I know that jealousy is a useless emotion. I’m already working to change what I can, and a lot is out of my control, so there’s no point in being jealous. Yet I am.
You’d think I’d be jealous of my healthy friends’ good health, but I’m not. Ok, I am a little bit, but for the most part I’m past that. I know that I can’t have that, so I’ve let it go. Sure, I get jealous of their good relationships with their spouses, their kids, their pets – all things I could have but don’t. But what I’m really jealous of is my friend L’s situation.
You see, L also has chronic illnesses. She has chronic pain and other symptoms, so we can really relate to each other. What I’m jealous of is that she’s never had to handle her illness or it’s results alone. She moved in with her then-boyfriend (now-husband) as a teenager, and he’s always been there to take care of her. I, on the other hand, have been alone for the worst of my health problems. My parents were very supportive when I lived with them, and then I had tough years where I could manage alone. And now? Well, now I could move in with my parents if I had to, but for many reasons I’d rather not do that.
I’m lucky. I know I’m lucky. I’m able to live on my own, and that’s huge. And I’ve been able to go to college and work, which L never did because she was much younger when she became disabled. But still, I’m jealous that she has someone to help her out. Her husband earns a very good salary, so she can afford to have someone else do her laundry, to get medical treatments that aren’t covered by insurance like acupuncture and naturopathy, and to get massages, all without worrying about the cost. I either can’t do these things, or I pull money out of savings for them and then stress over them. She gets to have pets. She freely admits that she couldn’t care for them herself, and in addition to loving them, she talks about how much they help her. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check any search engine and you’ll see the many articles that talk about the physical and emotional benefits of having pets. I know they’d help me, but I can’t afford them or take care of them. Beyond the money, L has help and support at home. Her husband helps with the chores and does all of the cooking. He comforts her when she feels especially sick. He helps her make decisions about her health. Oh, what I would give to have that.
I was thinking about this today on the way home from the grocery store. I managed to do the shopping ok, but as we all know, it doesn’t end there. I was wondering how I’d manage to get the groceries into the house, and I thought about L, and how her husband carries in the groceries. And after buying everything, I was tired and needed to rest, but dinner still had to be cooked, and I thought about how L’s husband does their cooking. And I thought about how on days like today, when I don’t see anyone else except at the store, and other days when I don’t see anyone at all, it would be so nice to have a spouse come home and have a conversation with me, and give me a hug.
Everyone’s life is different. I know that. I know that I have a lot of things that L doesn’t have. I know I have a lot of things that many other people don’t have. Still, some days I get jealous, and today is one of those days. Some days, I just wish I had someone else to help me through the tough days and celebrate the good days so I wouldn’t feel so responsible for everything, and so alone.