Friday, June 22, 2012

Envy & Inadequacy

Last night, I hosted a book club meeting at my apartment. Only two lovely ladies were able to attend out of the eight total members in our group, but it was still a very nice evening.  Being a part of the book club is relatively new to me (I was invited to join by a co-worker at my former job) and I’ve missed a few meetings myself due to being overwhelmed by my new job.
Leading up to hosting I felt negatively several times about our apartment. First, I felt bad for living in an apartment at all, since many of the book club women live in houses. Then I feel bad about our old, broken couch, the dirty carpet, our lack of a real bed, my embarrassing old furniture some of which I have had since I was a teenager, the bare white walls with no framed artwork or photographs. I feel inadequate, and nervous about being judged. It’s a terrible feeling because I don’t usually view our home through that set of eyes. On a normal day, I love our home. It’s comfortable, it’s us, it’s peaceful.  It’s a safe place for my husband and I both to come home to every day – it’s our sanctuary. We don’t have people over very often (mostly because we live in an apartment, and have limited space and seating) so opening our home up like this was in a way an invasion of privacy and made me feel vulnerable.
When my guests arrived they were very complimentary of the apartment and I felt more at ease. But as the conversations strayed from the book and towards personal life I began feeling poorly again. Both women travel regularly to Italy. Both have vacations planned this summer – two weeks at beautiful beaches in North Carolina and a trip across the country to California. Both women live in real houses and spend their weekends decorating and working on home improvements. When I mentioned wishing we lived in a house one of my guests, whom I had just met for the first time, said in an almost singsong voice “now is the time to buy!” I can hear the sentence ringing in my ears. Now may very well be a great time to buy a house, but not for someone without any money.
I envy their trips, their travels, their shopping sprees at Home Depot, their backyards, their family beach houses, their spare bedrooms that are used as workout rooms and crafting spaces. That lifestyle feels so unattainable sometimes.  I often wonder where I went wrong. Was it a series of poor decisions on my part the led me to not have these things I covet? Is it because I didn’t choose the right school or major, and took too long to finish my education? Career choices? Lack of drive? Spending and savings decisions? I'm not sure either of these women are dealing with debt or child support. Is it too late to achieve things like owning a home, being able to afford a summer vacation every year, occasionally traveling the world?
All in all, I enjoyed playing hostess for a few hours and it was very nice being social and having some girl time. On a positive note - our cat, who is extremely friendly, vocal, and lovey, was the star of the night and both of my guests fell in love with him.
The comparison game is a terrible one to play. Sometimes I just feel so behind ...

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