Envy can be exhausting, but jealousy is really simple - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Envy can be exhausting, but jealousy is really simple

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Lynne D. Schwabe Lynne D. Schwabe
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Lynne D. Schwabe was owner of Schwabe-May of Charleston, ran her own marketing consulting firm and is a nationally recognized motivational speaker. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Women's Wear Daily, and has appeared on CNBC's Power Lunch. She is now director of development for the National Youth Science Foundation. She can be reached at schwabestatejournal@gmail.com

I looked up the words "jealousy" and "envy" in the dictionary. They aren't the same. If you are jealous, you are worried about losing something that you already have. If you are envious, you want something that someone else has that you don't. Envy is one of the seven deadly sins; I think it comes in at around six or seven. At least it isn't No. 1. I am relieved, because I am riddled with envy.

I envy those women who say things like, "I just cannot eat more than a half of a sandwich, or I feel sick." These women are the same ones who say, "I am just not into desserts." These women usually wear a size six, have loads of energy, and are the sexual fantasies of their sons' college-aged roommates. I would like to spend one day walking around in their Cole Haan loafers.

I used to envy Oprah Winfrey: her enormous success, her incredible talent, her wealth, her Stedman. I don't envy her any longer because she's an angst peddler. The only books she ever recommends are about downtrodden people with horrible childhoods. And the fact that their current lives are incrementally less horrible than they were before is supposed to be uplifting in some way. I have plenty of angst of my own. I don't need to supplement it with other people's angst. This is  a step in the right direction toward envy-shedding, but I still envy far more than I don't. I fear this means that I am deeply shallow.

I envy bloggers who make the big bucks. These are often young women who somehow manage to have six children younger than age 13, husbands who are corporate lawyers or architects, and companies who want to pay them thousands of dollars for blogging about their products. I know quite a few of these young dynamos. They say scornful things like, "Can you believe it? Someone actually asked me to write them a guest post for FREE." I am not sure why I envy these women, because they are often stressed out, exhausted and overworked. But they all seem to be so glamorous — taking meetings with advertisers, getting on planes for important conferences and speaking at worldwide blog events. I hate getting dressed to go to the grocery, so go figure.

I envy people who have housekeepers. I used to have a woman who cleaned my house once weekly, and it was heaven. The toilets were never dirty. All the tabletops shone. Heel marks on linoleum were other women's problems. Now that I am without cleaning person and the children are grown, my dust balls are the size of watermelons and there are dollops of unknown greenish things on the inside of my refrigerator. I could build a whole, new cat from the cat hair drifting slowly around my condo.

I am envious of every writer who has ever published a book. With the advent of self-publishing, this is almost everybody in the world except me. Envying these people has become somewhat of a lonely exercise, since all I have to do now is write one myself and put it out there. I am working on it, but it is so much easier to just envy everybody else.

I envy women whose husbands or companions are quiet and shy. Going to a social event with these men must be such a delight. These women don't have to shush their mates at a party when they exclaim things like "OH, LOOK! IT'S THE SMITHS! ISN'T HE THE ONE WITH THE COLOSTOMY?"

It is such a long list. I envy buffed women who don't have bad hair days, people who don't sweat, anyone who has run a marathon, women who have huge diamonds and drive Jaguars, couples who have "date nights," anyone who has ever been to Greece, people who can sit in the full Lotus position, women with long eyelashes and creative thinkers. I envy anyone without wrinkles and whose body isn't insistently sliding south. This envy gig is totally exhausting and a no-win situation.

If I lose 25 pounds, make lots of money writing blogs or my book, get a housekeeper, find a companion who looks and sounds like Cary Grant, I could spend all my waking hours worrying about losing these newfound delights and being jealous of those who threaten them.

But, bottom line: I'm jealous of what I have and what I hope never to lose: health, happiness and a wonderful family.