One person’s great day is another person’s terrible one.
I don’t just mean this as an “the world is what you make it” sort of deal, though that is true. I just mean that the world keeps turning bring different experiences to every person on Earth. Everyone is living their own complex lives in which you are a supporting cast-member. It’s sometimes difficult to remember that. I was just reminded of that today.
Today was a great day for me. At breakfast I got an email informing me that UVU’s literary magazine, Touchstone’s, accepted one of my short stories. I have never been published before, so this was amazing news. Then, despite being delayed do to snow, I made it to class on time. After class, while eating lunch, I got another email telling me I go one of the jobs I applied for. Not only did I get the job, but I was even being offered a dollar more an hour than the original posting advertised. All-in-all, I was on top of the world. My Monday was shaping up to be one of the best days of my life. I posted on Facebook and Instagram, excited to share my news.
Then I saw that one my best friends was having one of the worst days of her life.
While I was basking in the glow and glory of all my hard work over the last few months, one of my best friend’s was dealing with a great tragedy. Her boyfriend lost the long-time war with depression and passed away. Understandably, she is still numb with shock at the news.
Suddenly, I felt almost guilty about my happiness.
Logically, I knew that I shouldn’t feel guilty about being happy. I worked hard on my short story (entitled “Day of the Silver Ring” if anyone cares to know). I wrote and revised and edited and will do more revisions and edits before it’s published. I also worked hard for this job offer. I applied to over 100 jobs. I wrote and re-wrote resumes and cover letters. I did research about various companies before interviews and took the time and effort to get to know what each job posting was for. I knew that I deserved the rewards for all my efforts- but knowing that someone I loved was in so much pain was jarring. How could so much happiness and so much grief exist at the same time?
A few years ago, or even a few months ago, I would have let her pain consume my happiness. I wouldn’t have allowed myself joy when I saw someone else in grief, because I wouldn’t allow such a paradox to exist in my world. Empathy would overrule both health and reason. I don’t think that way anymore. We are allowed our own experiences, our own stories of light and dark that can co-exist without canceling one another out. It’s okay to feel sympathy, empathy, and compassion without allowing it to overtake our lives.
Day to Day, everyone around the world will go about their lives. They will have a thousand tiny moments of happiness, sadness, anger, boredom, and every other emotion in-between. They will have experiences, good and bad, whether or not anyone else witnesses them. Other people will exist in their own world whether or not we are thinking of them- that’s how life works.
My day will not be the same as anyone else’s.
A day in life is made unique because it’s not the same for any two people. My good day is someone’s bad one. My boring day is someone else’s exciting one. My lazy day is someone else’s productive journey. Even if I feel like every day is the same, it’s not. My life doesn’t reflect anyone else’s, and to me, that’s incredible.
**Note: Please take a moment to reach out to a friend who is struggling, or even to the friend who always seems to be alright. We never truly know who needs to hear from us. We don’t know what inner-demons someone else is fighting on their day in life. **