On Jealousy: Envy for Those Without Burden

If I never see another hospital again, it will be too soon.

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Photo by R O on Unsplash

You may not know how cold hospitals are. Or, perhaps enough time has passed since your last visit that you simply forgot. It’s easily a detail that escapes you over time.

You forget the unforgiving stiffness of the chairs. The relentless coming-and-going of staff. The drone of some patient’s whatever-machine beeping down the hall.

Such important details at the time. Or so they seem.

In all my decades alive and living, I would venture to say I’ve spent a full year in hospitals — not for myself, but for others.

Enough time for the doctors, nurses, and cleaning staff to know you by name. To know when there has been a birthday. To know which sibling should (or should not) be the recipient of life-changing news.

If any of this is foreign to you, you have my envy, and I am jealous.

I’m jealous to be at a place in my life when the hardest conversations aren’t about brunch or traffic or vacation spots.

The hardest conversations now are real things, like end-of-life arrangements, caretakers, and the most gut-wrenching phone calls you’ll ever have to make — or receive.

Someone recently told me:

“We’re privileged to have these problems.”

Like somehow, these “privileges” are little merit badges you get to sew on your jacket. And maybe that’s a nice little sentiment.

But I promise you I’d be just fine without those privileges.

The burden of carrying such privileges is fucking heavy, and I have great, jealous envy for those without burden.

Small southpaw writing about nonprofits, creativity, kindness, and life.

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