Monday, March 31, 2008


I just don't get jealous.

Seriously. And I know it’s a perfectly normal human reaction. I also know jealousy and envy can be destructive.

So I was wondering what it is that makes me so different in this regard, so in case anyone wants to become jealousy-proof, maybe I can lend a hand and share my secret.

All I can tell you is this:

If I see that somebody has something I want, two things happen.

One, I feel elated for that person. And it’s an elation in two parts.

In the first part, I’m living vicariously through that person’s gain; I feel their thrill. In the second part, I recognize that if Wonderful Thing X can happen to them, it could also happen to me. This other person’s good fortune has proven to me that the dream is possible. And I love possibility.

Two: the inevitable. I acknowledge that this person now possesses that which I wish to possess. But this is a purely intellectual observation. I don’t "feel" anything black or stormy or sickening. I know what jealousy and envy feel like; I have memories of those sensations in my body. But these emotions haven’t been a part of my life since I was a teenager. My reaction these days is pretty bland and practical. I just shrug and think,

"Well, if I’d wanted Wonderful Thing X badly enough, I could’ve given it higher priority, could’ve worked harder. But I didn’t. I guess my focus has been elsewhere."

If I don’t have what you have, I only have myself to blame.

And I believe anything’s possible. I believe I can make anything possible.

So can you.

But it’s up to you where you choose to apply your energy. You’re the captain of your life. You can go anywhere you want, or you can stay in port and go nowhere. But if you are going to lift anchor, you need to pick a destination and map your route. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely thrive on plotting adventures.

I guess on some level, deep beneath the day-to-day frenzy of getting things done, beyond the wild whirring of my imagination, there’s a quiet, steadfast faith that my day will come. That all my many days will come, as I make each dream happen in time. It just takes effort. Movement. Purposeful movement, one step at a time.

And if you give up along the way, one thing is guaranteed: you’ll never get where you were going. But if you keep moving, eventually, you’ll find yourself someplace new.

My ships do come in, and they’ll continue to. Sometimes they’re brightly-painted rowboats I’ve been watching from the shore since they were distant specks on the seas of my imagination.

Sometimes they’re puttering little bathtub boats that arrive unexpectedly and make me giddy for a day.

Sometimes they’re messages in bottles I almost miss in the froth if I’m not watching closely.

Other times they’re bigger vessels I’ve had to tow into shore myself, with a rope thrown over one shoulder -- heave, ho! Heave, ho! Heave, ho! -- laborious, exhausting tugs on rope that leaves my skin raw. And the sweat is always worth it.

And every now and then, the Queen Mary appears on the horizon -- I can just barely see her! -- and I look forward to the day when she finally responds to my winking signals from shore, and rolls on in.

I can’t be jealous of anyone else. I can only be frustrated with myself. And even that’s wasted energy. I’m workin’ on it.