Ok, I know it’s December, but I really wanted to start this series in November – that way December will get it’s own.
Hiking the Sandias in snow.
For most of my life I’ve been fixated on this idea of equality. Probably because I grew up with two sisters and uff da (yep, I’m Minnesotan/Norwegian) everything had to be equal or our parents would hear about it. And really everything was to be as equal as possible. Equal attention, equal number of gifts under the tree (probably didn’t outgrown that until last year), equal monies put towards college, equal chance at all school activities, equal praise, equal affection, equal, equal, equal. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to squew this unequalness to my favor, and probably still do but definitely made a fit if it wasn’t the same as what I observed.
And with this mentaily of equalness I equated it to fairness. To be fair it had to be equal. But really, life it definitely not fair; and I’m fortunate for much of what I have in life which is not fair or equal. My perception of equality and fairness has been shifting for a while – at least in what I observed elsewhere in the world and what I observed as fair but unequal treatment. Every situation is different and to be treated equal/same for everything wouldn’t be fair to those involved. But for whatever reason I was hanging on to this idea of equalness in many of my relationships, and truthfully it wasn’t making me all that happy.
I read an article on relationship pitfalls a few months back that really just snapped a lot into place. It was kind of a DUH or of course moment – ‘obviously that makes sense but I just hadn’t been putting it in that perspective’. To paraphrase a lot – if you try to make everything equal in your relationships (romantic, platonic, familial) it’s only a mater of time before it fails. Equality will doom you but fairness will put things in a realistic light. Yikes, I was/am totally (or at least trying to recover) a counter – I counted everything and it never did make me very happy. I thought fairness was being equal. I’m happy to say I was absolutely wrong. Fairness is about seeing the individual or situation for what it is and needs in that time and place.
I started to think back on compromises of fairness – these made me the most happy. For example, we’re both neat people, so C cleans the bathrooms which I gag about doing while he doesn’t mind and I vaccuum and clean floors which I like and he hates. And then those instances of frustration or anger when I was taking tally in my head (people can’t read minds Ingrid) – who did the dishes last, who took the bathroom trash downstairs last, and other really trivial stuff. If there are dishes in the sink just do them, chances are C will do them for me another time when I’m sick or busy. And there are things we are just naturally better at than the other – organizing or fixing the hot water heater. These everyday life tasks I was counting were only making me miserable and probably a miserable person to be around.
In the past few months, I feel happier when I let go of that counting and get something done because I’d like it done and am not waiting around for something to happen or not happen. I’m a grown ass woman who can take care of herself, damnit, I certainly don’t need to wait for someone else to take out the trash in order for me to be happy. I am capable and can get things done. And if it’s already done we can do other fun things! I’ve tried to extend it into other areas of my life as well – just because I called or organized something the last time doesn’t mean I can’t do that again because everyone else has a busy hectic life too. And with friends getting older, starting families, moving away, etc. sometimes you have to be the one to reach out first, second, and sometimes even third or that friendship could fall by the wayside.
Lastly, being fair to myself. Not being hard on myself if I missed a workout or didn’t eat any vegetables all day (gasp! it’s happened – and as an RD I feel assamed). Feeling stretched because I have too many gym memberships – down to two now. Or lame because I didn’t get a blog post up this week. Basically giving myself a break!
Happiness is not about equality but about fairness to all involved. By being fair I feel like a much better balanced version of myself.
Peace and love,