Revisiting Envy


I envy artists.  All artists.  Anyone, dead or alive, who made art when it would have be easier not to do so.  I envy writers — brilliant writers and so – so writers who make a living at it.  I envy funny women.  I envy people who have fireplaces, people who have fireplaces who also live in secluded, wooded areas.  I envy odd people who are also successful.  I envy their ability to be and support their odd selves.  I envy people who can eat pizza all the time and never gain weight.  I envy people who discover things, make things, and can fix things.  I envy great singers and girls in bands.  I envy people brave enough to do exactly what they want in life.  I envy people who have the ability to always be kind in this sometimes cruel world.  I envy people for whom things seem to come so easily to them.

I don’t envy those who have so much stuff that most of their time is spent securing and maintaining that stuff.  I don’t envy those with big homes, expensive cars, or fancy sounding job titles.  I don’t envy the busy, the multi-taskers, the ones who always have plans.  I never envy party people, party animals, the life of the party, or belles of the ball.  I don’t envy the famous, the infamous, or the used to be famous and wants to be again.  I don’t envy the popular or charming, the prettiest girls or the richest men.  I don’t envy royalty.  I don’t envy anyone who doesn’t know how to be alone or doesn’t read.  I feel sorry for them.

Envy isn’t good.  Envy isn’t bad.  It’s neutral.  It’s just information.  Data.  Patterns emerge when you allow yourself to feel envy.  I notice I have envious feelings about the same type of people who live a certain type of life.  I almost never envy things (except fireplaces).  Patterns of envy are the quickest way to figure out who you are and what you believe.  According to philosopher Alain de Botton, “we should keep a careful diary of our moments of envy: they are our covert guides to what we should try to do next…Envy is a confused, tangled guide to one’s own ambitions.”

Envy is poisonous when suppressed.  It’s liberating when felt.  It’s like that story Louis C.K. told about bawling his eyes out while listening to a Bruce Springsteen song and then feeling happy. On the other side of envious feelings is motivation and the realization that you can’t just envy one tiny slice of someone’s life and no one has a perfect, completely enviably life.  Everyone is fighting a hard battle.  Eventually you get to the point where you realize that there’s nothing to envy and you may as well be happy with the life you have.  We’re all the same.










7 thoughts on “Revisiting Envy

      1. No, not my own made up word. Just the joyful smashing down of various keyboard keys with questionable force. It’s like you were inside my head, when I read this. I know we’re still only strangers but I can I have a gut feeling we are very similar creatures. I’m also highly suspicious of anyone who can’t take pleasure in a good book by themselves. Wouldn’t want them near my future cats, if you know what I mean. 😉


      2. I wrote this post and 2 others in response to posts you wrote. So keep writing so I can!
        I try to stay away from people who can’t be alone because they prevent me from having my own alone time with my books.


      3. I know. You know what I just realized? I spoke with a couple of my extroverted friends recently and realized just how little they understand introverts. It doesn’t make sense for them, this fatigue from social interaction. Yet I can imagine what it would be like being extroverted, the buzz, the fervor. It’s a one way street sometimes.


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