Thursday, March 13, 2014

Envy, Parallel Lives and Other Enticements

Oh!  A cold finally caught up with me this winter.  Just when I thought it was safe to venture out without a jacket.

Now I'm sitting here with my green cocktail, a perfect blend of spinach, coconut water, mango, and protein powder.  Other than the prospect of stretching out in my bed tonight, my cold is turning today's 'get to do's' into 'got to do's'.   And my 'got to do's', like my workout for my shoulder rehabilitation, into my 'get it over with's'.

Today I'm thinking about the lives we once led, and the life we now lead, then as a couple, now solo.  Couples and singles; We travel alongside each other in different worlds.  Living parallel lives.  I could burn up with envy for couples, but my envy has pretty much burnt out.  It's morphed into putting my effort into something I can actually accomplish.  Now is the time to follow where enticement leads instead of trying to jump tracks back over to coupledom.  Oh, I still believe men are worth the trouble!  Well, the ones I've dated, anyway.

Assuming you've been widowed awhile, may I ask what you think about single life?  Enticing?  Ever envious of it when you were married?  Tell me, did you ever smush your face up against the window wishing you could be that single woman sitting inside?  Truth be told, I did on several occasions when I was married - whenever we hit rough patches.  The reality of single life is, uh, different than what I imagined.  But wait.  The other day I heard about a single woman my age who went to Norway on her own, traveling on a mail boat from one fjord to the next. She stayed at an ice hotel north of the Arctic circle and hired a fellow to take her dog sledding.  WOW!! I thought, my face smashed up against the window.  But wait.  She's like me!  She could be me!

You may find this a rather odd way to follow one's bliss - having a drink at an ice bar.  But it sounds so enticing that it's going on my bucket list, along with walking the Camino de Santiago trail in Spain, and Hadrian's Wall in England.

Whether or not this is wise leads me to an article I read in today's New York Times about wisdom and older age.  I figure that since a good many of us will encounter old age as single women, I'd pass it along.

Phyllis Korkki wrote this.

She quotes:
"True personal wisdom involves five elements, said Professor Staudinger, now a life span psychologist and professor at Columbia University. They are
  • self-insight;
  • the ability to demonstrate personal growth;
  • self-awareness in terms of your historical era and your family history;
  •  understanding that priorities and values, including your own, are not absolute; and
  • an awareness of life’s ambiguities."
In addition...

"An impediment to wisdom is thinking, “I can’t stand who I am now because I’m not who I used to be,” said Isabella S. Bick, a psychotherapist ..."

I read this article, and am not sure I'm 'there'.  I continue to experiment.  Right now I'm simply trying to follow what entices me without hurting anyone, myself included.  If this does not end up depositing me at wisdom's door, so be it.  I may simply be looking at the world upside down and getting soft in the head.


  1. Married/single...I can't remember ever being envious of either group. And I've done my sting at both, made the most of both at the time. Envy, to me, implies a lack of self confidence in myself, that I can't be as happy as someone else unless I can have what they have and/or the ability to set goals and obtain them. We used to know a couple who were high school sweethearts, raised three kids and every where they'd go they held hands, played kissy-face in public. No one would have guessed that after 25 years they'd get divorced because one of them turned out to be an in-the-closet gay. The point is we don't know what REALLY goes on in other people's lives so why waste the energy on envy? We could be using that energy on reaching our own goals. Like the woman who went to Norway, there is nothing but yourself stopping you from doing something similar. It's all about priorities and how much you're willing to gamble on my opinion.

  2. Your opinion is the best advice I've ever gotten... how'd you get so wise !? I especially love your last line - i.e., Gamble on yourself and go for it.

    Envy isn't all bad, if we own that it's within our power to have what we yearn for. Envy got me dating. It got me bicycling. It got me traveling. Now I'm 'using' it to build better social skills to make more friends. I have a way to go with that one...

    The bird I photographed at my suet feeder. Is this the bird you saw at your feeder?

    1. Maybe one of us is using the word 'envy' wrong. LOL Either way I'm glad it's motivating you.

      I wondered if that photo was one you took or grabbed off the internet. No, my bird is not like your red-bellied woodpecker---why they call it that, is a mystery. I get those all the time and they are one of my favorite birds along with the red-headed woodpeckers. If I ever get a good photo of my stranger I'm going to post it at a bird site.