"you have an amazing lifestyle..."

"... one I can only aspire to one day."

That's what a friend said to me recently. And, to be honest, it left me a bit dumbfounded.

You see, I currently live in a country that is steeped in natural beauty and, because I simply love to hike, I try to head out for a walk nearly every weekend. Sometimes I'll venture up a mountain with my husband but, oftentimes, I'll go for a forest walk on my own. Walking helps me recharge, it helps me get back in tune with nature, it helps me re-balance. And because where I live isn't my birth country, I share my photos on facebook for friends, but mostly for family as they enjoy staying up to date with my mini adventures.

And that's why my friend said to me "You have an amazing lifestyle, one I can only aspire to one day." She always saw my photos and craved that in her life.

But that's just a little bit of my story. That just shows a very small part of my life. What about the rest of my life and my lifestyle? If she knew about it all, do you think she would still say she thought it amazing?

Yes, I live in a beautiful country but doesn't every country have its own unique natural beauty? Is it not possible for most of us to get out into nature? Sure it might not be on your doorstep, but you can drive to a forest to enjoy a walk or you can catch a train to explore a new town.

I have spent more years than I care to remember not being able to get out and enjoy nature and hiking because my Crohn's Disease/Colitis was so active. So for many a weekend I'd be lying on the sofa, often in pain.

Now that I can get out and about and enjoy life again, I'm not gonna let it pass me by. I appreciate the simple act of walking, the simple act of getting out in the car to visit another city or town, that so many people take for granted. I know what it's like to be ill and, while I'm able, I plan to grab life by the proverbials.

So, I wonder... if my friend knew the whole story would she really think my life is amazing? The days and weekends I spent on the couch, my regular visits to hospital to get pumped with drugs in an attempt to keep my body healthy, do you think she'd aspire to that one day?

Here's the thing. We can never know everything about someone else's life so how can we know if it's amazing and perfect and something to aspire to one day? I've shared one example of the many bumps on my life's journey. But there are many more. Just like you'll have bumps along your life-path too.

What we see on facebook, on social media, and what we hear when we meet up with friends is, usually, the good stuff, the experiences that bring a smile to your face, the fun times. 

But what we tend to forget and overlook is that we're only see the tip of someone's life. We can and will never know everything, both good and challenging, that lies beneath the surface.

So rather than aspire to someone else's lifestyle; rather than looking across the fence and wrongly believing that the grass is greener on the other side, why not water your own patch of grass?

If you aspire to the outdoor lifestyle of your friend, then create it for yourself. Appreciate the natural beauty that's already surrounding you, if that's what you really want. Stop standing at the fence and looking across to someone who waters their grass. Water your own. It takes a bit of effort but in the end it'll be just as green, if not greener, than that of your friend's.

Sometimes, we're so busy wishing for another person's perceived lifestyle that before we know it we've wasted our own life, wanting what can never be ours.

You've gotta live your life. You're the only one who can and it's the only one you have, at present. So don't take it for granted, take it with gratitude. Make the most out of your life, live every day as if it's your last and be grateful for everything you have in your life, the good stuff as well as the challenging stuff because, here's the thing, it's your stuff.

The good stuff creates amazing memories in your head and beautiful laughter lines on your face...  the challenging stuff makes you stronger and helps you grow and expand beyond what you would have ever believed possible if you hadn't tried. Let your life tell a story of a life lived not a life missed or passed by.

You have to live your own life. No-one can live it for you and you cannot live anyone else's. So make the most of what you have, be thankful, and be at peace.

In theory we all know that what we see, when we glance into the lives shared by those around us on social media, tends to be only half of the picture.

And yet, in practice, so many of us get caught out, looking at a friend’s holiday snaps or excursions or family togetherness, and craving what they apparently have – the seemingly perfect life lived in perfect surroundings, filled with joy and happiness.

Why do we crave what others apparently have? Why can we not be grateful for the life we chose to experience?

That’s what we’re asking the angels for guidance on.

Viv xx