We all know this feeling. We all have it. Last night, I was struck by this feeling pretty hard. It started out small but, like so many things with me, it spiraled out of control quite fast.
Yesterday evening some of my friends went to a party. At this party was cheesecake. It's common knowledge by this point that cheesecake is pretty much my favorite food ever and, should any opportunity come up to eat it, I want to be where the cheesecake is. Last night was not meant to be however for I was not invited to this party.
Now, admittedly, I could have crashed it but that's a major party foul. Not only that but it was a birthday party too, so that would have easily multiplied the foulness of the party foul by a factor of ten. No, this wasn't meant to be... I half suspected cheesecake would be at this party but I put the thought out of my mind.
At least until it got late and my friends got back. The party was small, decent, but apparently quite boring... but I was dumb enough to ask what kind of cake was there. My answer? Cheesecake... not just regular cheesecake but chocolate cheesecake too. Two cheesecakes
Hello, Envy... where have you been lately? God, I wanted to some of that cheesecake and I wished I was there. I wish I had gotten invited but, let's face it, I was merely an acquaintance with the birthday girl involved, not a friend, so there was no rational reason to bring me along. I understood that easily enough but as the details of the party came out, I began to feel Envy tugging at other parts of me.
You see the party was a couples party... as in, if you had a significant other to be there with, you belonged (That's how it sounded in my head when I heard it). It's common knowledge that I am single, one amongst many, and I feel this may have played a much smaller role in me being not invited... but my brain was quickly becoming concerned with other things.
Mainly, all the things I didn't have and others did... and how it was seemingly impossible for me to achieve anything like what others had.
I was going into a dark place and I couldn't stop the descent. Luckily, I managed to get to bed before things really took hold in my head. But in bed there was no peace... Envy had a firm grasp on me. Not only that, but I was having a few debates in my own mind about whether having all that really mattered anyway because, according to some parts of me (the really depressive ones), having all those things means that you'll be constantly worrying about losing them. Then when you inevitably do, said the depressive parts of me, you'll be worse off because you had a taste of the good stuff... and once lost, you will never be able to get it back.
I didn't sleep well last night. I tossed, I turned, I tried to make the bad thoughts go away, but I got stuck something fierce in my own thought processes. I woke up this morning, still bummed out at all the things I didn't have, and I hoped church would snap me out of it. It kinda did... but it kinda didn't.
I got back and took a nap... that worked as well as last night's sleeping did. Now, I'm here and I tell you I'm an envious human being. I am gripped by Envy right now despite my best efforts not to be. I know I shouldn't be... the Bible put it pretty succinctly what Envy will do you.
Proverbs 14:30: "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones."
I take this to mean a few things. A) Envy is a disruptive force in the life of yourself and others. B) Acknowledging and appreciating what you have is how you arrive at a peaceful heart. C) Letting Envy sit inside you for long time will rot you from the inside out.
I read that verse last night, I was thinking on it earlier today, and it tied with another verse I was reading last night and came across in Sunday School today (this is where church was kinda helpful).
1st Corinthians 13:4: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud."
"How does this go together?" you ask. That will be answered... but before we get to that, I need to do something I hesitate to do but am quite certain I need to do because the idea has been with me since last night (which generally means it's either going to get written or I won't be sleeping). I admit, fully, that I am an envious human being of certain other people... I am suffering from Envy right now. So, while I'm here, I'm going to give you my top ten things I Envy: you can determine how dumb/incompetent/idiotic I am. We'll start with number ten...
"That's at number ten?!"
Yes, it's low on the Envy list, isn't it? I, like so many others, have this idea that money would solve all my problems. It would solve a few, not all, and the rational side of me gets this but the irrational... it's pretty convinced that with more money, lots of money, I could do whatever I wanted and be fine. I could skydive off a tall building in the dead of night (like Batman!) and be fine. Money solves all problems... or so the irrational part of me thinks.
9. Good Hair
This one is dumb. It really, really is, but my problems with my hair are frustrating. Why can't I have good hair? Why can't I have the kind of hair that anything can be done with, that it looks good, and I don't have to hunt for a decent style? I Envy people with good hair. I have a lot of friends who have good hair and who can do virtually anything with it, get complimented on it, and it's all normal for them. That hardly ever happens to me.
8. The Ability to Feel Like a Man
I have a baby face. I routinely get mistaken for being in high school, I can't grow any facial hair, and I feel very much like a kid not a man. By all definition I am one, this is not really debatable, but I don't feel like one. I don't have that confidence that carries me around... I can cook better than I can cut wood, I'm better at house cleaning than I am at building things, and I am hopeless when it comes to cars. Yet I know these guys, these great guys, who can do all these man things and they do them... like men. They don't struggle or overthink things, they just go about their day. I don't understand how they do that.
7. Self Confidence
I hardly have any. I used to be quite a cocky guy, overly confident in things, but I don't have that anymore. That has been broken in me. I look around at other people, see how they approach a problem with the feeling that they know they can get the job done... I don't have that feeling a lot of times. If there's a problem I'm unfamiliar with, I tend to panic a bit internally and fumble around to determine a proper course of action. I can't go into an unfamiliar situation and expect myself to adapt quickly... I don't adapt quickly (thusly making me a horrible Borg drone) and that leads to me just sitting, observing, and building up a routine to deal with things. Why can't I act with instant analysis and succeed like some people?
6. New Toys
"Like action figures?"
