Last year five of our friends sold their houses and upgraded. Well, four friends and one across-the-street neighbor with whom we never interacted, not once ever in three years. Still.
I kind of lost myself for a bit.
Back in 2012 J and I bought our house with the intention of staying there a long time. I mean, 30-year-fixed long time. And it's big enough to grow into - we thought about that. It's in an awesome neighborhood with great schools - we thought about that, too. And it has vaulted ceilings so J can do his P-90x plyometrics workout without hitting the ceiling. (Vaulted ceilings were J's crazy weird #1 priority when we were house shopping. We rejected several houses because of inadequate ceiling height for plyo jumping. And can I just tell you that I don't even NEED one hand to count all the times J has done plyo jumps - or any workout at all - in our vaulted-ceiling living room because IT HASN'T HAPPENED ONE TIME IN THE ALMOST FOUR YEARS WE'VE LIVED THERE.)
Anyway. We thought a lot about the kind of house we wanted, we decided to get a "long-term" house instead of a "starter house," we found "the one," and we've lived there comfortably ever since. Happily, even.
At least, until someone we know decides to move. Then I lose it a little. Doubt starts to creep in.
Do we need more bedrooms? What if we have 2 kids and people come to visit? Do we need a mudroom? We need a mudroom. Do we need a bigger basement? They have a third house in their basement. That seems excessive and yet obviously necessary. They can fit two full-size pool tables in their basement - should we find somewhere we can do that? Will we ever even need two pool tables? We shouldn't rule it out. If we had this... If we had that... If we lived there...
It's all nonsensical. It's just complete nonsense.
But maybe you can relate?
Have you ever, even when you have everything you could possibly need, looked at someone else and thought, "Oh. Now I need/want that." Somehow, by comparison, what we have never seems to add up to even equal to what they have. Which is complete and utter bogusness.
"Comparison is the thief of joy." - Someone, somewhere, at some time.
(I say "someone..." because while I most often see this quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, I've also seen this attributed to many other people and I'm just too tired to do the research.)
But it's true. Comparison is like the vacuum of space, sucking out all of the joy/oxygen as soon as it touches our mind. It's almost instantaneous. I can be filled with contentment, happiness, and gratitude one minute, and the next wonder if we should get a new car because... ("because" nothing, because my car is just fine).
If we let it, comparison and wondering "what if/should we" will eat you up. It is a black hole. It will literally rob you of any chance you have to enjoy and make the most out of life. And, you know, of being a decent human being that people actually enjoy. (My husband's words.)
So what is the solution? It's different for everyone, I'd guess. But for me, I have found that when the monster of envy rises its head the best way to get my head on straight again is to say thank you (out loud) to whatever in my life I'm second-guessing. On any given day you might hear me say:
"Thank you, 2009 Kia Rondo, for having more head room than any other car I know of."
"Thank you, house, for having such high ceilings even though we never come close to touching them during those workouts we never do."
"Thank you, dryer, for drying our clothes fully and efficiently, especially now that we actually cleaned out the vent so as to prevent us all, including you, from dying tragically in a fire. So, also, you're welcome."
It's silly, but then again, so am I. It's helpful, though. Intentionally speaking out loud gratitude for what I have in my life reminds me that I always have enough. I'm fortunate and I'm lucky and I'm privileged. I remember that most people in the world are not, and I refocus my energy on how I can use our abundance to help those who have little.
(It would be misleading if I stopped here and let you think that I do this perfectly, even just a little bit well, all of the time. I do not. But I try. So, that's all we can really do, right? Try?)