I’m not actually a jealous person. The English major in me gets annoyed with people who don’t know the difference between jealousy and envy: “Jealousy is an emotion and typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something that the person values, such as a relationship, friendship, or love. Jealousy often consists of a combination of emotions such as anger, sadness, and disgust. Jealousy differs from envy in that jealousy is about something one has and is afraid of losing, while envy refers to something one does not have and either wants to acquire or to prevent another from acquiring” (Wikipedia, which I never learned how to properly cite because I graduated from college in the days when quoting Wikipedia was forbidden).

…But I am an envious person. I like my life and myself for the most part, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like someone else’s life and self a little bit more. The other night when I should have been reading White Teeth, I was looking at friends of friends on Facebook and I came across a girl from college who is just gorgeous and who taught yoga and who just graduated from medical school and who is now a surgery resident in Atlanta and who has a dog. I don’t necessarily want to be a surgery resident, and if being a sorority girl was a requirement in her equation, I could do without that. But I want her beauty and prestige and accomplishment and yoga teacher credentials. And I want a dog, even though I’m a cat person. Or maybe I don’t quite want a dog, but I want the kind of lifestyle that would give me the option of training and raising a puppy and going on 3 walks a day if I wanted to.

And then there’s the intern at work, who could read this if she wanted to because she’s my Facebook friend. I think she’s perfectly lovely and unworthy of criticism, which is, of course, the problem. She’s about to finish college, and I bet she’ll have a better perspective and outlook than I did. And she is already going to go to yoga teacher training, something that I want to do by age 30. And she’s 21.

I’m also a big participant in the Grass is Always Greener movement. I have friends who are a lot like me–not wealthy, not gorgeous, but super-awesome–who just so happen to maybe live in a really cool apartment or who have created some kind of cozy routine for themselves. And they tell me that those things don’t make them happy. I believe them, of course, but that doesn’t stop me from believing that if I just had a different abode or if I did something slightly different in my off hours, the universe would shift and things would be oh-so-much better.

So, since I know that logically, nothing would really change for me, I read books where I can pretend to be the character. I alter my routine on my day off. I keep in mind that I love my job and I will someday teach yoga and I’ve always wanted to live in a ca. 1915 apartment like I do and I really like my eyes and I’m happier with a cat, anyway. And I give thanks that I don’t believe in the 7 deadly sins. Because between the envy and the 2/3 bag of Flavor-Blasted Goldfish I ate with lunch (not for lunch, but in addition to lunch) today (gluttony) and sleeping from midnight to noon last night (sloth), I would be doomed.