I work as a barista a few afternoons a week, but I went in yesterday morning to cover a coworker’s shift. I’m not usually there in the morning and there’s a different vibe. In the afternoons everyone is chill and relaxed because they don’t have anywhere to be. Morning cafe patrons are often in a rush.
But I noticed a few customers yesterday who happened to have time to sit and chat at a table. It was about 10:30am and two 30-something women walked in wearing black yoga pants and tank tops. Whether they had just finished a yoga class or were merely rocking the athleisure aesthetic I wasn’t sure. But they looked casual yet stylish, and I took note of them. They were all smiles and looked to be having a pleasant morning. They ordered their drinks in mugs ‘for here’ and sat down together, after briefly stopping by another table to say hi to some acquaintances.
I watched these women from the other side of the counter, and couldn’t help but wish I was one of them.
“I want to wear cute, flattering black yoga pants and go to a cafe and meet with friends,” I thought. “I want to have time in the mornings to have a leisurely coffee date.” “I want to be able to afford that lifestyle.”
And then I realized. I can already do all of that if I wanted to.
I own black yoga pants. I could wear them out to a coffee shop.
I have friends. I could meet them for coffee.
The earliest I work each day is noon. I already do have my mornings free.
Coffee now and again is not outside my means. I can afford the occasional $5 latte.
Well, I asked myself, then why don’t I do it? Why don’t I put on some athleisure and meet a friend for coffee? Why am I standing here jealous of something easily within my grasp?
I’m typing out these questions as if I’m about to answer them for you in the next paragraph. But I don’t have the answers.
I suppose I’d rather spend my mornings quietly by myself, getting some things done, eating breakfast, taking my dog for a morning stroll. I think the idea of getting coffee with a friend doesn’t really even enter my mind. Perhaps I feel more social in the evenings?
But the point of sharing this story with you is that I found myself jealous of something that 1) I could have, too, and 2) I apparently don’t even want.
And it got me thinking: how often are we jealous of things we don’t even want? (tweet that)
I’m reminded again of Mark Manson’s post about how we don’t follow our dreams because they aren’t really our dreams. He talks about how it was his dream for years to become a rock star. Yet he never worked to make it happen because the fantasy was more appealing than actually doing it.
I think that’s what I experienced yesterday morning. I saw those two women and I pictured myself being that cute, post-yoga girl who’s casually out with a friend for coffee. Doesn’t that just sound good? Isn’t that the woman I want to be?
I see now that this is why it’s important to have clarity about one’s values. What’s important to me? What makes me happy? Who do I want to be?
So often we think we want to be a certain “type” of person. The type who wears xyz, the type who eats xyz, the type who works in xyz industry.
Yet who do we actually want to be?
Yesterday I learned that I need to spend more time figuring this out. Maybe I can get together with a friend and discuss it over coffee. (Is that what people talk about there??)
Have you had an experience where you were jealous of something you could easily have if you wanted it?