to feel.
When I can step to the side of my discomfort for a bit, it’s interesting to notice how much of a habit unhappiness is. I don’t have a job, but I still feel light and free on Fridays and Saturdays and watch a tide of heaviness roll in on Sunday evenings in anticipation of a long work week that does not exist for me. Every Monday morning I feel anxious, a well-worn groove in my mind from many years ago when I did have a job. An emotional ebb and flow generated by some part of my brain that stores memories and doesn’t perceive reality.
The cool thing about this perspective is that it’s easy to see how our feelings aren’t necessarily a by-product of some real thing that’s happening, but energies that simply have patterns and a life of their own. And just like emotion, inertia has a momentum as well. With no real demands on my time, I don’t have an automatic sense of purpose. The spaciousness of a life without some obligation can very easily create more of the same. The emptiness, for me, has given birth to laziness and apathy – some days depression is straight-up knocking at my door.
These are some of the things that occur to me when people tell me how lucky I am to live where I live without having to work. Lucky maybe because I get a perspective into myself that others don’t have, but it can feel painful and lonely. Lucky also, perhaps, because I have the choice to do some deep work that I might not otherwise do.