A Gauge

I follow this childless couple on FB even though I don’t even know them. They are the kind of people who always travel, go out to new restaurants, bars, concerts, etc. The reason I follow them is because I use them as a gauge for my psychological health.

When I see the photos of their adult late-night outings, I always think, “Wow, that’s such a fun place! And they both look amazing. Cool!” And that is healthy.

If I thought, “I wish I could also do that but I can’t because I’m a parent of a small child. This stinks, I hate my life,” that would be a sign that I’m not in the best place psychologically.

If I thought, “yeah, they are having fun but that’s at the expense of the most meaningful thing in life, which is to be a parent,” that would mean I’m doing really poorly and need to start addressing it urgently.


5 thoughts on “A Gauge”

  1. Interesting. I was having dinner with a friend last night and he told me he thinks middle-aged childless couples are the saddest people on earth.

    He’s always struck me as a very psychologically healthy person, though.


    1. The need to feel compassion for people who aren’t asking for it and don’t perceive themselves as very pitiable is never about them but about the person who feels this need. This reminds me of a colleague who told me she feels very bad for me because of my weight. I don’t feel bad about my weight, and nothing in the interactions we’d been having could have led to the discussion of weight. This is when I knew she had an eating disorder, and she did end up in treatment for it shortly after that.


  2. Thanks, that makes sense.

    On an unrelated note, I thought you’d like this painting by a photorealist artist called Catherine Murphy.



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