Jealousy is an emotion that comes a little too easily sometimes, and I am, ironically enough, jealous of those who can actually stave it off or who seldom feel the stirrings of being covetous.
Is it jealousy? Or is it envy? Or maybe, it is greed? Or is it a mere human compensation, in the order of breathing through one’s mouth when it’s impossible to do so through your nose– an invariable reaction to the course of something, rather than an ingrained trait or emotion.
I don’t covet dresses –though I have coveted on occasion the way a woman looks lovely and at ease in a dress that is nicely cut. One that flatters her figure, is in a nice color and doesn’t bunch up in between the legs when she takes a step.
I don’t covet many children –apart from mine, that is. But sometimes I can’t help but marvel at the ease with which a mother or a loving nanny will dote on all her charges, and the way they all laugh and play and fight together.
I don’t covet friends –though I have some and I hope they know I appreciate them. But there are times when I watch a group of people I don’t know laughing easily and being way too loud and having fun, looking like a TV commercial and lingering somewhere long, and I wonder what it must be like to be one of them and to have those friends.
I don’t covet many things –I’m fortunate to have what many people, in turn, might think of as a wonderful and enriching life and a great family.
But I can’t help but sometimes wonder what it would be all like, if it all were different: if I were thinner or prettier or bolder or more popular or not married/reproduced; if I were the sparkling laughter that draws a crowd; or the brash and brassy sassy girl who is a bit of a slut; if I were the perennial networking person who knows everyone and whom everyone knows; if I were the always-ready, always-in-control woman who never has a hair out of place.
I guess the short answer is that I wouldn’t be who I am.
But I wonder if I would be there, sitting on the edge of the looking-glass, wishing I were me.
I believe there is an element in all of us that makes us want what we don’t have. The ones who don’t seem affected by jealousy are those who have accepted this facet of our natures and have learned to deal with it.
My husband sometimes says he wishes things had gone differently in our lives as far as our careers and finances are concerned. So do I. However we both also realize that we wouldn’t know the people we currently do and would probably be living someplace else and just wouldn’t be the people we currently are.
It would be nice to be more financially secure but I like who we currently are so I’ll deal with not being well off. At least until I get my career going. Then I expect to have our financial situation improve over the next few years.
I also believe that if you were out with some friends and didn’t have to hurry home for any reason, you would be a part of a group laughing and being loud and having fun for a long period of time.
“The grass is always greener” comes to mind. And we all know that it only SEEMS greener on the other side. I think we all have thoughts like that from time to time.
Many years ago, before I made my conversion, an old friend was explaining to me what the Hindu phrase “from perfection comes perfection” meant. I look in the mirror and see all the imperfections, and I wonder how my life would have been different had things gone otherwise – I’m very far from perfect.
I am, however, exactly what God intends me to be at this instant in time – and therefore, I am perfect. Even when you’re coveting that summer dress, you’re coveting that dress for a reason – perhaps to cause you to write this post, which causes me to type this comment, which someone else gets to read. We are all just what the doctor ordered, and our imperfections are an illusion.
Deep stuff, no? 🙂
We all live the life that our own mind creates according to our reactions to what life hands us – not necessarily the life that is reality… and other people’s realitiy is also usually much different that we, on the outside, percieve it to be…
Ok. I even confused myself with that one… What I really mean, is that most of the time we don’t even see our own lives clearly, much less anyone elses…
very thought provoking post. i often wonder this type of stuff all the time. what if i hadn’t gone to the college i went to? what if i hadn’t become a summer dc intern? what if i hadn’t moved to dc? but to me, they are just questions that i don’t need the answer to. b/c the truth is that i love my life the way it is now. and every little step i took led me to where i am today. and i don’t regret any of those steps.
This is both thoughtful and thought-provoking.
I’m not sure I’d characterize your musings as jealousy, or envy, or greed. I think they’re speculation on what it might be like to be in someone else’s skin, even just for a short time, and I think many of us wonder about that. I know I have. However, I think you’re right in your conclusion – then we wouldn’t be ourselves, we’d be other people.
Wow, this gets deep and starts going in circles pretty quickly, doesn’t it?
I’m making a rare-for-me cameo in my comments, to thank you all for replying. I am impressed with all your comments, and my mind is a little blown.
We’re SO deep! Let’s now toss our heads back and laugh ;o)
Imperfect people are FAR more interesting!
I know that feeling. While I find myself envying or observing others, I make judgments about that person and what they’re life must be. I assume it’s better for them than it is for me and I wish it was better for me, too. Then I realize, they’re probably looking at me and thinking the same thing. (At least, I hope anyway. I’d hate for someone to look at me and think, “How pathetic. I’m so glad I’m not her.”)
Meanwhile, everywhere you go and are seen, someone is looking at you, sitting on the edge of the looking-glass, wishing they were you…
“But I wonder if I would be there, sitting on the edge of the looking-glass, wishing I were me.” Love it!
As Dr. Seuss would say: there is no one alive who is Youer than You. I try to live by that.