Being Broke Is Bringing Out My Green-Eyed Monster
It’s time to admit something that I’ve denied all my life: I am spoiled. More often than not I have gotten my way, especially when it comes to material things. When my parents weren’t outright giving me things (or money) they still enabled me to spoil myself by providing the roof over my head and food in my belly, free of charge. My financial responsibilities were of my own making--credit cards, my car note (for a car unnecessarily purchased brand-spanking-new) and student loans (which could’ve been much lower if I hadn’t been so greedy for a refund check in undergrad).
Now I’ve been out on my own for about a year and a half, and honestly it has been rough. I’ve always had expensive tastes that could never quite be satiated, like dreaming of European vacays and settling for quick trips stateside. But forgoing some of the little luxuries I had while living with my parents is a hard, bitter pill to swallow. It’s been forever since I’ve bought clothes or shoes “just because” and I’ve had more staycations than I’d like. But even with my cutbacks and sacrifices, things are super tight financially.
And I guess all of that is to be expected to some degree. I’m not at all surprised that I have to give up certain things and watch my spending to have the peace of mind that comes with having my own place. I knew this. What i never expected was to discover that jealousy bubbles just under the surface, and it doesn’t take much to stir it up.
This week a coworker and I were at lunch when she mentioned the shopping spree she’d gone on that previous weekend. “Tori I’d spent over $200 before I realized it!” she said with a laugh. I gave my best chuckle while thinking to myself, “Did she not see me scraping together my $3 for lunch a few minutes ago?” She went on, blissfully unaware, explaining that she still needs more tops and shoes; after all, she has to be properly outfitted for her cruise in May! I politely smiled then changed the subject quickly. After all, what was there to say? “Please shut the hell up” was on repeat in my head but there was no way i’d say that.
She hadn’t done anything wrong or malicious. She was excited and wanted to share. I remember feeling the same way when I was preparing for my first cruise several years ago. I remember the great luck I’d feel when I could catch a great sale and rack up. Even though I’ve tried to push memories of better times out of my head so I don’t fall into a funk over my current state of affairs, I do remember. And I compare. And, even though I am happy for others, I’m jealous.
The problem isn’t just that I can’t do the things I used to. It’s that I look around and see other people, folks my age, who are making it happen. They are always out on the town, taking trips, driving new cars and living in nice homes. and even though I did all the “right” things just like they did, they have a grip on adulting that i do not.
If nothing else, perhaps this period of struggle is a lesson in humility. Or it’s a time to learn restraint so that when I marry a millionaire or win the lotto i don’t end up as one of those tragic rags to riches to rags story. At the very least I see a character flaw that needs to be rectified. Maybe the Universe will reward me when I slay the green-eyed monster.