never married, over forty, a little bitter

Tag: envy


This past week I had lunch with a work friend to whom I confessed my feelings of surprise and envy at seeing the photo of my former college acquaintance in front of her large new house with her husband and three children.

I explained that if I widened my lens, I realized I had a lot to be thankful for, but when I compared myself to the people I considered my peers– my former high school and college friends– I felt I came up short.  There’s something painful about thinking back on all of us at twenty and then fast forwarding to today, where many are living in nice homes with large families and I’m still in a one-bedroom apartment.

My lunch companion, who is going through a divorce, said it’s easy for her to feel the same way when she looks at the wealthy wives in her neighborhood or her high school friends who are able to afford huge homes back in her home state.  In reality, though, she’s much happier now that she has shed the stress of maintaining a house and cooking and cleaning for a husband.  Her workload at home is lighter, and she’s able to treat herself to nights on the town and tennis lessons when her child stays with her ex.

I also came to the realization during our conversation that, on the surface, perhaps my life seems enviable to others;  I could certainly spin it that way.  The actual reality is complex, but I’m glad I tackled the challenge of living in an exciting city; for the time being, it gives me some feelings of pride.

We did both agree that while, on the whole, are jobs are decent, the stay-at-home wives we know are lucky to be sheltered from the dispiriting B.S. we have to put up with on a regular basis.  They have no idea, we think.

adding up

I fear this post is going to put the “bitter” back in “thebitterbabe.”  If nothing else, it’s a good example of why I feel the need to remain anonymous.  I couldn’t be this honest otherwise.

Tonight a photo on the dreaded Facebook made me angry.  It was posted by a nice woman I knew in college, someone I’ve never had any beef with.  Today, however, she posted a photo of her family (she and her husband have three young children ) in front of the enormous house they just purchased in a tony zipcode.  Small houses in that area start at half a million.

The thing is, her husband is not a hedge fund manager.  He works in a profession where he may be pulling in around 100k, give or take.  While that could take you far in some parts of the country, in my current city lots of people making that kind of money still live in apartments.  Same with the area of the country they are residing in.

So what gives?  She doesn’t work.  I feel, somehow, lied to, as if there has to be more to the story.  I’m guessing something along the lines of a fairy grandmother passing away and leaving a million dollar inheritance.  It just doesn’t add up.

Why does it matter?  Why am I angry?

I suppose I feel misled.  It’s like looking at hundreds of magazine photos of models who are somehow cellulite-free, only to learn they have all been airbrushed.  There’s that feeling of failure– why am I still living in an apartment, unable to afford even one child?  If there is more to the story, if it is indeed impossible for the average professional to afford their lifestyle in today’s economy, then I have been made to feel bad over something that has no reflection on me or my abilities.

In any case, that is exactly what I need to remember in the long one.  In cases like this it is best to keep the blinders on.