I have a part-time job and even though I was asked if I wanted to have more working hours, I chose not to. It'd be a whole different case if we needed money desperately or if it was a different kind of job, but one of the reasons I chose not to have more working hours was that I did that one time and it backfired on me. I'm an introvert at heart and working in a job where I have to serve people (meet lots of people) means that I need plenty of recharging time = alone time. Whenever I feel "tired" of being with people, I tend to just hide in our house and avoid meeting people as best as I can. Having a part-time job means that I have plenty of spare time to do whatever I want to do at home.
Speaking of variables in life, though...my job is the kind of job that doesn't really leave too much "homework", so basically I don't have to be carrying around any mental burdens whenever my shift is over. Other than that, I get along well with my MIL as well as my BILs and SILs. I only have one younger brother and he doesn't give me a headache, either (never had). My dad and FIL have passed away and my mom still lives with my brother and wife, so I don't have to worry about her being on her own. My nephews live far away from us and two of them are already almost grown-ups and we have no pets.
I don't have too many IRL friends, but I do enjoy meeting them every now and then and they're not the type of friends that say bad things about me, so again I don't have to worry about meeting them (esp. since they're done with procreating). So if I look at my life and if anyone comments that he or she envies my "less busier life", then I won't be able to debate it and I'll say that it may be true. But then again this is how I choose my life to be.
I get along pretty well with my coworkers, though I can't say that they're my friends, but I know that they've accepted me as one of the team members despite the fact that I'm a foreigner (I'm SO grateful for this). However, my coworkers are mostly younger than me and we don't really poke into one another's business, so we don't talk about babies and stuff like that.
Next door neighbours? Well, we do say hi to one another whenever we meet, but the interaction never goes beyond that, so we never have any problems with them.
I think whenever people perceive that someone else's life is "less busier" than theirs, it's because they don't know all the other variables in that other person's life. What they see is but a glimpse of an illusion - which may or may not be true. The more variables in life that you have (having to care for a sick, aging parent on top of a bankruptcy and your own health issues for example or even a fight with a friend and problems with neighbour/coworker/brother/sister), the "busier" your life can be if those variables aren't in "good shape". But then again I believe that attitude and personality come into play as well. Something that may be difficult to handle for A may be easy/easier for B. Something that may be difficult may be less "bitter" if you see it from another perspective.*
* I'm NOT trying to belittle life's problems or grief or whatever it is that life may bring and I'm all into embracing whatever you're feeling and then working through them and I'm not trying to say that one should be positive all the time, but just saying that I believe attitude does matter.
I remember when I was translating novels for a publisher, a friend of mine who graduated from the same faculty told me that for her, working like that would be like a torture and that no matter how much someone was willing to pay her to do translating jobs, she would never accept it. I laughed when I read her words, because in my mind, she wasn't mocking my job, but she was stressing on my strength. That I was patient enough to be doing something that she thought would be one of the most boring things on earth.
Anyway, I'm rambling here...I was seriously debating on writing this post or not, but I just couldn't get the itch away LOL!!!