It was a few weeks before Christmas. I was driving through the section of the South End lined with beautiful brownstones, and I was feeling jealous.
The folks who park their cars on these tree-lined streets have money, and bay windows out over picturesque patches of grass, and in those windows they put grand Christmas trees perfectly speckled with twinkling lights. I am jealous of all of those things.
In my mind, those things come with comfort and ease. They come with options. I have a smidgen of those things, but I am not satisfied. I want more.
As I drove, searching for a parking space to meet a friend at a bar where I was sure I wouldn’t fit in, I rested my head back on the head rest and took in this big scene of all the things I’ll never have.
Maybe, it occurred to me, the mysterious someones enjoying their lives under those high ceilings should be envious of me. I have things they’ll never have. I have my mother, who promised her children that they could make their own decisions about their lives. I have my father, whose high expectations were always an encouragement and never a burden. I have my baby brother, who has been a head taller than me for long enough that I should stop calling him a baby, and who has always been a delight.
I have my friends who love me even when I don’t deserve it. I have my boyfriend who amuses me and is patient with me and supports me. I have astounding amounts of passion in my life, and if those passions have not turned into lucre, so be it.
For their sake, I hope that the residents of that street are as happy as I imagine them. I’ll try not to be jealous anymore, though I doubt I’ll be successful. May I always remember there are things that I have no one else has, brighter than bay windows and more perfect than parking spaces.
What are the things that only you have?
And they definitely do not have your Beautiful Voice!!!!!! !! They cant buy what you have!!!!!
Aw thanks Mary! It’s still hard not to envy those nice apartments, though…
I have pretty much constant low-level Apartment Envy, and it takes very little to cause it to erupt into an all-out nausea of longing. But then I talk to the people who live in the places I envy, I ask them, “how do you spend your time?” and they say, “well, I get up, go to work, and come home around 7 or 8 at night, make dinner, watch TV, go to bed, do it all over again.” And I say, “how’s that?” and they say, “well . . . you know.” It depresses the hell out of me how many times I’ve had this conversation with people leading more “normal” lives than me (mostly these conversations happened at my recent high school reunion, but . . .). So – there are trade-offs. My life is never boring, or repetitive, or predictable. Thank God. But I would like my own kitchen and a picture window looking out over the river.
Tracy Rae says
This is something I’ve been finding myself coming back to the past couple years. All of my close friends are either married or have moved away from this city and are doing something they love. Some of the things that I have always wanted and planned for.
I know I am ridiculously blessed. I have a crazy generous and supportive family. I have my own little apartment. I am debt free and financially independent. I have a job that I like and while it’s not something I am passionate about it does allow me to do things that I love, taking my youth kids to camp and traveling (I’ve been able to visit friends in California and Montana and, fingers crossed, New Hampshire this March!)
But sometimes it’s hard to see what I have when I am constantly the third (or seventh) wheel or when chatting my friends about how much they love their new city.
I would love to live in a city and travel more. However, I have been given this amazing opportunity to reitre at 50 and do what I am passionate about, writing and photography. I feel very blessed.
That sounds like a blessed life indeed!