Sunday, June 17, 2007

Keeping up with the Joneses

In reading my hometown newspaper the other day, I stumbled across the engagement announcement of a girl I went to high school - and college - with. She was the oh-so-popular girl - beautiful singing, perfect dancing, brilliant, funny, and nice. Everyone loved her, always. We were never really close - I just wasn't that cool, I suppose. So when my dad unfolded the paper to show me her engagement announcement, I only gave it a half-assed perusal.

I didn't expect it to upset me.

There, in the picture, gorgeous as ever, with the enormous diamond glistening on her hand, she was staring out of the paper at me with her cheshire-cat grin. I read the announcement. She's living in *my* city, living near *my* old neighborhood, marrying a fabulously wealthy financial advisor at one of those companies with the made-up names, living in a ginormous condo in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city. Damn stupid rich people and their damn stupid rich lives. I bet they have some sort of crazy yuppie car and hideous yuppie friends and a freaking chihuahua. I bet they go to all the hot bars and eat at expensive restaurants every night. I bet they're ridiculously happy together. They look ridiculously happy.

Why am I so jealous?

(When we're together), Husband and I are very happy. We're not rich. We're not pretty. We're not perfect. Our lives are busy, and messy. We have two small children, and we practically never have sex. We don't go out. Ever. Sometimes we fight. But despite all that, or maybe because of all that, I like our life together. I'm happy with him. I think he's happy with me. I don't particularly want a different husband, or a different job, or a different life. So again - why so jealous?

Is there always this need to be better? Why can't we ever just be satisfied with what we have? How come I can't be happy for someone else without feeling jealous that they have it better than I do? Is this some sort of personal problem that I have, or does everyone get that feeling in their gut when someone else gets the big break? Why is well enough never good enough?

4 comments:

julie said...

Eh, she probably reeks of cigarettes from bar-hopping, and her bunyans kill her at the end of the day from tottering around in pointy designer shoes.

Sorry.

I think (hope) it's natural sometimes to wonder what my life would be like if I had taken a different path. Maybe it's even positive. I usually decide, like you, that I'd rather be where I am. Working through the jealousy can help me reaffirm my choices.

How's that for a positive spin on my pure cattiness?

Ninotchka said...

Well, #1 perception is not always reality. And #2, it's good of you to study why this bothers you so. Because this is all about you and not about how good she has it.

That said, we all fall prey to feelings of jealousy from time to time. The key is to not spend so much time dwelling on it.

A favorite (paraphrased) quote comes to mind:

There will always be people that have more (are better/prettier/richer/luckier than we are) and there will always be people that have (and are) less.

Just a fact of life. But I hear ya. For instance, I regularly envy people who are thinner than me. Like for real. But hey, I'm working on it.

Jane said...

Bunions! I'd love to think she has bunions. She always had big feet.

As to why this bothers me so much, I do wonder about that. I have that "next big thing" syndrome. I always feel like the next big thing will be the one that makes me happy. And it never quite seems to get there. Which leads to the $64,000 question-

Why is it never enough? Why can't I just be happy where I am, with what I have?

julie said...

Bunions. Sigh. Why do I always misspell words on the English teacher's blog? I'm really not as stupid as I sound on the computer. Honest.