There is a fault line between reading E.B. White’s essays in the morning and then getting to work and getting lost in Facebook for half an hour. At first, it is interesting. People I had completely forgotten about, wondered what they were up to, how we were living our lives after high school. I looked at some profiles of random people I knew from high school. They were pretty much the same- same money, same makeup, a bit older, some prettier, some with their own houses, impressive jobs. I turn it back on myself, judging their life vs mine. Stellar beach house and Louis Vuitton bag, salary, fancy shoes and perfect dimples. Facebook gives the mirage of the life you think about. That people actually make it. And I want it- but then again, do I really? What is it that I am really looking for?
When it gets right down to it, I am more of an E. B. White person than Louis Vuitton in Paris. I don’t think you can win in that life. There is always the next best to be, the prettier, the wealthier, the more impressive. Friends competing. When White writes about New England in the winter, Maine, the quiet magnitude of the forest and the pleasant life, I recognize it. The immediate happiness, the opportunity for sitting next to a fire and listening to music, true recognition of the love in my boyfriend’s eyes, regardless of how I look in heels and jewelry (though of course I do indulge from time to time).
In all reality, I think, I’m happier in the quieter life. In the mountains of North Carolina, the steady hum outside my window at night of insects and the occasional dog barking, my pup sleeping peacefully at my feet. My happiness in what I read and write, in true friendship, in the changing color of the leaves. I like the not trying. I did it for a while in high school. I guess I could do it if I wanted to. But really, I’m happier wearing the softer colors and Danskos and hiking along the Blue Ridge. Of course, a wicked beach house in Chatham would be nice. Enough money to do whatever I please. Traveling to Versailles. Who wouldn’t? But at the end of the night, I’d trade all money in the world for a satisfaction deep in my heart. I’d rather hear the crunch of leaves under my sneakers than the pavement under heels. I’d rather be free from others’ expectation and live up to my own.