I admit it.
I have life envy. Often. Husband teases me about it constantly - usually when I bemoaning my lack of 6 bedroomed Victorian detached mansion replete with office above garage and room for a housekeeper/nanny having read some article in some Sunday supplement or other.
Actually it tends to happen when I hunker down with the latest LIVING ETC. magazine (http://www.livingetc.com/gallery/main.php) and ooh and ahh over a rug/sofa/kitchen opening out onto decking/cool mirror/fancy accessories. I never stop to think that A. the house featured NEVER looks like this - only for 10 mins while the damn photo was being taken and it was emptied of all normal living items and replaced with a stylist's fairy lights/ token books/ throw/ white things that would never last in a house with kids for more than two seconds or B. The women who lives there hasn't been shagged by her husband in 2 years and spends her life decorating and running up debt because she is so depressed or C. She spends all her life doing up her house and hasn't relaxed in said house since 1985 - she checks the cooker is off 25 times a day and sends the kids to boarding school lest they scratch the white varnished floors...
But life envy - it's all over the place. Rife where I grew up - everyone looking over everyone else's fence to check out who was driving what/wallpapering what/drinking what/doing whom... I can distinctly remember our family sharing a phoneline (in the days when you did) with the street gossip - and her breathing quietly as she listened in to my inane phonecalls to schoolmates... People get all insecure when their friends start to have more than them, afford better holidays, schools and shoes... Actually I don't - as I'm pretty happy with my lot - and I genuinely aint materialistic - but I do hanker for a few home improvements it has to be said.
And yes, reading about model Laura Bailey (don't think she works much mind) having a housekeeper to do all her laundry and food shopping/cooking/cleaning - and a nanny too - did invoke stirrings of a 'oh the lucky bitch' in me. Instead of folding a small country's worth of socks etc while watching 'I'm a celebrity GMOOH' wearing sweatpants and maternity bras, if I was in Laura's high heeled designer shoes I'd be tripping the light fantastic at fashiony events in London and coming home to a fridge stocked with home made leftovers and a closet filled with folded ironed clothes. Bet Laura really misses mopping the floors and trying to find a car parking space in Waitrose on a Saturday avo; doing the nit check and stressing that her kids haven't got their swim kit ready in time for this week's lesson. It must be hell cooped up in a mansion in Notting Hill with a bathroom the size of my house and a knicker drawer filled with Agent Provocateur's finest. Not that I am yellow and round and bitter shaped... nope, not me.
Sometimes it creeps up on us... Friends disappear because they can't handle our joy (I've been de-friended on Facebook by someone since I announced my pregnancy) just as quickly as friends vanish when they don't know how to react if something bad happens... Admit it - when a colleague got a promotion over you and you wished them well, deep down you didn't mean it - you were thinking 'Bastard! That job was mine dammit!' Or when a buddy shows off her size 8 trousers who was always the 'frumpy mate' you feel a sense of unease that your size 10/12s are starting to dig in ever since last Xmas? It's easier to commiserate that celebrate sometimes - but one thing I have learned, is that if you are happy in general, it's pretty hard to be miserable at other folk's joy. Or to have life envy.
On reflection, I don't have life envy - just home furnishings envy. Must be all this fucking nesting I am doing as I count down the days. A week on Monday and I won't have time for any kind of envy - except perhaps for those who sleep. Or Laura and her live in Nanny...