“It must be nice.”
That’s what they say, but that’s not what you hear, right?
You hear something different. Something not terribly genuine, right? Something laced with envy and maybe a dash of judgment?
Maybe the person is wistfully imagining your good fortune. Or maybe they’re begrudging you something awesome in your life. It’s totally possible, either way.
The thing is, it’s really none of your business which way they meant it. That’s their business.
Who cares what they think? What does it matter to you?
What you make it mean, however, and your ensuing reaction? That’s all your business, baby.
Did you feel like you needed to somehow diminish your good news, in order to not seem boastful or too fortunate? Heaven forbid you actually enjoy whatever it is you’ve created. It’s important that they understand that you are one of the little people, too. Suffering life and its slings and arrows, just like everyone else.
Whether you perceive, or—let’s be honest—even anticipate their sentiment as envious or judgmental, do you find yourself playing your news down in an attempt to mitigate someone else’s reaction?
If so, you’re not alone. It’s really common for people to take a crap all over what they love about their lives.
“I love your shoes!”
“Thanks,” you reply, “they look great, but they’re SO uncomfortable: you should see my blisters!”
I get this. Shoes and blisters aside, two years ago, Adam and I committed to taking June and December off each year. We get a lot of “it must be nice” from a lot of people.
Hell, we get a lot of “it must be nice” in general: we work from home, or wherever we are in the moment, we travel frequently for work, we live in a beautiful home in a beautiful place.
Our lives look amazing because they are amazing.
And so often, I catch myself explaining what is hard, or difficult, or even just refraining from sharing any news, for fear of my life sounding too good. For fear of people thinking I have it easy.
Here’s the thing, though. It IS nice. It IS good. I often can’t believe this is my life. And, we work really hard to create our life the way we live it, too.
It’s not good because I suffer, or even because I work really hard.
My life is really good, and I work really hard. These things are neither mutually exclusive, nor are they mutually inclusive, either. They are just both true.
Without making it sound harder just to ease the bright side of our reality, the truth is that as self-employed people, we chose to give up the security of a regular paycheque and all of its benefits, in order to create a life in which we felt more alive.
The truth is, it was really scary. Sometimes, it still is.
Those who know us really well, who have seen us struggle, who’ve been our crying shoulders, know the rocky road we’ve trekked to get to where we are. These are the people who love us, who say they could not—and would not—choose to do what we do.
For me, these are the people who remind me that I’ve worked hard to create the life I often catch myself diminishing, lest it sound too good.
I’m not saying that this is the winning formula, or the right choice, or a better choice than anyone else’s; it’s simply the right choice for us. The “right” choice being simply the one we made, followed by other choices we decide are right for us.
To get here, we each put in over a decade of work in different careers, and invested heavily (in time and in tuition—omigod the tuition) in our educations. We both hold undergraduate degrees, as well as masters’ degrees (an MBA for me and a law degree for Adam), as well as the most rigorous coach training education available.
For me, this also included spending eight years (my entire teenagedom) spent wearing tights and practicing for perfection in sweaty dance studios, in professional dance training and auditioning for a spot at a prestigious performing arts college. It’s possible I made my life as a dancer look easy; after all, that is what dance is: incredibly demanding physical effort, an immense commitment of time and strenuous physical discomfort, dressed up with tulle and smiles and made to look effortless for your viewing pleasure. To make it look like magic.
And all that travel you see on my social media pages, not to mention conferences and masterminds with five-digit price tags? Sure, it’s paid for by our business, but our business is us. We’re committed to our professional development, because we choose to prioritize that expense.
This isn’t me painting a sad picture. I’m not sharing this so that you can feel bad for all the hard parts of my life (and I haven’t even touched on my personal life and family issues here). It’s because it helps me to remember HOW I’ve created this life, through my hard work, and making scary choices, and then more choices after that.
And you know what? It IS hard work. And it’s still awesome, too.
From the outside, our lives may look charmed. And truthfully? Even from the inside, I often feel like it is, even despite the hard work I know I’ve put into it.
And that’s okay.
If you want to enjoy your life more, try minding your own business, instead of managing other people’s feelings. One simple step.
“It must be nice?”
Yeah, it is. Thank you.