Does your life ever suck? Sometimes, mine does. And I want to talk about it.
I’m not going to sit here and say that I don’t post the good stuff on social media. In fact I love social media because it is, well, social. If I eat an amazing meal, I take pictures of my food. If I celebrate moments and milestones with my beautiful daughters, no doubt I will plaster their gorgeous faces all over the Internet. I take pictures of friend’s birthdays, Red Sox games with my guy or concerts with my besties. I post beach pictures, vacation moments, and milestones. What you don’t see in these snapshots is how overcome I am by it all – the love of being with friends and family, the lightness of being, how very lucky I am.
But then there are the things I don’t post about such as the cruel letter my mother asked to be delivered to me after she died. I didn’t write on my Facebook wall when my sibling threatened my stepfather. I failed to share the moment when I came face to face with a longtime friend who had ghosted me or the test results of a pap smear that didn’t come out so clean. You can’t see the meaningless argument I had with my husband or hear about how my persistent knee pain nags me daily. I don’t create a story for Instagram about being up late at night worrying about being the only one left – my parents both gone now – and afraid of how lonely I really am. Those are the suck moments of my life.
It’s a dirty secret to talk about how life can blow sometimes. No one wants to hear it, or see it on social media. When I see someone peel back the onion of his or her life on Facebook, I am drawn to the story and the cracks in his or her armor. I wonder if others are too.
Life is hard. What does that even mean? I have friends who are trying to find substance in their second acts, others who don’t have time to think because they are bogged down in a job that supports their family. There are friends in complicated relationships and others that are part of dysfunctional families. I know women and men faced with divorce, debt and death. How about my peers who spend day after day taking care of elderly parents? People I love take anti-anxiety medication, drink wine, or go to therapy just to get through the day. Anything to escape the grinding sadness because life can be ugly sometimes.
I didn’t chose to have a crappy family and I cannot tell you why it chose me. I am still working to understand the life lesson. Having a lot of loss can change a person. Well meaning friends will say that my father’s early death, my relationship with my deceased mom and brother’s mental illness made me strong. A better mother. A kind and caring friend. But what if my family and my life with them had sucked less, wouldn’t I still be me? Wouldn’t I love my husband and children with the same kind of ridiculous passion that I do today? I will never be able to answer these questions.
I look so damn happy on social media because I am. I capture the moments where life is full with a #heartsofull. My zest for living happens in these moments. Sharing a drink with a friend, celebrating my girls’ graduations, going to a wedding or a Bar Mitzvah, taking a trip, and watching the sunset. With each experience, I leave the upside down and practice being in the here and now. Life feels abundant. The suck will come again, but it won’t take away from these glorious memories. Celebrating each one, no matter how big or small, lessens the pain of the suck.
When Stacy and I created Living The Second Act, our initial mission was to feature the stories of 40 and 50 year-old women (and men) living their best second acts. What I didn’t realize was that our writers would become a community of people who want to share the non-postable moments. We celebrate their truths and honor their pain. Each writer has taught me a lesson about his or her life. I do not take their personal journey for granted. I am proud that Stacy and I have created a forum where our writers can quell the demons that surround their complicated journeys.
I don’t live the majority of my life in the suck. I like to think I live for the moments when my kids and husband tell me that they love me. I live for the laughter that my friends bring to me – the rock-solid friends that I know won’t ever leave me. I want to continue to travel, eat good food, drink yummy tequila, spend time with my precious daughters and post about all of it. However, I will keep writing about the upside down just like my fellow partners at Living The Second Act.
So if living a life that feels this blessed has to be tempered with a dash of suck, I am good with that.
Mimi L. Golub is the Co-Founder and Co-Editor of Living the Second Act, an online magazine for women in their 40s and 50s who are seeking the truth. She is the author of the someday-to-be-published novel, Boxed In. Mimi is also the writer and a staff editor of From Our Kitchens, a nonprofit cookbook that was released in 2018. In her spare time, Mimi loves to workout, drink tequila, and volunteer her time with many local causes. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband and has twin girls who have left the nest. You can find her former work on: tequilainbed.com