Yesterday I overheard someone (in the supermarket queue) say, ‘It’s ok for her, her life’s totally sorted’.
It sat with me long after I’d left Sainsbury’s.
Can anyone’s life be ‘totally sorted’? What does being ‘sorted’ actually even mean?
Maybe the woman in the queue was talking about a friend who appears to have the best of ‘material’ stuff in place; nice house, fancy car, well-paid job etc. Or maybe she was talking about someone who appears to have her social stuff in place; family life, lots of friends, busy weekends. Or maybe she was talking about someone who appears to be physically well, or mentally well, or both. Or maybe she was talking about someone who appears to have all of the above going for them.
It’s so easy to look at other people’s lives and form an opinion of how ‘sorted’ — or perfect — those lives are. Yet what we’re using to form that opinion of how someone else’s life is (even when we’re very close to that someone) is usually a surface layer. A sheen, a coating, a cloak. A barrier, an armour. A summary, an abbreviation, an edited version. A portrayal, or maybe even a pretence…
Whatever that surface layer looks like, and no matter how authentic it is, underneath— mixed in with wonderful moments of joy, celebration, achievement, happiness and contentment — sits stories of such things as suffering, loss, failure, anger, heartache, despair, frustration and sadness.
Sometimes we have a thinner, more authentic and transparent outer layer than other times, exposing our vulnerabilities, expressing ourselves and sharing both our good and bad experiences and feelings. Sometimes we build a thick, almost impenetrable, wall. A barrier that belies the truths and the closed boxes behind it, sheltering the experiences and feelings that we’ve chosen to — consciously or subconsciously — bury away.
Sometimes things might be going better for us than at other times, but nobody’s life is ever perfect. None of us are ever ‘totally sorted’.
No matter what the woman in the supermarket queue might think.