I was having a business lunch a gentleman and we got into a discussion about how having a family can really limit your choices because you are responsible for the care of another human being. Specifically he said that he was stuck in his boring but very stable reasonably-paying job because he had a family.
I argued that children actually need only a bare minimum in terms of material things but that they could have incredibly rich lives if their parents provided the essentials of life (food, shelter, etc.) and much love and engagement with them personally. Is a child any less edified by a book loaned from a library rather than one they own?
ANYWAY, he then went on to argue that a big house and flashy car was necessary because ‘it made him feel bad’ when his cousin (the doctor) would come driving up the driveway in his new BMW or he drove his sedan to events and parked them next to friends’ Benz’s. (obviously this guy is well connected as most of my friends don’t even have cars but I digress…;)
….but maybe it is not a digression. I mean if your friends have values or standards that don’t mesh with yours, maybe it is time to evaluate why you are friends with these people? If you genuinely enjoy their company but it just so happens that they make much more money or like nice cars (and thus prioritize this in their spending), it is time to take a look inside and ask why you are so insecure about yourself. (I do wish I had told the guy this at the time but I did not think of it at the time) Once you really know your values and who you are, what others have or do becomes less and less important.
This guy has made up a very reasonable EXCUSE about why he doesn’t go after his exciting dream of working abroad and doesn’t fulfill the desire to work in developmental economics. He has a family and thus is stuck….but is he really. I daresay that if he were to structure his life and prioritze those dreams, he would have much less time and energy to be envious of others’ beamers.
When I find myself envious and unhappy over others’ success/happiness/possessions/life, I can usually find the source in the fact that I am not living my dreams and going after what I want. If I did, I would be much too caught up and exhilarated by my life to be evnious of others. They are going after what? well good for them!! I say…so am I.