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.