Sunday, April 19, 2009

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned

Envy is my deadly sin, if we're to be specific.

Now, before I launch into my tale, I want to make a few things clear. First, I know this entire reaction is silly and irrational. I am aware than I have a damn good life, and to imagine something different would be to picture something entirely disingenuous to who I am. I know that given the choice, I would remain wearing the same shoes I am now, as despite them being less shiny than others, they fit me a hell of a lot better.

That being said, what is the purpose of having an anonymous blog if not to write longwinded posts complaining about petty things?

So... I took an impulsive surprise trip to HomeTown for the Easter long weekend. As part of the process of surprising my mom, upon arriving, I went directly to my little sister's house.

By sister's house, I mean the house recently purchased by her new boyfriend. By new boyfriend, I mean her boss, who is 12 years her senior, and who she moved in with after dating for two months.

By house, I mean something a lot more glamourous than anything we lived in growing up. I mean three bathrooms, jacuzzi tub, amazing view, so many extra bedrooms that they can spare a "studio" for their brand new hobby of painting on top of the usual spare bedrooms and office-- plus shiny new non-Ikea real furniture. On top of this, they have jumped full speed into responsible homeowner's mode, speaking of replacing hardwood floors, knocking down walls, landscaping, putting in a hot tub. My sister speaks in confident tones, making statements such as "Well, I certainly don't want to sell anytime in the near future" and "I'm not sure if I like his idea of building a suite in the garage, although it would help with the mortgage."

In other words, my sister jumped from broke and moving back in with the parents to a half million dollar home (in a town where that actually buys a lot)-- all in one fell swoop.

And me? Well, since graduating high school, I suppose you could describe my trajectory as consistent... upwards and mediocre paced. I've done all the practical things... multiple degrees, paying off my credit card balance, putting off buying a car, working while going to school, keeping separate bank accounts, waiting the appropriate amount of time to take the next relationship step. And, well, to show for it... I'm living in the nicest one-bedroom I've ever lived in. And while it does have a dishwasher, a substantial lack of spiders, and actually room to move, it certainly doesn't have a backyard, and guests get to sleep on the (admittedly comfy) couch.

So, yes, although I will only admit this in whispers through gritted teeth or with several beverages in me-- I'm a little jealous. I'm almost too much of the poster child for making sound decisions, and my sister is anything but-- and she is the one living the high life as we speak.

I know what comes out of everyone else's mouth when I do admit this. "But you'll be better off in the long term".

I might snap if I hear the words "long term" one more time. I have been thinking in terms of the future since I started university nearly ten years ago. Almost everything in my life is decided for with the "long term" in mind. Anytime I describe plans for the future, it has twelve steps in between.
"Well, first I will finish my dissertation, then I have to move for my year internship, then we go to the city where the Duke is finishing his PhD and I will get registered and hopefully find a job, then we probably move once he's finished to a place with a good university for him to work at... and then we can relax! That or it is time for me to take my maternity leave."

More than anything, I am probably envious of how simple it all seems to be for her right now. In the middle of a never ending to do list, I yearn for that simplicity. Even though I know this is probably just a clear case of grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side syndrome, of wanting what you can't have. As the Duke points out to me, I would be horrible at living a quiet life. I need to bust my butt to get what I want. It's in my basic chemistry. 

The truth is, she's happy. I see it in her eyes when she's with him. And so am I. In my life, and for her. Just because I'm envious doesn't mean she doesn't deserve this happiness. So I probably owe a few hail marys for this one.


[F]oxymoron said...

Ummm, yep. I call this outpost perspective. And envy is the bedrock.


Anonymous said...

ugh i know EXACTLY how you feel lady. i get super envious super easy. i can't explain it, it makes me guilty, but I can't help it.

your sister is extremely lucky to have found the course she has...and locked in your room you are so allowed to pound your fists on the bedspread and say NO! FAIR! NO! FAIR!

not that i speak from experience

Anonymous said...

I might have to wish a strange rash on someone I loved if they got a hot tub. ;)

Paula said...

I have a friend (someone I used to live in my current flat with, in fact) who bought a flat, in a not particularly nice area, a while ago. She then met a guy more recently, who owned an AMAZING flat by the river Clyde, who she ended up moving in with. Basically this is now her flat. She still has her old one and is renting it out. She's living in this AMAZING flat. He's planning to sell so they can buy a proper big house.

I don't own ANYTHING. And I'm nearly 30.

The only consolation I can take in this is that she's over 2 years older than me. But still . . .

