You're The Same, Just Like Everyone Else

Growing up, I was friends with two really interesting twins. While I was rocking a mushroom cut and Club Monaco sweatshirt, these two girls were shaving their heads and wearing lots of mesh, camo and elaborate necklaces with snake charms. While my mom gave me tylenol for a headache, their mom practiced Reiki and ancient herbal medicines to curb body pains. My home was a standard homage Pottery Barn, their house was a collection of Star Wars collectibles, exotic pets and crystals the size of pre-schoolers. Sleepovers were an exercise in restraint as I practiced acting nonchalant as they fed their pet snakes and meditated before meals.

As a teenager, I was constantly in awe of these two girls and everything that they did. One started dating a construction worker who was working on our school, (and who was also 10 years older) the other twin took up rock climbing before rock climbing became a thing we all started doing. I was lamenting to my mom one day about my COMPLETELY AVERAGE AND ORDINARY LIFE AND DOESN’T ANYONE UNDERSTAND THAT I’M UNIQUE TOO?, when she gently reminded me that everyone is unique- the only common factor between all of us is that we desperately want to be different. I’m reminded of this simple statement anytime I’m on the verge of having a breakdown and it makes me sane again. We may experience life in different ways, but there are five hallmark  life moments that everyone human goes through. You think you are the only one who has ever experienced them, but I promise- you are not. I find more comfort in this idea of shared life moments than I find in a bottle of vodka. And that’s saying something.

1. The “I’m-so-in-love-with-this-person-no-one-else-has-ever-experienced-a-love-like-this” moment.

This moment usually hits during the first phases of a new love. The whole “I want to be with you all the time and even your annoying habits are so cute to me” stage, is one you usually keep to yourself because you don’t want to smugly draw attention to this BRAND NEW KIND OF LOVE  THAT NO ONE ELSE HAS EVER FELT. So you keep this one inside, like a little gem that gives you a glow anytime your magnificent partner is mentioned. You ignore the fact that this moment sounds a bit like a really bad Michael Bolton song from the 80′s and go to bed at night alternating between hoping your friends find this type of love and wanting to keep it all to yourself. And if you are one of the truly lucky people, this moment hits after thirty years of marriage. If that happens, you should be writing cards for Hallmark.

2. The ” I-am-never-going-to-be-happy-again” moment.

Maybe the “I want to be with you all the time and even your annoying habits are so cute to me” stage ended and you are mourning the loss of it. Or?  Maybe the entire relationship ended. Or maybe your dog died, you lost your job, you got divorced, your hairdresser accidentally gives you a perm or someone close to you gets sick. Maybe your partner cheats. Maybe you do. Regardless of the cause- the reaction is still the same. The undeniable feeling that you are experiencing a level of sadness that no one else can possibly relate to. As someone who battles with depression, this moment has certainly kicked my ass.  More than once. And has led me down paths I wouldn’t wish on anyone. When I feel this type of moment coming on, I immediately start chanting “Sandra Bullock, Sandra Bullock” because if she can find out her husband cheated on her  WITH A BILLION WOMEN the day after she won the Oscar AND he saluted Hitler AND his claimed she wasn’t a minx in the sack TO HOWARD STERN AND MILLIONS OF PEOPLE and she can make it through? I can make it through my day too.  And you can too.

3. The “Am I still fun?” moment.

You quit doing tequila shots. Or maybe you quit drinking altogether. Maybe you got married, had a child, adopted a dog. Maybe you just quit finding costume parties fun. Or you took up yoga. Or subscribed to Psychology Today when your friends are only reading Us Weekly. There will come a moment in your life where you will panic-  thinking that your fun days are behind you and you are wondering who is going to enjoy your company now. This is a growing pain, stretching into the person you are becoming, sometimes requires a look back at who you were. It’s easy to remember the good parts- how well you danced when fueled by vodka, the all night conversations, the ability to backpack on a whim- but let yourself be reminded of the hard parts too- the hangovers, the almost always empty bank account, the crushing regrets and hurts that accompanied the life you grew out of. There is a reason you moved on- you had a better place to get to. Just like everyone else.

4. The “My parents are getting old”  moment.

For some, this one hits softly- a gentle realization hinted at by daily conversations and the sight of grey hairs making their first appearance. For me? This hit me like a semi truck. Carrying a load of cement bricks. My mom has an infectious laugh and a sense of style suited more for California than Alberta. She has a better shoe collection than me and is always calling herself fabulous. So when one day she told me she needed her glasses in order to read a message on her phone, I honestly thought she was joking. But she wasn’t. She needed glasses. And I realized that my very young at heart mom was not as young as what I thought. It made me feel scared in a way I had never felt before.

