We have all experienced wishing to be anywhere else from where we presently are. It is amazing how attractive the tiny cubicle at work seems when you are waiting in the queue for a root canal in the dentist's office. And when your desk is buried under pesky filing chores, or mundane, mind numbing data entry, suddenly, you are inspired to iron shirts, or weed flower beds. Just goes to prove that it is all relative. The general distastefulness of a task is relative to the discomfort level of other tasks. Basically, human beings would like the easiest way out of a situation, one involving the least amount of drama, fuss, and bother, yet the one that yields the greatest rewards....Yep, we are readily bribed, and politicians take full advantage of it. But back to the premise....We are very good at thinking of a dozen and one things we would rather be doing, or a dozen and one other places we would rather be.
When working full time, I was always frustrated by the mountain of chores and projects at home, which I simply did not have the physical time to pursue and complete. Every single free afternoon, or unscheduled weekend, resulted in a mountainous "to do" list mocking me at every turn. I would fantasize about having the luxury of time to knock that list down to a manageable level, actually find the dust bunnies hiding in the dark corners. I could weed out the clothing items, packed away for future reference, which actually could be carbon dated at this point. I could shuttle the stuff to Good Will or Salvation Army or Amvets. I could actually see open spaces in my home again.....Funny thing is that it hasn't worked out this way at all. You are afraid to start involved projects, never knowing if you will receive a call for interview. Admittedly, having your phone with you at all times, and in all situations, is simply not practical. It is necessary to have internet access, to respond to inquiries for further documentation promptly. Sometimes, entire days pass by and you realize that you have only been able to leave the computer to go to the bathroom.....Lots of contacts have been made, but you really don't have anything productive or tangible to show for the time or the effort. On several occasions, I have gotten up extra early, in order to do all the email responses, submit applications, and follow up on applications in progress, and hopefully, still have a goodly portion of the day to do other things....Once again, it just doesn't work out that way. I have also said that I would dedicate certain days to my job search functions and use the others for working around the house while waiting for responses. Problem is that you are constantly distracted, wondering if you missed a new posting. Will the posting be filled by the time you come back to the computer tomorrow? Shouldn't you be checking the newest listings, at least? And you get sucked into another round of computer time, responding to emails, submitting applications, follow-up on applications in progress, and another day is shot.
So, the tendency to wish that you were somewhere else, doing something else, isn't unique to working, but applies equally well to the "not working" world. In fact, I find myself longing for a grungy cubicle, a somewhat worn keyboard, and the relative quiet of filing and data entry, over the mountain of stuff at home that I was dedicated to completing. It is almost a paralysis between the two worlds, which I guess is a form of balance, but not, perhaps, the desired balance of work and family life. And I not only find myself wishing to be somewhere else, doing something else, but I find myself wishing I were somebody else.
Funny, when you are in a tight situation, no matter how rational and realistic you might be, it is very hard to prevent yourself from seeing the grass as greener in everyone else's yard. You can be certain, intellectually, that every person has their problems and concerns, and that everyone feels as deeply, and often as overwhelmed, as you feel about your problems. It doesn't stop you from assuming that everything would be hunky dunky if you had their problems instead of your own. How is it that even the hardship of others can look more attractive than your own. My grandma used to say that if everyone put all their troubles in a bag, met in a huge room, threw their identical looking bags onto a large pile, and were given the luxury of taking any other bag home with them; after looking into several different bags, we would all be frantically looking for our own bag of problems to take back home with us. I think that there is a great deal of truth in that, but that is my rational self speaking. My emotional self wants to be the person who seemingly has the charmed existence, without bathtub soap scum, ring around the collar, obnoxious household odors, and whiter than white teeth.
Donna Reed sounds like a good choice. Who wouldn't like to be able to have a sparkling, orderly house, clean, polite, presentable children, whiter than white whites, and be able to do it all in dressed in Chanel, with pearls, like Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis? I want to be the lady, who wouldn't be caught dead leaving her house without makeup and hair done. I want to be the person who can actually do the makeup and hairstyle without looking like a circus clown and take less than an hour to do so. I want to have the clothing that makes me looks sophisticated, competent, confident, not just what fits me and was available on the final clearance rack. I want to look 10 years younger, just like the magazine ads for moisturizer and wrinkle reducers. I want to be the popular one, just like the cheerleaders in high school......Well, maybe not that popular. I want to be a blond bombshell who is respected for my brain....Yeah, right! Anyway, right now, everything seems rosier and greener, everywhere but my own backyard. And I suppose that this is psychologically not where I want to be, if it is my intent to put my best foot forward. So, how to combat the tendency to "coulda, shoulda, woulda" thinking, which is wholly non-productive. Not even really satisfying on a fantasy level. Guess I better find my sack, among all the sacks, and take it home with a bit of gratitude and thanksgiving, and work on the problems contained therein.