I think we've all been there at some time in our lives but the word jealously is often regarded as a taboo subject when we get older. We like to think we won't be jealous of anyone; having a better car, living in a bigger house, having that perfect lifestyle, being successful. Even being envious isn't a particularly nice way to be but it beats being jealous in my book any day. Liz at Living with Kids wrote a poignant post about her friend who seems to have carried a jealous streak throughout her life, perhaps missing out on being content with her own existence and possibly being unable to see how others may envy her lifestyle. Such a shame yet so common at the same time. When my late father-in-law was alive, as some of you know, I had a somewhat difficult relationship with him, mixing his ways and mine being almost impossible to do. I was dealing with learning about autism after learning about Amy's diagnosis and trying my best to stay happily married while having a sarcastic old man constantly bullying me and stripping me of any confidence I brought to Northumberland. The Farmer meanwhile, going through much worse as he tried to run the farm and have orders continuously thrown at him day after day. But, despite those difficult times, we were (and still are) incredibly happy. I had everything, yet I didn't realise it because all I could see was a bitter and cantankerous old man who wished he was dead.
I spent the occasional weekends at my sister's who then lived in Dublin with her ex-husband. She lived in a beautiful home with expensive furniture and luxurious fittings. Her clothes were always designer and she wore platinum diamond rings of which her ex had bought for her. They had property and she had a well-paid job, he had his own business and together they were loaded. I used to arrive at her house thinking how lucky she was and how I wished I had all those material items dotted about her extravagant house. I guess you could say I envied her. I wasn't jealous because I have always been happy but I would arrive home and feel low at having Jim grind me down, at the way I hardly saw the Farmer and at having to share our precious time with his dad.
And then, one day a few years ago, my platinum clad sister moved back to England, her marriage broken down, her happiness having been tested. She has lived with our mum ever since and even though she isn't unhappy anymore, she often feels low. She loves visiting us at the farm, a freedom that she craves. She looks around at the countryside and breathes in the delights of contentment. Since Jim passed three years ago, mine and the Farmer's lives have improved dramatically and appreciating everything around us comes as second nature. I so want that for my sister. I love her so much and even though she may never have those material treasures that once graced her life, I want to see her as settled as I am; I want her to experience contentment as I know it. And I want her to look forward to leaving the farm after a visit, instead of feeling low, wondering when fulfilment will take her home.