On Easy Street (or so it appears)

I turned twenty-nine last month. It feels like twenty-one was a mere week ago, but oh yeah… that was eight years ago. As I soon approach thirty, I’ve been thinking about a few things. About life, that is. Particularly the cards I’ve been dealt in this hand of life. And perhaps, to some, I’ve been dealt some bad cards.

I never lived anywhere longer than two years growing up. I was always–or, every two years or less–“the new girl.” Yet, there are people who live in the same house their entire lives, from the moment they’re brought home from the hospital until the day they leave for college. They grow up with the same people, same friends, and never have to worry about being “the new kid.”

I never was asked to a dance in high school. In fact, I had to ask someone to prom (which was barrels of fun, let me tell you) to avoid going stag (which, looking back, maybe wouldn’t have been the worst situation in the world). Yet, there are people who asked me how to ask my friends to dances in high school (you know, what is the biggest scene they could make in front of the whole school to surprise one of my girlfriends? Thanks, bud).

I never had a boyfriend until I went to college. And once I turned eighteen in college, oh how the tables turned for me. Quickly. Yet, most people were experienced daters or perhaps serial monogamists by the time they reached college.

I endured heartbreak, after heartbreak, after heartbreak in college. Perhaps it was my own fault most of the time, and perhaps I spent too much time juggling boys and not enough time juggling my classes/grades (yes Dad, I’m aware of it now), but regardless–I was heartbroken time, and time, and time again. Yet, there are people out there who have never had a broken heart. (If you’re one of those people, you dodged a serious bullet.)

My husband broke up with me after we had been dating just one year. We were apart for seven months. Fully, 100% apart and broken up. Then, we got back together after seven months of not even so much as speaking, and we’ve been together ever since. Yet, there are people who meet people they could possibly marry, and yet, they stay together, rather than break up. Imagine that!

It took me five years to get paid to do, full-time, what I’ve wanted to do since I was ten. Five years of working in the plus-size section at Nordstrom, five years of answering a phone at a financial company, five years of asking people, “Do you want refried or black beans with that?” for a living, one year of being unemployed during those five years, and five years of working for free or little pay (pennies, really) to do small freelance jobs on the side. Then there are people who are offered their dream jobs right out of college. Who didn’t graduate during the worst recession in modern history. (Yep, there’s that.)

It’s like those people who get pregnant without even “trying” while others try for years without ever conceiving.

Not that I would know anything about that. But, you know. People. It’s how it is.

I can’t compare my life with others, but lately, I just can’t help it. I can’t help but wonder, why do some people appear to have life on Easy Street, while the rest of us are jumping from tiny rock to tiny rock about to explode over a pit of lava? (Yes, I’m thinking of that scene in Aladdin.) Why do some of us work hard for that promotion that will never happen, while others appear to have a promotion handed to them without even trying?

And that’s where I’ve developed my theory. Perhaps this is me just trying to make myself feel better, or make excuses, or whatever you want to call it–but maybe the reason for all of this is that we, as humans, are only given what we can handle. That is, God doesn’t give us situations, circumstances, unemployment, dead-end jobs, heartbreak, whatever, because we can’t handle them, but He gives these things because we can handle them. Things He knows we can not only handle, but we can overcome. Not only can we overcome these things, but maybe we’ll be blessed for the endurance. So if there’s something we can’t handle, He won’t allow it to happen. But if it happens, that means we can handle it. And if we can handle it, that means we’re stronger in the end.

And maybe we’re better because of it.

 

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