No, like new laptops. Or smart phones. Or a new gaming system. I like new toys. I like to play around with them and find out all the little things I can do with them (and some of the things I'm not supposed to do with them but am able to anyway). I see other people have these things, treat them like dirt or complain about not having the latest model... I just want to hit them honestly. I don't have these things. Do I want them? Sometimes. I Envy the ability these people have of enjoying these new toys... I don't necessarily want them all the time but I do some of the time. Like a child who sees another child with something shiny and new, I forget about what I already have and focus on what I don't.
5. A Large Group of Friends
I have a small group of friends in real life and on Facebook. I value the intimacy this allows me with my friends but it feels like I'm missing out sometimes. I know people with large groups of friends and they always have something to say, always have something going on... they always seem to be involved and, when the time comes for them to get some advice/opinions/ideas this large group of friends tends to answer the call. I Envy these people with their large group of friends because it looks to me like they're living a life... while I'm merely part of life. It's the difference between sitting still and moving. I feel like I'm sitting still.
4. The Ability to Play an Instrument
I want to one day be able to play an instrument. But until then, I can only Envy those that can (and it doesn't help many in my family can while I can't... my pride hates that). These people that can play an instrument, that can take some strange looking thing and make it produce something pleasant... it astounds me how a lot of them seem to think nothing of it. I don't have the brain to do it I think. I love to listen to good music, I appreciate the time and effort the people behind the music put in, but I don't have an understanding of the music... I can't read it. I can't begin to discern the deeper meanings. I feel like the dumbest person in the room with a group of musicians. They know what they're doing with that stuff... the best I can do is offer compliments.
3. People with Kids
"Say what? Do you know how much of a pain they are! How much work they take!"
Yes, I'm aware of how much an annoyance, a pain, and a burden kids sometimes are. But you say kids/children to me and the first word that pops into my mind is fun. They are fun. They are the most fun individuals you can ever have the pleasure of knowing.
And, blast it, I want some of my own. I suffer from severe Envy of people with kids... they have, at their finger tips, someone to play with at a moment's notice (which probably speaks to my juvenile, immature mindset but I digress), to care for, to teach, and to enjoy. They're a blast to be with.
I can only sponge off other people's kids. I don't have any of my own. I'm not in a position to have any. I can only look on and watch.
2. People with a Purpose in Life
This one almost made number one.
You know those people who know what they're supposed to do? Who have figured out what they're good at, how to use it, and how to be an actual contributing member to society? I know those people. I'm not one of them. I don't know what my purpose in life is.
Which is why I Envy those that do. They have objectives, goals, and they go after them. They know what they're doing and, even when they don't, they have enough experience to take a good guess. They have a reason to be on this planet.
....what's mine? I don't know. I'm looking. I'm trying. I'm praying. I'm making little progress. There's a point in a person's life where they figure it out... for some it happens early. For others it happens later. For me it doesn't feel like it's going to happen at all. I don't have an apparent use in this world and that bugs me to no end... I hate being unproductive. I hate being useless. I hate feeling like I'm a burden to others.
This, I think, is why I'm so envious of people with a purpose in life... I don't see them having these same feelings. I see them being useful, being productive, and relieving the burdens of others rather than contributing to them. People don't worry about them. People don't look at them with concern. People just treat them like they're a normal, functional, person.
I'm not there yet. I want to be, badly, and I'm not there yet nor do I feel like I'm anywhere close.
1. Married People
Of all the things in life I want, of all the people in life I most Envy, those that I Envy most are those that are married. This has been number one on my list since... I don't know, ten years old I think. It's the one thing I want more than anything which is probably why I'll never have it.
The idea appeals to me. Having someone to love and care for, for the rest of your life, doesn't scare me... it comforts me. I don't like being lonely and being married means I wouldn't be. I don't need a counselor or drinking buddy when I'm married... my wife can be both and more. I look at all these married friends of mine and I just want to scream at the sky "WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?"
They had pretty active dating lives. It came to them easily. Me? I have to force myself to go to parties. I have never had an active dating life. I have never had a body that was in anyway appealing to anyone else... now, I'm much thinner and in way better shape. How do I use that? How do I turn that into something... special?
I've heard just about every "How We Met" story there is. I've taken notes in my mind while the stories are being told, looking for that key... looking for the Rosetta Stone that will allow me to decipher this great mystery of life. Dating sites, churches, bars, parties, random meetings, and more have all been suggested to me. I feel comfortable doing very few of them.
But I see it all around me, marriage. People have in that someone whom they can talk to, whom they can hang out with, whom they can love, whom they do virtually anything with... married people have the best thing ever in my opinion. Sure, it's not money or infinite resources... but it's more valuable than everything I've listed prior to this in my view.
Which brings me back to 1st Corinthians 13:4. How does that tie in? Love is not envious. What I get from that is, until I can figure out how to appreciate what I have and what others have rather than wish I had it, I'm missing a key component in how to love. It's like trying to start a car without an engine it it: sure, you can have the whole body tricked out, lots of room to carry people, and have a sick interior... but until that engine gets put into the car, it's not going anywhere.
I feel like that's part of my problem. I feel like that I have the body in decent shape, that I have room to carry others, and that my interior isn't horrifying... but that I don't have the engine. I don't have the thing to make me go. Something is missing in me to make me go, to allow me to truly love someone and that's why I don't have anyone.
Of course, it's all a theory... maybe it's a bad one. But it's the one I'm running with right now.
That's it for today. I feel a bit better now. Thanks for reading.