Even when you have things just fine, excellent in fact, it's a weird feeling to find yourself envious of someone else. Not because you want whatever it is they have going on, but because they're so excited about it and that feeling of excitement is such a rush that you are reminded of how fun it is.
It's much easier to be envious of THINGS, I think. It's quite easy to see a new purchase that a friend has, or the beautiful home of an acquaintance or a colleague's new car and be envious of it. Even when I covet things, though, I've always been pretty good at admiring instead. I don't let thing-envy eat me alive and it's actually pretty rare that I feel any need to go right out and get one for myself. I like window shopping for that very reason. I can totally fall in love with something and find that having seen it, having its beauty or cleverness or whatever imprinted on my mind, is enough. Then I can walk away and still have a feeling of satisfaction, somehow.
I've discovered, though, that it's different with NEWS. My girlfriends and I, the ones I call the First Friends, and the ones that I am closest to here in Sweden (though one of them is far away now in Texas) have been having dinners together now every few months for a year or so. I'm really glad about this, because we were in danger, for a long while, of drifting completely apart and out of each other's lives, simply due to our own personal lives taking precedence over everything else. Some of us live farther apart and don't have the opportunity to see each other as often as we used to; work and families and kids slowly warping and pulling at the weft of friendship until it was in danger of coming completely unraveled.
These dinners have changed that, tightening and tethering us back together. And even though I still don't see most of them as often as I'd like, there is a stronger connection there now in many ways than there ever was. We've been through so much together: moves, pregnancies, births, cancer scares, husband trouble, illnesses, job changes. It's always fun to hear what is going on in each woman's life when we get together for our dinners and there's always something.
For quite awhile now, however, that something never belonged to me. I haven't really had any real NEWS to impart. In a way, that's a GOOD thing: I'm healthy, my family is healthy, I have a great job, we're not moving, nothing major has happened in our lives that is momentous, bad or life-changing. But it leaves me feeling a little flat sometimes and weirdly envious when my girlfriends are full of the news of things happening in THEIR lives. I'm thrilled for them, but I sometimes wish I had something to tell, too. Does that seem strange to you?
I feel as if I've DONE all the big stuff now, in my life. I've graduated from high school, gone to college, moved away from home. I've met my lifemate, married him, moved overseas (!), bought a home, built another, gotten a job which I thrive in, and had 2 lovely children to boot. Frankly, I don't want to think about what's left...and I don't WANT to change a thing...so why does hearing about someone else's great new job raise a tiny yearning in me? Where does this little frisson of envy come from?
Maybe being envious of other people's news (when it's good) is a way of jolting us out of our complacency. Even someone else's bad news can remind us not to take things for granted. And any news from someone we care about can at least have the function of making us reflect over our own lives and the way they are progressing, giving us a chance to decide whether or not it's time to shake things up again or whether things really are pretty damn good, allowing us to give a little shrug and flick that envy off our shoulder and simply be happy for someone else.
Bippity Boppity Beautiful Birthday wishes to: girlinthemoon
Also, Anders informs me that he never said last week that they were going to put him back on the same (burning) plane...I either misheard or misunderstood. Ah well, it did make for a more mindboggling story, though, didn't it? Anyway, look! This was his (burning!) plane!