5. The “Is this it?” moment.

This moment usually comes out of a crisis, encouraged by a bad day or maybe just a quiet day- prone to too much self reflecting and not enough action. Or maybe it’s the complete opposite- it comes on a day where you hit an important goal, celebrated a meaningful milestone. And you are are left with this feeling of … is this what my life is going to be? A series of these days strung together, month after month, year after year.  And then there’s this feeling of- what else could I have done? And you play the dangerous “what if” game, taking you back to dates turned down, travels not explored, careers you never followed through on. You usually keep this moment to yourself, because let’s face it- it’s as uplifting as a documentary on Charles Manson.  But the truth is, this moment means you are alive. That you are human. That you are reflecting on your life. And chances are, that the feeling passes- the day ends and you wake up the next day thankful for the little things that make your life yours. You may not have traveled to Africa, but you have a life you earned and one to be proud of.


26 comments to You’re Different, Just Like Everyone Else

  • Kez

    Awesome post :)
    I often remind myself over and over again that I’m not the only new parent in the world and certainly not the first – the way in which my life has changed has been huge and I try really hard not to be obnoxious about it ;)

    • admin

      New parents totally blow my mind. Honestly. I’ve watched so many of my friends dive into parenthood with such grace that I’m in awe. Congratulations to you!

  • great post. not sure it’s what I needed right now, sort of dealing with three of the points you make right now, but you are right, shared moments are what eventually gets you through all of this. thanks xx

    • admin

      Petra- I hope at least one of the moments is a good one. My thoughts are with you, some of these babies are challenging to deal with, so to deal with three at a time is a lot. Good luck, girl!

  • The first 3 point are something I think about regularly, and they’re what makes me bored of human beings.

  • Completely true. Having been through so many of these myself, and now finding myself a working professional with children, a mortgage, and student debt, it’s easy to scoff at the “younger” people who are going through these right now. But it’s also a chance to think back, remember what it was like to feel that way, sympathize, and then be grateful for what I have and to not have to do those things again. Hopefully.

  • Bridget

    My weekend has been filled with #4. I’m so glad I’m not alone in this at the what I think is a young-ish age of 30. (Okay, 30 in a few weeks.) I didn’t think I’d be dealing with hospitals and realizing I had to ask doctors direct questions for another 20 years. So thank you. <3

  • Just want to let you know, not all of us have gone through all five of those. I haven’t.

  • This is wonderful. I love this post. You’re wonderful. That is all.

  • Sid

    Oh thank heavens I’m not the only person who thinks, “AM I still fun?”

  • love this post so much. pretty sure i have gone through all of those moments and then some. and i totally ask “am i still fun??” more often than i should, oy. adulthood you fickle fickle thing you.

  • This is so right on. I love it.

  • This is my favorite. I’m still struggling with my Am I Still Fun moment.

  • #4 keeps me up at night.
    Worst. Ever.

  • It’s so true. There are really are moments like this that we all feel, at some point. Every single one of us. Knowing that other people feel this way helps me feel not quite so all alone.

  • SM

    I needed to read this post today. A great reminder that I’m not alone in how I’m feeling about what’s going on in my life.

    Also, #4 was difficult for me, too.

  • This blog is awesome. I love the style of writing, like your almost yelling at us but in a very comical way. I can relate to this whole post, and the story in the beginning was very captivating. The title made me think and wonder what the post would be about before I even read it. Great work Brandy, I’ll definitely be back to visit again.

  • Wonderful post.
    I think it helps to remind yourself that you’re not the only one who has felt like this/going through this. Especially the bad stuff. It helps to put it in perspective.
    And I’ve been having a lot of ‘my parents are getting old’ moments lately and I don’t like it. My Dad is retiring next year, so on top of all the little things like the nearly all-white beard and the forgetting and not hearing things, this fact not only says that he’s getting old, but it screams that he is old!

  • Awesome post – so much truth in so short a space of time!!


  • I had that #4 moment when my mom came to visit me about a month ago. I was picking her up at the airport and at first glance I thought “That’s not my mom… she’s too old.” But of course it was. I think she looks great and she’s certainly not old, but it was a jolt and I think it made her leaving just a little bit harder than normal.

  • Well….on the topic of #4….may I be so bold as to say that #4 *always* hits like a semi-truck filled with cinderblocks going 100 mph straight toward the bubble in your brain called ‘the reality I have made up about my parents’? Because it hit me like that too. I appreciate that everyone goes through that pain.

    And perhaps everyone else also deals with #6, “And now my parents are gone”.

  • Love this. #4 hit me so hard when my grandma died last autumn. All of a sudden my parents became the oldest people in my life. It was not a good realization.

  • [...] I love this list (from brandyismagic) of five life experiences that everyone will encounter: [...]

  • Jess

    This post made me cry…a bit. :p. You have a knack for hitting the nail on the damn head.

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