Thursday, May 27, 2010

If it's not jealousy, what is it?

It's impossible not to play the comparing game. As hard as I try, comparing happens. And try as I might, the grass always seems greener on the other side.

As our friends have purchased houses and cars, filled their houses, and planned their luxury vacations, it's hard to watch and not be able to join in. They are buying fancy things like pianos and grills and nice furniture. They are buying multiple motorcycles, boats, guns, and mountains of clothes, seasonal wardrobes even. Our friends are dropping lots of money on toys.

Watching that spending is difficult for me. I'm not jealous of their stuff. I don't want motorcycles, guns, or a grill. I am not the type of person to even have a seasonal wardrobe. It's not the items themselves but that these friends can buy things. Our friends have purchasing power. What's more, I have to wonder how much of it is being put on credit cards or taken out in loans.

Where are my friends getting their millions to be able to afford fancy things? Are they scraping by just to be able to get items that somehow help them keep up with the neighbors? Or are they living beyond their means? Are they borrowing (or mooching) from their parents?

I'm not jealous of their stuff. I have stuff. I like my stuff. I don't necessarily need more stuff. I would, however, like to have the opportunity to have choices when it comes to getting stuff... and we're slowly gaining momentum in that department. But it's so incredibly hard to watch the spend-spend-spend my 20-something compadres love to do.

Am I being tested in some greater cosmic way? Am I supposed to be learning frugality and poverty as a greater life lesson? What is the good in not having choices?

How is the grass greener on this side?


MissKris said...

I daresay a good portion is bought on credit. But then again, if they're both working and the kidlets haven't shown up yet, there's money to spend. I know my son and d-i-l got the big screen TV, video game systems, furniture, etc., before the babies arrived and paid for them. Now, with doctor visits, keeping them clothed, etc., they've joined the 'real world' and don't have near the financial freedom they once had. One of my brothers-in-law used to work for the City of Tualatin in street maintenance and he used to chuckle ironically at how many homes had all the 'toys' parked in the driveway, only to glimpse in to the houses and see them practically bare. It's all out there for impressing the neighbors. Now, isn't that stupid? But it happens all the time.

cm0978 said...

It doesn't get any easier as you get older, though. We, too have watched the people in our generation whom we know -- watch them have matching furniture/towels/decorative things; watch them go on vacations with new toys; watch them with their new cars. And wonder what we are doing wrong that WE don't have those things or go on vacations as often. We have always comforted ourselves that we put the kids through private education and helped with upper education, etc. and that it's better to have two great kids than the luxurious fifth wheel and the lovely, decorated house.'s very hard not to be jealous on some level. But then I don't like to be owned by my possessions and I am too casual for the decorative look. (Or so I tell myself!)

Rachel said...

I have and am sometimes in your situation. It may be my kidless friends with their two disposable incomes or my friends with kids with better jobs and a fulltime nanny. Needless to say, I wouldn't trade in my kids or let a nanny raise them, but it'd be nice to have the freedom that they have in both situations (spending and otherwise)