On Jealousy: Envy for Those Without Burden
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.