Friday, February 22, 2008

Envy by Nannette Croce

Yes, I feel envy sometimes. There’s the “useful” envy that I’m not ashamed to admit. As when a new writer makes it into the New Yorker the first time out. That envy leads me to analyze the author’s writing and work at improving my own. Then there’s the “shallow” envy I hate to admit. What I feel about the woman at the gym, five years my senior, who doesn’t look good for her age. She looks good for any age with her tight figure and high cheek bones.

Truthfully, envy may be too strong a word, because, unlike when I was a teenager, I wouldn’t switch places with anyone anymore, not even a movie star or supermodel. With age I’ve learned that every life has its drawbacks.

In our teens it’s hard to sympathize with someone who needs to look absolutely perfect at all times. Most teens spend too much time trying to achieve perfection anyway. Why waste sympathy on someone who’s 90% there when she wakes up in the morning.

Envy is like a photograph. Everyone’s life looks better from afar than it does close up.

Now I see how women living in the tabloid spotlight are required to maintain tank-top figures even during pregnancy. And we've certainly learned that being a prince or princess or queen hardly gives one a pass on misery. Bill Gates worries about Steve Jobs and Steve Jobs worries about Bill Gates.

If only life were like that old McDonald's commercial––"have it your way." I'll have the high cheek bones but hold the philandering husband and obnoxious kid. It's not. Now when I feel the nibble of envy I think of all the wonderful things I have that the other person may not.


Kathryn Magendie said...

I've always said a tsp of envy motivates...or something like that...

Hollyweird is just that when it comes to "image" - I keep hoping for a turn around...some of those female actors are looking quite doll-like, unreal - I saw Cher the other day in an interview...scary. Not a line on her face - her lips big and puffy - she looked like a strangeling live weird doll...sad, since she would have aged very beautifully, I think. She railed against age though, as if it is a horrid disease...more like dis'ease...

Barbara Quinn said...

We all have our joys and our sorrows, and the longer we live the more of them we have and the more we can see that the other guy is in the same boat. I recently read that we can figure on living to 107 now. Ohmigod. My brain is already swimming with a lifetime of emotional events.Looking good? It takes me twice as long to look half as good now, but at least the wrinkles don't hurt.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Great post, Nannette. If I ever envied others their looks in the past, it was NEVER the superficial plastic kind of people. We must all learn to be happy with our insides first. Wouldn't it be nice if the pendulum swung and people just started wanting to look like real folks again? Maybe the new Dove "beauty at any age" will catch on. Till then, here's to life and all the lines and cushions it gives us. ;)

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