I am rarely jealous. Like most girls I was never a fan of other girls moving in on my boyfriends, etc, but I don’t think I’m an overly jealous person. Less so since being ill anyway. But when your life is on hold, you can’t help but notice how other people’s lives are continuing. It seems their life is going to plan, while yours most certainly isn’t.
Jealousy is a horrible thing. I despise it. I feel like an awful human being for being envious of other people’s lives. I should be thankful for my own! There are so many people and families worse off. I have been brought up to count my blessings and be grateful and modest. But, because I am a human being, I don’t always manage to not feel sorry for myself. Perhaps jealousy isn’t the most accurate word, but you get my gist. It’s more the feeling of missing out. These aren’t feelings I often get, but they do seem to come as part of the chronic illness package.
This year there was the opportunity of the holiday of a lifetime. Australia! My cousin was living there this year and my sister and other cousin went out this summer to visit her and travel the East Coast. It was never even a possibility that I would make it. I can’t manage more than a couple of hours out of the house or travel very far because of my M.E. I didn’t even really feel sad that I couldn’t go. It was just so unrealistic to even dream about it. In fact I struggle to even daydream about these things now because I can no longer imagine what it is like to be normal.
I had admitted defeat and I was so excited for them. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about something I’m not taking part in haha! The girls had a great time and I was extremely impressed by their ability to step up and photograph everything (I’ve always been unofficial photographer!) My sister and I had a tanning war over the summer while she was away. Despite the St Tropez, I lost!
It was harder to look through their photos than I’d imagined. We’ve always been close. We were brought up together; us four girls. I admit I felt like I was missing out. I wasn’t a part of this adventure and their shared memories of it.
This week my cousin returns home to England and I cannot wait to see her. I haven’t seen my other cousin since before her summer holiday to Oz either so the reunion is long overdue! But it hit me that my chance to visit her while she’s living in Australia is now over.
I didn’t make it.
I feel crushed by this fact. It is highly unlikely that another opportunity will arise when the we are all free, can all afford it, are all healthy enough, to Australia together. They’ve been there, done that, already now anyway, so it wouldn’t be the same. I feel torn between extreme happiness for the three of them, guilt for not making it, and sadness for myself for missing out.
And this opens a whole can of worms…as people carry on and move on with their lives mine is stuck on pause, even if it might only be temporary.
Will I ever be able to move out? Financially I am on the back-foot after a couple of years of not earning, so will I ever be able to afford to move out even if I become well enough to? Relationships is another one, although I’m quite happy on my own. To enter a relationship with someone now, well, it would be a lot for them to take on. I need a carer more than I need a boyfriend! My friends are starting to buy houses, have babies, get married, and while not all of them are, I feel everyone has a head start. Not that it’s a race.
Please don’t think for a moment that I’m not happy for my family and friends. Their happiness is a part of what keeps me smiling. Please don’t think that I feel this way 24/7. I don’t. Very, very far from it. I am learning to live in the present; something I had never been able to do before. It’s as if I’ve been able to take a step back and look at my life from a different angle. It’s quite lovely!
I don’t want people to feel bad for me or feel bad for doing things without me, or for being happy. I want the people I love to be happy. I’m just letting you in so that you see all sides of chronic illness.
Just don’t take anything for granted. Trust me.