At least you know your sister loves this guy.

Meghan said...

Oh, I know exactly how you feel. I have friends that lived at home rent free while saving for fancy trips and mortgages while I've skrimped through college to find myself in a one bedroom rental suite. It's a catch 22 cause you want the people to be happy, but somehow it just doesn't seem fair!

I'm glsd you're able to see through it and be happy your sister is happy.

Mandy said...

I know exactly how you feel -- my younger brother went straight from high school to working and makes twice my salary. While I pay off college loans -- he buys cars, four wheelers, boats (yeah, notice the plurals). I take comfort in the fact that he tends to buy in pairs so I get to have fun too.

Kylie said...

I suffer from envy every once in a while. My lil sis just started dating a guy 3 weeks ago and he's spent a couple grand on her already! While I sit at home praying that the state will finally get my unemployment sorted out! I know exactly what you mean!

Mrs4444 said...

Some day, someone in your family will be envious of YOU :)

Caz said...

I got envious the other day after heading to AB's Bro/SIL's for Easter dinner. They're my age with their own very nice, NEW house, landscaping, nice cars, space to entertain etc. and I admittedly felt a bit of jealousy that they could do all these things, whereas his family would never come to our house for dinner since we don't own enough chairs for everyone to sit on.

Then, while looking for a new place to rent this weekend I had an insane freak-out about not wanting to move to the suburbs just to have a "nicer, bigger" house and that I wanted to live in a funky neighbourhood in a smaller apartment and was all histerically "I DON'T WANT TO GROW UP!!!!"

While I may be jealous, I don't actually WANT what they have.

Anonymous said...

I will attest to the comfy-ness of the couch!

And have you ever considered that maybe, she's envious of you in some ways? It might look like she has it all, but I bet you she's also aware that it could just as easily fall flat and she has nothing to fall back on, whereas you know how to stand on your own two feet.

It's always greener on the other side, right?

Anonymous said...

Hmm, maybe I should start dating my boss. Nah, it would be way too awkward, and kinda gross.

But yeah, I know the feeling. Here I am, busting my butt off trying to make a living so I can get married and start a family, and I see many of peers pretty much get a good life served to them on a silver plate.

Emily said...

"I'm almost too much of the poster child for making sound decisions, and my sister is anything but-- and she is the one living the high life as we speak."

THIS (almost too perfectly) describes EXACTLY how I feel about my younger sister. SO NOT FAIR.

But I love her so what can you do?

Katie said...

I think it would be very hard not to feel envious in the same situation. *sigh*

Maris said...

Don't feel bad. As long as you're happy for and supportive of your sister, I think envy can be healthy. It helps us identify what we want and don't want in our own lives.

As long as the feeling remains benign, don't feel bad about it!

Shieldmaiden96 said...

She may be happy, but at present she is also an ornament with no equity.

This is not meanness or sour grapes, its the reality of the situation. I've seen enough bosses take up with someone they employ. Sometimes it ends happily. Sometimes not.
In her case, I hope its the former.

My verification word is 'scone'. I hope its cranberry-orange. said...

Envy is totally my deadly sin.

I feel so guilty because I'm happy! I have a good life!
But yet, sometimes I read about someone else or see someone else and I get so jealous....

golublog said...

Im pretty bad too. Im always envious of others.

Hope said...

I know how you feel. Envy between family members and close friends that are like family members is the most taboo emotion for people to feel. But we all do from time to time.

Doesn't mean we're not happy for them or that we want exactly what they have.

When I'm envious I ask myself 'what is is that that person actually has that I feel is missing from my life?" Maybe, all it means is that you'd like to be more spontaneous sometimes?

OK. Amateurish therapy session over. :)

Michelle and the City said...

i am envious all the time of friends that are married/engaged, hell ones that even have a steady boyfriend!

it's hard not to have those feelings i think. even when you know "you'll be better off in the long run".

Yoda said...

J's sister is now building this MANSION with her super rich hubby who is a real doctor (as opposed to the fake Dr. Yoda).

I took a little tour of it, and eh, naaaah. All that stuff isn't for me. Three fireplaces, jacuzzi, screened in porch, three car garage ... Makes me a little sick actually.

Even if by some stroke of luck, I do end up having that much money - I'd never invest it in a mansion. I'll get myself a smallish, but comfy, apartment and spend the rest of my days traveling the world :-)

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

Grad school is a marathon of sprints...the worst of both worlds! It is hard to plan when there are so many variables: available spots, competitiveness, tenure, etc.