Take comfort in your personal blessings – and don’t tear apart others

Today, it’s snowing along the mid-coast where I live. This morning, I noticed an unsettling trend on Facebook. Because it is snowing today, most schools in my area of the state are closed. Students and teachers have the day off. We certainly all remember the jubilee of a snow day when we were children. I think as quasi-adults, we still get a thrill from them. Snow days are days to bake, never get out of our pajamas, stay home and watch movies. Snow days are unexpected kernels of relaxation.

I think every working adult comes to the abrupt understanding, however, that unless they are a teacher they are most likely not going to be able to consistently count on snow days during their wintertime workweeks. Granted, businesses other than schools certainly close early due to bad weather; some may even call off work in advance if the storm is forecasted to be very bad, such as banks or town offices.

But this morning, a friend’s post showed up in my Facebook newsfeed that irritated me. “Enjoy your snow day,” she wrote, “because 95% of us still have to work.” Her comment was clearly targeting the many mutual friends we share in common, as well as many teachers or those otherwise employed within a school system. In other words, the people lucky enough to enjoy a snow day today.

Wait, I said after I’d read her post, isn’t that kind of petty of her to write? What did she have to be bitter about? Was she looking for an apology from teachers for having the day off when she had to go to work? Was she insinuating that teachers are not as hardworking as her suggested “rest” of the gainfully employed? This situation made me think of the other moments in life where we are made to feel “guilty” about something naturally allotted to us.

Another example: I have a childhood friend who has always struggled with her weight. I am blessed in that I have a normal metabolism and decent genes; I never struggled with maintaining a healthy weight. And yet this friend makes me feel guilty and judged for passing up on dessert or for wanting to eat healthily or for having a bad day — because every woman has one — and whining that I feel bloated and fat. What does she want from me? An apology for not being overweight?

Here’s the deal. I sometimes do the same thing. While I am blessed with a decent metabolism, I am most certainly not blessed with good skin. My friend has struggled with her weight since adolescence while I have struggled with blemishes, blackheads, clogged pores, oily skin and hormonal acne. This same friend who is overweight happens to have perfect skin. I mean, perfect. Creamy and polished and dewy. So when she complains to me about getting a zit, I internally roll my eyes. You want to talk about zits, I think — okay, well I have Orion’s Belt on my left cheekbone right now.

So what to do? We are all guilty of occasionally throwing our baggage onto someone else’s shoulders. We need to remember that our skinny friends can’t help being skinny or that our unblemished friends can’t help their perfect skin. More importantly, we need to remember that teachers don’t make the rules about snow days. Snow days are implemented with only safety in mind — not pajamas, cookies or Netflix marathons. So the next time a teacher celebrates their snow day, be happy for them. You will find your own unexpected blessings in places that you may not have noticed. Humility is a good thing.

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