‘Oh honey, that’s amazing, I’m so pleased for you…’
I got off the phone and felt unsettled; unwelcome feelings overwhelmed me, stomping around as if they were wearing heavy boots. I am so pleased for him, and so proud of him, so proud. But… well… well, I’m jealous. There, I said it. What about me? I want something exciting to happen in my life. I want to do something life changing.
And it happens, doesn’t it? Friends or family share good news and we are pleased for them, but… But, it can also shine a bright light over our own unfulfilled wants and desires: the woman who is desperate for a baby on hearing the news that her best friend is pregnant; hearing your sister’s engagement news when you are stuck in a cycle of dating the ‘wrong’ guy; a good friend getting a promotion whilst you are still ‘making coffee’ – the genuine pleased for you emotions get attacked by feelings of jealousy and unfairness.
Husband is going to Colombia for two weeks in September on a volunteering programme – sponsored by his company – to work with disadvantaged children. He is also the only person accepted on the programme who doesn’t speak Spanish as his first language (this just makes me even prouder), and although he has been learning Spanish over the last few years, this will be a stretch for him. (Yes, I am jealous of him learning Spanish too.)
I love that I am married to a man who does interesting things with his life (who I get to do interesting things with); I don’t ever worry that our lives together will become a boring relay of work, EastEnders and a takeaway on a Friday. There are, of course, many mundane aspects to our lives, but I know there will always be a new experience, or another adventure on its way. We both share a curiosity about life and a desire to learn about the world, which has become an intrinsic part of ‘us’.
But… (yes, back to me again) the other sting for me is that we have had to cancel our next adventure – Switzerland – because it clashes with Husband’s trip to Colombia, and which we can’t reschedule because he needs the holiday allowance. I know, I am in no position to complain (Antigua, Japan and Spain so far this year people) but, well, I’ve always wanted to go to Switzerland!
Not that I would ever want to be the kind of wife who doesn’t support her husband; I certainly can’t ever imagine uttering the words ‘no, you can’t go!’. We have a saying in our house: No one is the Boss of Me. And yes, it’s clearly a silly saying, but it underpins the ethos of our marriage: we both believe in holding onto our independence within our choice to be dependent.
And Jeez, he so deserves this opportunity; I definitely don’t feel any resentment towards him. He works so hard (and is so good to me). And, of course, I could go off on my own and have life changing experiences. But as we all know, that isn’t as simple for me as it sounds. (Although, I fear I may sound like I am making excuses here – but at the moment, my health is not great and it certainly feels like my choices are limited.)
A wise friend said to me last week: ‘the personal journeys we are on (yes, we used the word journeys!) often turn out to be more rewarding and life changing than trips away.’ And as ‘journeys’ go, ‘this’ has been quite the trip. And as I sit here writing, I am reminded that writing has been a life changing experience for me. Whilst Husband has been ‘trapped’ in Corporate life, making sure we have bread on the table (and trips away, of course), my situation has created an opportunity to try new things. Maybe I have no reason to be jealous at all; maybe it’s just his turn.
But… still just a little sore about Switzerland.