I live in Chicago, a big, bustling city. However, it is in the Midwest. Because of this, I occasionally drive long distances over rural areas. I love this, seeing the multiple long green rows of leaves, acre upon acre that fly by as you drive. Occasionally, I will see a cow or two huddled under a tree, just chillin’ in the sun, usually chewing away.
On one beautiful summer day two years ago, I saw a group of cows standing under a tree with a few cows lying there in the sun. There was a stream nearby. It was a relaxing and gorgeous scene, filled with colors on a blanket of vivid green. I realized that this is a big portion of what their life was like every day. And then, I got jealous. Really jealous. Jealous. Of. The Cows. ???
I started thinking about what those cows have in their lives. I started ruminating about what a cow’s life must be like. “Boy do they have it easy,” I thought.
The cow gets to stand there in a green field, or lay, and basically picnic all day. He hangs with his friends and has his food brought to him. He can enjoy the beauty of nature. He is totally in the moment — no bills, no anxieties, no work stress, no corporate politics. The cow doesn’t have to go on Weight Watchers or figure out how to make it to the gym in between running errands and going to work. He doesn’t have any issues or problem solving complexities to work out. His or her kids are taken care of. The cow just enjoys life.
Clearly, I was assuming that these cows were not headed to the butcher anytime soon. And even then I thought, they don’t know they will die someday. It is us human animals that have to deal with that complexity … lucky things.
So there it was. I was giving it away. A big red light indicator or a big stop hand that said I needed to figure out a way to make my life more like that of a cow. That’s right: A COW!!!
Fantasies about others’ lives tell us what we need in our own lives.
My life: I needed to make some big changes. So I did. Here’s what I changed:
- I slowed down. I made a commitment to stop a few times a day and practice being more present. I decided to slow down my pace. “Easy Does It” is my mantra I try to remember on most days.
- I decided to spend more time with friends, chilling. I have reconnected with some old friends from high school and college. I try to make time on occasion for a coffee meet or to make a quick call.
- I try to plan things that get me outside so I can enjoy open spaces and the beauty of nature. I started stopping on my runs and sitting by the pond a bit longer, just to take in the sun and the sky (and the cute turtles).
- I realized I needed to allow myself to be cared for by others more. This meant more “yesses” when my husband or other people offered to help, more treating myself to good things.
Follow-up: It is so interesting the things that have come about now that I have become more of a Cowgirl. I am enjoying more of the special moments that make up a good life. I am sleeping better. I’ll admit, my house has gotten a bit messier, but I’m not stressing over it.
I have changed a lot about what I thought I liked in my life. I even bought some bird seed. Now my desk is by the window and I take a break every now and then to watch the birds hop around and listen to them sing. They do have such beautiful colors.
How about you? Do you ever fantasize about what others’ lives are like? It is usually telling you something very important about your own life.