I felt the familiar, gnawing feeling as I skimmed the college newspaper article.
The story was about some precious college senior who had just published her FIRST NOVEL, some little “love story” with a cute title. The cover of the book was pictured, showing an 18 year old beauty who was looking pensively off into her perfect future. So predictable….I wanted to gag. My lips twisted into a sneer and I rolled my eyes.
Then I sighed, feeling defeated….because I hated how I felt at that moment: Crazy, stupid jealous.
Wow. She wrote a novel. Good for her, seriously! I’m thirty…! And I haven’t even done that.
And I’m insanely jealous of that fact. Yep, I’ve been bitten…no, devoured by that green-eyed monster (Thank you, Shakespeare for providing perfect metaphors for my basest feelings).
If I’m really honest with myself, I get jealous a lot.
I’m jealous of:
- Women with recent highlights and pedicures
- People who sleep through the night (like my husband)
- My students (college students) with their stylish outfits and perfectly curled hair
- Blog posts that go viral (“I could have written that”!)
- Mom friends who have flat tummies
- People who get to nap everyday (like my two year old)
- My English colleagues who get to travel and present their papers at conferences
- People who get to eat a full meal without nursing a baby, filling milk cups, mopping spills, or picking up dropped (or thrown) forks.
- My single friends who get to do fun adult-things, like road trips
And MOST OF ALL….I am jealous of my husband’s ability to fall asleep anywhere at anytime (the sleep jealousy is real, my friends).
Most of my jealousies are petty and fleeting–after all, I am not a 19 anymore with the luxury of thirty minutes of hair-curling time. I don’t really care about pedicures that much. And, let’s face the facts…I’ve had four kids, including twins. There are some things that crunches will not fix.
But my other jealousies bother me, like the fact that I disparaged a fellow-writer’s success when I read that newspaper article. I should have rejoiced for her…but I couldn’t because I was so stupid-jealous of her.
The truth is, I had no right be be jealous of her because she had done the work…and I hadn’t.
I had an ah-ha moment. There are just two solutions to my every day jealousies:
I can be jealous of women who have flat stomachs and toned arms….or I can Do The Work and start exercising.
I can inwardly sigh about about my pathetic social life…or I can text a friend and make plans to get together.
I can mope about the success of other bloggers…or I can steadily work on my own blog because consistency and commitment come before success.
I can Do The Work.
But sometimes, I am jealous about things I can’t change….so I have to be content.
I may be jealous that the girl I went to grad school with just presented a paper at an amazing Jane Austen conference…but I have a newborn and conferences are not realistic right now.
I may feel a twinge when I see friends with their daughters…but I can choose to be content with my 4 wonderful, beautiful sons.
And I may want to smoother my husband with a pillow when he falls asleep in 2.3 minutes on the couch…but I can choose to be content with a 30 minute rest before the baby wakes up to nurse (And I really don’t want to smoother my husband. I really like him. I am just really tired…Sleep-jealousy. It’s real).
So after throwing my jealousy-fueled pity-party about my lack of literary success at the ripe old age of thirty, I decided to crack open an old file entitled “Story Ideas” and actually, well…Do The Work.
Doing the Work or Being Content is hard…but it feels a whole lot better than being jealous, right?
What about you? What makes you crazy-jealous?
Which is harder: Doing the Work or Being Content?
How do YOU handle every day jealousy?