The wrong shade of green

By Doug8888 via Creative Commons

Green is good, right?

My daughter’s school is a Green School because it recycles and uses energy-efficient lightbulbs. My community is green because it collects our yard waste and gives it back to us as compost.

I am green.  It’s not so good.

I’m a pot threatening to boil over with jealousy.

Jealous of my always-thin friends with their frequent flyer miles and their gifted children.

Jealous of my Facebook friends who post excessively about their good lives:

  • Going to the spa today for a much-needed day of pampering.
  • Look at the bling my hubby surprised me with — isn’t he cute?
  • Sipping cocktails on the beach at sunset.

Jealousy or craving or desire or whatever label you want to slap on it. I have it and I don’t like it at all.

It gets so that it’s all I can focus on: Let’s see who else has what I don’t have.

Last year at this time we were preparing for a weeklong vacation in Arizona. We had a great week of playing, eating and drinking in a desert oasis. While we could barely afford the vacation, we agreed we needed it to get a break from the gloom, despair and stress of life in Detroit. We took two other small trips on the cheap last year just to recharge our batteries. The thing is, the gloom hasn’t lifted. The batteries are always running low on juice. The finances have not been fruitful and multiplied.

This year I am stressing out my husband and myself with my endless litany of wishes and desires:

Let’s take a vacation. Let’s just get away for a weekend. Let’s go out to dinner. Let’s get play tickets. Let’s plan a road trip this summer.

There is no vacation on the horizon. We have an idea of one we want to take but the reality is we don’t know if it is financially possible or responsible at this point.  We are in deep waters paddling to stay afloat. We see the horizon over the high waves and we intend on keeping it in our sights.

So we soldier on, despite sore limbs, aching muscles and that damned unrelenting craving for the good life.

I try to soothe myself by saying: Maybe in my next life I’ll be rich and beautiful.

Then I think: Maybe in my next life I’ll be living in a Third World countryas a dung beetle.

I’ve always suffered from excess envy. My parents were frugal and penny-pinching. As an adult I’ve generally made enough money to get by but not enough to ever be indulgent. I had one good decade in which I could splurge and just get a taste of what the good life might be about.

When I agreed to quit my amazingly well-paying job with great benefits to become a stay-at-home mother, I clearly was under the influence of strong intoxicants.

Even though I know I did the right thing, “right” doesn’t always feel good on the inside. It doesn’t taste as sweet as “easy.”

I wish I could flush this excessive craving from my system. I do know I have many things for which to be thankful and I need to focus on that more than the many things I do not have. I know material things do not guarantee happiness. I know it. I know that my own personal peace and happiness have come from things that cannot be bought. They’ve come from months and months of practice and dedication. I know I don’t need all the things I crave. The craziest part of all? I know I would be even happier with less.

Why can’t I be happy for everyone for their great good fortune? Why must I simmer in my juices of anger and envy when someone else has something I do not?

This is my great challenge.

7 thoughts on “The wrong shade of green

  1. Oh hon, don’t be too hard on yourself. You are human and that Envy Monster is one super bad arsehole.

    My trick, and I know this is probably gonna sound very Oprah-ish. Try and think of 3 things that you are grateful for before going to bed. It works for me. Most of the time.xoxo
    .-= Brenda´s last blog ..Things I have learned. So far. =-.

  2. I don’t think there is a person on the planet that doesn’t at some time wish their life was different. And I think it is one of the great challenges of life to be happy with our own fates. But, if we all were, then there would be nothing to strive for…

  3. “The craziest part of all? I know I would be even happier with less.”

    That’s what you said. And I believe it. Who needs all that stuff??

    Somehow, I know in the long run, my family is going to be much happier without the frills and pretty decorations.

    And to those FB friends with their fancy posts – I say “What goes around, comes around”.

    Thanks for your post. I appreciated it.

  4. I know the feeling.-sigh- But instead of wishing I had all that, I tend to belittle those people & what they have. I think it’s an ass-backwards way of being jealous.
    It is true, though, that the rich get richer & the poor get poorer.
    But, we are blessed. Even if we don’t get what we want, we usually have what we need. (Isn’t that a Rolling Stones song? lol)
    We are also blessed to have all found each other through blogging. Who would have thought 10 years ago or more, that we could have such connections with so many people all over the world.
    I still could use money & a nice vacation but a little peace & quiet & chatting with my bloggy buddies gives my heart a smile:) (((HUGS)))
    .-= Collette´s last blog ..To Make a Short Story Long… =-.

  5. Brenda: I am working on the gratitude thing. I have many blessings. I just need to SEE them.
    Libby: I know, right? So many beautiful rich and miserable people in the world.
    Jennifer: Thanks for visiting and appreciating. You are right about frills and decorations, they are just that.
    Collette: Thank goodness for blogging. I would not have survived stay-at-home-motherhood-crazyville without it. Hope to meet you someday at a D-town meet-up.

  6. Oh, man. I’m jealous of everyone who has it easy. My only solution is that we’re grabbing our fun where we can.

    We’re still scrabbling and scrounging, I shop only on clearance and we’ve cut back on everything, but from time to time, a few bright pennies drop in our lap and we enjoy them.

    Do *something* for yourselves. A little day trip. A touristy overnight near home. Maybe a luxurious breakfast out instead of a dinner? I don’t know. Failing that? Get a couple of candles from Target, make a good pasta dinner, put on your favorite music, and dance in your own backyard at sunset. Wait, you’re up northwards, right? Dance in your candlelit kitchen, then.

    Hang in, sister.
    .-= Coco´s last blog ..I Once Fought A Dragon Over Words =-.

  7. Yes, yes, yes. You were just honest about what so many of us feel. And the good thing? Is that you’re aware of it, and I know, know, know, you truly are happy for other’s good fortune, you just want it to be easier to have it yourself.

    I live in an upper-class suburb in San Diego (we rent) and I am constantly envious of how other families who own their homes are going to the Bahamas for Spring Break and drive the Acura SUV and have stock options.

    I just DON’T have those things and I want to not worry so much about getting by.

    It’s a challenge for me too.

    .-= San Diego Momma´s last blog ..The Many-Dimensioned Reasons Why I Am Awesome =-.

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