Happiness is not limited. Happiness is not a lifeboat on the Titanic in which there are only a finite amount of seats. Happiness, bliss and joy are the ocean itself. It is never ending. We can all jump in and enjoy it. When you are swimming and playing next to me, it doesn’t take anything away from my fun. In fact, when you kick around and splash, the waves make the water delightful for me.
Having you next to me in the ocean makes it even more delectable.
This is how I feel about success, accomplishments, progress and just about everything. I truly get excited when my friends have wonderful things happen for them. I have never understood how anyone would feel otherwise.
In my previous life as a full-time mom, I encountered this problem on a daily basis. While I was surrounded by many positive and like-minded women, I also came across the dreaded frenemy all too often.
I still remember a day, weeks before my move to New York City. I ran into a woman I considered a friend while shopping at Publix (which by the way is one of the three things I miss the most about Florida),. This friend, Maggie, is from New York and we often talked about how much we both love Manhattan and how wonderful it would be to live there. I was so excited to see Maggie (obviously not her real name) and share my great news. I had finally made it happen. I had never lived outside of Florida and truly thought I would live my whole life in the same state I was born. Circumstances in my life seemed to prohibit me from even thinking about moving out of state. It wasn’t something I was upset about. It was just fact. It never even occurred to me that I would have the opportunity to make a change.
So, here I am standing at the entrance to the produce department in front of the beautifully merchandised oranges, excitedly telling Maggie about my plans.
I found an apartment.
I signed a lease.
I am weeks away from fulfilling a dream which previously felt as realistic as waking up next to Rob Lowe after spending the night partying with our friends at the post-Oscar Vanity Fair party.
I finished my enthusiastic narrative of my plans and waited for a response from Maggie. You know those milliseconds when you don’t even realize you are processing a thought until afterwards? That is what it was like. The look on her face was bizarre. I was expecting her to react how I would. I expected the reaction I have when a friend tells me she is wearing her skinny jeans for the first time in 10 years or another friend tells me her child was accepted into his top choice school. Delight! Excitement! Joy!
Well, my friends! That is not the reaction I got. You see, unless we are talking about Meryl Streep or Dame Maggie Smith, most of us can’t hide our initial feelings. Oh yes, you can rearrange your face quickly and compose yourself into what you want to present. However, we all have a tell. Maggie had a tell. She was disgusted, annoyed, bothered. I was really thrown and confused.
Of course, because I am an over-analyzer when it comes to my own behavior, I thought about that exchange for a long time afterwards.
Did I come off as if I was bragging? I don’t think so.
Was I rubbing something in her face? Of course not.
I was so thrilled to tell Maggie because I assumed she would understand how BIG this was for me.
The lesson that continues here is that I often forget a very important fact. Not everyone views the world the way I do. Unfortunately, there are so many people in this world who have a difficult time celebrating for others because they immediately think of themselves. Often, they think we have just taken something from their treasure chest.
Life is not a zero sum game. When I am happy, it does not take away from your opportunities.
After an over 20 year career as a stay at home mom, I am jumping head first into a professional environment filled with successful amazing intelligent accomplished women. (Yes, I admit it. I have a total girl crush on these incredible women I meet on a daily basis in New York City).
I am happy to report I have already met a number of other women who see the world from a positive angle as well. Not everyone subscribes to this positive theory yet but I will not let the potential work frenemies deter me. I will focus on the women I meet who get it. The women who know that we can be our own worst enemies or our own strongest allies. I strive to be the ultimate optimist and believe women who think as I do can come together and we can light the way. We will show others and especially our daughters that sharing our strengths only magnifies the possible success.
Indeed! There is room for all of us in this wondrous miraculous ocean!