I believe it is the Buddhists that have the principle that suffering is caused by want. And I have worked hard to shrink the part of my personality that wants things for purely selfish reasons. I'm not prone to be jealous of other people, or particularly avaristic or covetous. I will want things for other people, especially if I can be part of the mechanism that makes that happen. I have clear throughlines at work, for instance, where I desire a certain outcome and will work hard to get that. But that sort of want is altruistic, as it enhances the greater good.
The more selfish wants of this world quickly get wearisome. I don't really want for much that I actually need, and usually don't "need" what I think I want. If I post a picture on Facebook of a car I admire, for instance, I may have wanted it - for about a second. But the realities of ownership of that vehicle usually far outweigh the benefits of having it. So I am happy to just admire the craftsmanship and beauty in front of me. (I should be plainspoken here and say, too, that this may be how I approach relationships....and maybe that needs revision. Can I ever find myself a good partner without, at some point, coveting?)
Recently, I spotted this beautiful 1970 Cadillac DeVille Classic, wonderfully restored, near my house. Yeah, I want! I want to look at it for a long time; I want to drive it. But I don't want to HAVE it.
However, there are a couple things lately that have really pushed my WANT button and pushed it hard enough to be called actual jealousy.
One of those things is this:
No, not the pink bag. A FB friend posted this. She says that after a meeting where another patient picked up her oxygen by mistake, she decided to bling out her equipment so it couldn't be mistaken for someone else's. Great idea! Then I noticed: it's a Helios system. And the green-eyed monster took control!
Why does she get a Helios system and I can't? If they're allowed anywhere, why not everywhere? If one company does it, why not all? If one BRANCH of a company does it, why not all of them? I am struggling daily with refilling these heavy tanks and could be much happier commuting with a Helios liquid oxygen system, I assure you!
This is one of the things about this stage of CF that does suck. Working with oxygen companies is a crapshoot at best. You'd think that life-support-type equipment (and the patients needing it) would be handled a touch more professionally and supportively, especially if a particular piece of equipment allows a patient to resume the functions of a normal life. But no....dealing with oxygen companies is more akin dealing with furniture delivery people.
It doesn't help that I read this shortly after my PD1000 regulator went on the fritz and left without sufficient oxygen supply while an hour (and much walking and stairs) away from home.
The other thing that has touched off some real jealousy and which prompted this blog post, is that for the last five days in a row, I've seen morning or evening notices on FB that yet another FB acquaintance (or member of one of the transplant groups) has been transplanted. It's like the nation's transplant teams, as a whole, are settin' 'em up and knockin' 'em down like bowling pins.... and I'm feeling like I'm a bowling pin that's fallen behind some piece of machinery and forgotten. Some of these patients were in far worse condition than I, and I am not jealous of them. Other patients - other areas of the country - they were in better condition. Or same condition but waited a matter of weeks, not months or years. I don't know how the patients who have waited for YEARS and still haven't been called have managed to stay sane, because this is definitely gnawing at me.
Obviously, the common thread among these things -- the fine cars, the Helios, the operation -- is that these items are scarce. Scarcity seems to drive want. (Duh.) But my jealousy only boils up when I'm looking at a scarce item that I could have conceivably had (or will get), but is consistently denied to me for little to no good reason.
I wish all these recently-transplanted patients well, and am truly thankful transplants can even be done. Yet I'll continue to struggle to keep the green-eyed monster at bay. I'm only human, after all.