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.