It's really easy to have the "grass is greener" mentality.
I find myself struggling with that a lot. We live in a way that's different from most of the people that we know. For our entire relationship, either Carson or I have been in school, and that's our plan for the foreseeable future. Since it's been that way since the beginning, it's just a part of life for us. Most days, I get to see Carson for only 10 or 15 minutes (and often it's the 10 or 15 minutes before I rush out the door at 6am so it's not really TIME), and that's hard, but it's also very normal.
We've had a few conversations about this recently, because we've caught ourselves in the mindset of thinking that we deserve to live our lives one way, when really, we forget that we're in a different place. And we don't DESERVE to live a certain way just because we think we should, since the world doesn't actually revolve around us (darn).
Being in the student phase of life while lots of people around us have moved on can be frustrating. Our free time isn't quite as free; our wallets aren't quite as open; our time together is often short and... not sweet, just time enough to say "How was your day, did you have time to do the dishes? No? I was at work/school all day please do them". And that's sometimes life. I would document that more often, but neither of us are in the mood for taking a picture in the midst of an argument about WHO ATE ALL THE PICKLES. Which hasn't actually happened, but totally would because we only fight about things that matter, and pickles are obviously very rare and hard to come by and that's a worthy argument.
It was a little easier when we were in the bubble of being in college. Our friends had classes at random times, tiny little budgets and crappy cars, just like we did. And now, lots of people we know have set schedules (we have never once had one so I feel like this would actually be weird for us) and paychecks that are both regular and decent.
We are provided for, and of course well off compared to a large portion of the world, but sometimes we see what people around us have or are able to do and wonder why we don't. Why do they get more free time? Oh right, school. Why do they get to go on weekend trips anywhere and we barely see each other on weekends? Oh yes, school. Why do they have two cars and we have one and it's old and doesn't have air conditioning? Oh yes, school (and really, it runs fine, it's just really ugly at this point).
It's very easy to look at the people around us and assume that they don't struggle like we do. And they might not in EXACTLY the same way, but I've learned that everyone has insecurities.
We easily overlook the fact that we are in this stage of life for a really specific reason. For some reason, God put a LOVE of higher education inside Carson. He walks to school reading a book (this is true - I haven't witnessed it but I have friends who have passed him somehow holding his book and journeying to school - don't bother mentioning safety) and spends his free time reading books and has piles of books in the basement and piles of books under the bed and shelves of books all over and books on the table all the time.
I digress, but God gave him not just a love but an unquenchable thirst - a passion - for learning, and he's been given the opportunity to pursue that. And not just to pursue it but to not have to pay for it, which is such a blessing, because we don't have to worry about that. In so many ways, we have been blessed in the life we lead, the very life we aren't always thankful about.
God provided a great house that was bigger than we needed, and we're able to use it to host people every week. We have amazing friends and a wonderful community within a church that exceeded our expectations. We have a car that has miraculously lasted us 4.5 years, taken us on many trips, without needing major work. We've been able to see family several times since we live a little closer, we have never missed a rent payment, and I work in a place that gives me great benefits and flexible hours for when Carson does get a free evening.
When we look at the hand God HAS dealt us, it's easy to see that we are actually very blessed and quite fortunate. When we look at the lives He's given other people, we see what we don't have. That's a convicting thought, to realize that in our very noses are blessings far better than we deserve, but we're complaining about them, sad because we aren't "successful" by our definition. In reality, as Christians we shouldn't be making that definition up ourselves. Our hope is in Christ. Our lives are secure in Him. On top of that, we don't want for anything.