It’s an age old cliche but one that seems perfectly fitting for this particular post. You see, something odd has been happening in my chaotic mind over the past month or two, something that I’m actually rather embarrassed to admit.
1 – a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.
synonyms: jealousy, envious, covetousness, resentment, discontentment, restfulness
I’ve found myself falling foul of this ugly human trait and becoming envious of things that have never really bothered me before.
Inadvertently watching programmes like ‘Fantasy Homes By The Sea‘ and having a little devil on my shoulder scoffing throughout about the couple in their mid-twenties who collect sea glass for a living, looking for a six bedroomed villa with a garden to rival my local park on a ‘modest’ £400,000 budget. Seeing acquaintances who have been gifted a hefty sum of money from relatives in order to get a foot on the first rung of that elusive property ladder and who now have mortgages that are half the monthly payments of our ever increasing rent.
Looking around our magnolia clad home with carpets that have seen better days and reoccurring patches of mould on bathroom ceiling (despite having it professionally treated, using chemical paint, installing a fan and leaving the bathroom window open all day, I really don’t know how else to get rid of this unsightly and unwelcome pest!), my heart sinks. All I want is a home with a decent bath, a little garden and retro wallpaper in every single room!
Seeing Instagram images of nutritious, healthy family meals as my own kids chow down on an Old El Paso kit and a bag of nachos for the second time that week because I forgot to order the food shop on Sunday night and haven’t had time to go to the supermarket after work.
My Pinterest feed is crammed with intricate, creative bullet journal pages whilst I struggle to find a biro to jot down a doctors appointment in the shit diary that I got free with a magazine last year. I’d become downright jealous of those who don’t have to work full time for a living and have the freedom to do whatever they like at 11am on a Wednesday morning.
I often find myself saying things like: ‘Why can’t WE have a home like that?! How do other people manage to cook amazing food on a budget? Why am I so shit at life?’ before throwing myself dramatically on the sofa.
Adam, being the eternal fountain of rational thought, usually replies with: ‘Babe, we both have good jobs that we actually like and a roof over our heads. Stop being so spoilt’.
Fuck. He actually has a valid point. Instead of rolling my eyes at pictures of super toned fitness bloggers whilst sitting in my PJs eating pizza, maybe getting off my arse and hitting the gym would make me feel better and be a more productive use of my free time.
It’s time to review our financial circumstances and start to figure out how to make my ‘fantasy’ future a possibility. We rarely go out drinking, for flash meals and lavish shopping trips but there’s certainly room for improvement. If that means cutting the food shopping back to the bare minimum, forgoing that extra £20 on
crap new jeans and fairy lights in Primark, swapping our annual holiday abroad for a few days camping by a local beach or saying goodbye to my weekly Subway lunch and random Costa trips then so be it.
You see, I’d been so busy peeking over the metaphorical fence at other people’s lawns that my own garden had been slowly wilting; the roses had died and the grass was looking a dodgy shade of brown as I threw an obligatory, half-arsed watering can around when I remembered.
Sometimes, you may find that other people’s grass really is as green as it looks. Healthy and well nurtured as they carefully take the time and effort to look after it on a regular basis. Instead of feeling threatened by it, I’m learning to aspire to that instead, to use it as a benchmark to reach my own goal. Other times, upon closer inspection, the grass is actually patchy and unkempt when the lighting begins to change and the illusion wears off. The occasional gardens are just fertilised with the deceptive, hollow glow of pure bullshit (or a great Snapchat filter…).
So now it’s time to stop. To stop spending my precious free time committing myself to occasions that I really don’t have the time, money and frankly, the inclination for and start putting my own family first again. To motivate myself to do better when I’m feeling stale and sluggish. To turn my phone off after 9pm and give myself some undisturbed, quality time to properly recoup after a long day. It’s time to start working on my own lawn again.