Saturday, March 29, 2008

On Jealousy

"What we have here is a failure... to communicate." - Cool Hand Luke

This is going to be a brutally honest post.

I have some friends that do incredible things. My friend Jeremy has been to Isreal twice and is actively involved in starting an organization to stimulate discussion between real people from both countries. My friend Austin has seemingly traveled everywhere in Europe and speaks, at my last count, 5 languages. My friend Ben (I believe) is planning a trip to Japan on a tour for his book, which he published two years ago. The list goes on. If there was a facebook map that aggregated where your friends have been, instead of just showing where you yourself have been, mine would probably cover most of the world. And their achievements would likewise be outstanding.

There's a part of my brain that admires each of my friends for their accomplishments, and wishes them future success. But I have to admit that there's also a part of my brain that is intensely, viscerally jealous of other people's successes and future plans. Some higher, more cognitive part of my brain recognizes that it comes from our human need to compare ourselves to others, but the base feeling remains nonetheless.

Take this real estate venture that three of my best friends from college are about to undertake. They're going to buy a house (that already has tenants), fix it up a little bit through painting and landscaping, and begin renting it out for a profit. Some of the numbers that they're throwing around are pretty high, and what's more is that after a while they'll actually own the property themselves, at which point the returns will be even higher. And (here's one of the brutally honest parts) one of the main reasons that they are able to do it is because one of their financially successful dads is cosigning the lease.

The whole thing has made me rather jealous in a totally irrational way. First of all, I wish I was fucking involved. Of course, since they all live in Maine and the property is also going to be there, this is impossible. Plus, it's not like I have necessarily anything to offer them. Secondly, the fact that his dad is cosigning the lease seems unfair, but really ought to be irrelevant. Stuff like that happens all the time and my proximity to the situation doesn't change anything. I can't blame either of the parties involved; in fact, it seems like a good idea from both perspectives. My friend is using the resources he has available in the best way he can, and his dad is not simply giving him money. Instead, he is giving his son the opportunity to earn it in the open market.

Nevertheless, I AM STILL JEALOUS. There is a part of my brain that refuses to let this jealousy fade away.

But I think the best way to deal with the jealousy is to channel it as inspiration. You're going to do something awesome? I'm going to do something awesome too. That's another reason for me to encourage my friends to have success in whatever they do. That way, maybe it will encourage me to go out and do cool stuff, too. Any thoughts?