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Dealing with Envy…

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Our friends bought a house over the weekend. It’s a beautiful house. Huge pool. Gorgeous backyard for entertaining. Perfectly new kitchen. It sparkled. All the things I wish for in a home.

My husband grabbed them in a huge hug. ‘I’m so happy for you!’ he said (he’s one of those annoying people who is legitimately happy for your success).

I smiled. ‘Congrats!’ I said. Inside, I struggled.

When we were paying off debt, we both worked. Together, we made good money. Nose to the grindstone. Get it done! Debt disappeared. Emergency fund built. We agreed we’d move to a single income with a stay at home parent after debt was gone which meant tighter budgets. Our ‘starter’ home will be our home for much longer than the ‘starter’ period in our lives. Our cars are older, and they’ll keep getting older. Name brands are laughable. Coupons are survival.

I stare at my friends, heck, I stare at my co-bloggers and think, ‘Geez! How much do these people make?!’. One of our couple friends was lamenting that they claimed zero on their taxes all year to ensure they paid enough. They made over $200K and had to pay taxes anyway. All I could think was, ‘Geez, I could do A LOT with $200K’. But instead, I say, ‘Ugh. Taxes right!?!?’

Some days, it’s just. really. hard. Even without debt.

It’s so hard not to focus on others. The highlights of their lives we see on Instagram and Facebook. Wondering if we missed the train to happiness somewhere.

In the whole ‘trailer debacle of 2020’, I failed to mention the reason we got a killer deal on our camping trailer. It was because the previous owner had a cat that made a scratching post of the interior. The sofa, the woodwork. Everything. Scratched. It wasn’t my dream trailer. It was what we could afford.

We went to Joshua Tree a few days ago. My kids scrambling up the rocks, the sky the most stunning shade of blue. My daughter squinting her eyes, trying to discern the plant in front of her from the plant in her Junior Ranger booklet. My son screamed ‘BUTTERFLY!!!’ as he chased it across the dirt path, crashing into us both, laughing hysterically.

Exhausted from our hike to Barker Dam and shenanigans in the surrounding rocks, we crawled into the trailer. The sun started to set, painting the sky the most beautiful hues of pink and purple. I left the windows open and let the cool breeze fill the trailer. We cooked dinner over the campfire and stared at the stars we so rarely get to see in the city. I put the kids into their beds, surrounded by completely unnoticed cat scratched woodwork, kissed noses and told stories. Later, hubby and I sat by the dwindling fire enjoying a bottle of cheap wine, listening to the gentle pop and hiss of the dying fire. He turned on the song we danced to at our wedding because he knows it makes me smile.

Some days it’s just. really. beautiful.

My bad days are usually because I’m focusing on what others have. My good days are usually because I focus on what I have. Money? Nope, don’t have much. But I have four kiddos who absolutely rock my world and I have a husband who acts like we got married yesterday.

I am a lucky girl.

How do I deal with envy? I make my very best efforts to stop looking at everyone else.


13 Comments

  • Reply Laura |

    Beautiful message! I’ve followed you for a long time. Thank you for coming back. You did everything right to dig yourself out of debt and make a safe place for your children ??

  • Reply Reece |

    I understand! Our family is also single income, 3 kids, stay at home husband. I’m so happy most days with our decision but there are days when our house feels shabby and my wardrobe inadequate and I feel less than. I try and remind myself of when I wanted what we have now—we’re so blessed! Comparison truly is the thief of joy, isn’t it?

    • Reply Beks |

      Is it bad that it makes me smile that we are in the same boat?? Glad to have friends in it! Much less lonely that way!

  • Reply Hope |

    Yes, yes and yes! I love the way you put this. And agree completely that the only way to “get over it” is to focus on the many blessings we do have. It was a hard lesson to learn, but once learned and practiced, it has made such a big difference!

  • Reply Christy |

    This is something I struggle with too. We are completely debt free, but by the time we save for retirement, save for college, save for vacation, save for remodeling our kitchen, etc we have no money! I find myself thinking about going back to work. When I stop to think about it, I know I am being ridiculous. But sometimes I wish we could just do fun and exciting things on a whim. I wish I didn’t feel guilty buying myself a new shirt. Ugh.

  • Reply Holly Sanford |

    Yep, love this. I’m a single mom, my husband passed away when our kids were babies. It’s hard to look at friends with two working parents and how they’re able to have so much more but I honestly can’t complain. My kids are both in college right now and they’re great kids and we’ve never had a huge house or fancy cars or anything but we’ve done okay. You have to have perspective and be grateful for what you do have for sure.

  • Reply Sarah |

    I read this and can relate. We are older so are more established…we have no debt and have savings. But, we have chosen to stay in our 1500 square foot house that we have lived in for 25 years and our newest car is a 2010 Mazda 3. I wish we had a larger home that was more up-to-date with a new kitchen and baths and I envy people who do.

    We all need to remember – when people buy a new house or new car or go on a fancy vacation, they may be going into debt to do it. They may not have as much money as it looks like they have. Over the years, we have tried really hard to not “keep up with the Joneses” and I think it has put us in a better position to retire some day and have a good life in retirement.

    • Reply Beks |

      Our house is 1300 sq ft. I feel ya! But I don’t lose sleep at night over a huge mortgage. That’s pretty great. I agree, it’ll pay off later.

So, what do you think ?