Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Saturday 5 April 2014

My Life is Harder than Your Life

It is! I promise you!

You don’t believe me? Then walk a mile in my shoes.

Here’s the problem with that: Twenty minutes later you’ll be a  mile away and you’ll have my shoes, and there’s a good chance neither one of us will be any better off.

It’s all nonsense.

This is by way of saying that people sometimes say stupid things, and when they’re famous people and they say those things out loud to journalists, they leave themselves wide open to mockery.

Gwyneth Paltrow a couple of weeks ago on Twitter
Gwyneth Paltrow gave a press interview last weekend in which she said that her life was harder than that of other working mothers because she didn’t have a 9 to 5 job, and being on set fourteen hours a day made having routines difficult. Gwyneth Paltrow had a bit of a moan, before going home to the compound she has bought so that she and Chris Martin can maintain their family while living separately since their ‘conscious uncoupling’.

For all her looks, fame, money, jet-setting lifestyle, I wouldn’t swap places with Gwyneth Paltrow. I wouldn’t walk a mile in her shoes. They wouldn’t fit. They would be uncomfortable, painful even, and a mile is a bloody long way to walk in ill-fitting shoes.

She can call it a ‘conscious uncoupling’, but every divorce is miserable. We can envy her beauty, but who wants the scrutiny of the paparazzi or the disappointment of being an aging beautiful woman, or the threat of becoming irrelevant because you’re an aging beautiful woman.

Everybody’s life is hard.

We all have good days and we all have bad days. But we all share the same condition. We are all human. We all have to deal with the hands we are dealt and we all do it the only way we can. Yes, we get to make choices, but based on what?

Most of the choices we make are based on our personalities.

Most of what we do is based on the nature of who we are.

There’s a certain amount we can do to control that, some of the time. We can learn to be our best selves, but we are still ourselves.

Privilege is no guarantee against unhappiness, nor for that matter is it a guarantee against stupidity.

Celebrities are in the spotlight so much, so often, with our twenty-four hour rolling media that they’re going to make a mess of things once in a while, and they're going to make arses of themselves. Thank heavens that you and I get to make arses of ourselves in private for the most part. If Gwyneth Paltrow had made this statement to one of her friends, said friend would, no doubt, have nodded in sage agreement, because her friends move in the same circles that she does.

I could turn to one of my friends and say, “That Gwyneth Paltrow, she’s a bitch, isn’t she? What the hell does she know about having a tough life? Has she ever tried finding affordable childcare? When was the last time she struggled to pay the electric bill?” No doubt my statement would be met with the same sort of acceptance, because of our shared experiences.

My life isn’t lived in front of the World, and my words aren’t recorded by the media, and no one is judging me... OK, plenty of people are judging me, but most of them know me, and one or two of them might have a point. For the most part, they also like me.

Gwyneth Paltrow says something as daft and unguarded as this, and we stop liking her, because our liking for her in the first place wasn’t based on any actual knowledge of her character.

It’s all nonsense.

My life is harder than your life.

No it isn’t. 

Life is hard. Every life is hard.

We should all remember that, and try to be kinder to one another.

We don’t always manage it of course.

I know I don’t.

On the other hand, to all you single working women struggling to find good, affordable childcare, and trying to scrape the money together for those big winter fuel bills, if it makes life any better, feel free to have a rant about any celebrity you like, especially if your uncoupling wasn’t so much ‘conscious’ as a miserable bloodbath.


  1. If she thinks she has it hard, she should try cleaning the oven - both inside and out. As a man, I have to say, it is flipping hard! Next time it needs doing I will just buy a new oven. phew! ps; Love your blogs.

    1. I feel your pain. I use an oven cleaning service once a year. Not hugely expensive and TOTALLY worth it!

  2. I saw a very wise TED Talk on this theme not long ago. “Hard is not relative. Hard is hard...We need to stop ranking our hard against everyone else’s hard to feel better or worse."

  3. Every life is hard...I just had to empty the fly trap (a necessity on a northern Idaho ranch) and came to the realization that the dripping fly bait smells like dead elk butts. This realization was made as I sprinted across the yard with it dribbling onto my unsuspecting dog who was running with me and now smells like dead elk butts despite the bath I had to give her when I really need to be writing. Yes, every life is hard. Funning aside (well, not really, this experience was not fun, but I'll laugh at it anyhow), I understand your point. We need to remember to practice conscious kindness, coupled or uncoupled, smelling like roses or not.