When I made the list of 31 topics to write about this month, I mostly just picked things that were on my mind that night I made the list and that I thought were key factors in my life. There was a prompt list that I saw where I read about the monthly journaling idea and jealousy was one of the suggested ones. I don’t remember exactly why it stood out to me two weeks ago, and yet today I need to journal on it. I mean it seems like a perfectly fine subject to write on, I just don’t remember why I added it to the list. But here goes.
I think in my lifetime, jealousy is something that has gradually waned from something that I had a significant amount of to something that is a pretty rare thing I deal with. I think it’s as much to do with shifting to a practice of gratitude as it is anything else. Trying to be more happy and content not only with myself and where I am and what I have in life. But also comparing myself less and less to others and what they are or have. Let me give a few examples.
When I was a kid, particularly a teenager, I remember feeling legit jealousy towards other people all the time. Whether it was because they were better at sports, or their family had more money, or because girls were interested in them. I think this came from a lack of self-esteem but also from a mindset that I was entitled to things in life. Granted there are things a kid probably should be entitled to like support from parents and teachers, sustenance, health care, etc. But being good at sports or having a girlfriend probably isn’t one of them. But that didn’t change my jealousy and resentment towards people who had those things. I wanted them.
What’s funny about that is I think if you’d have asked me when I was younger if I was a jealous person I’d have said no. I think I absolutely would have denied it. I know I would deny it today. And maybe I still am somewhat today. I don’t feel that I am, but I want to at least be open to the idea that maybe you don’t ever fully erase yourself of jealous thoughts or behavior. I do think any jealousy I have today is stemmed from possibly seeing something that someone else has that I might want for myself in my own life. But i don’t think it comes from a place of resentment like it did in the past. I don’t want them to lose what they have so I can have it. Quite the opposite, I want others to have successes.
In regards to work, this is an area where I think I’ve maybe made the most strides in terms of jealousy. When I was first starting out in racing I was wholly content with the jobs I had and where I was in my career. I was just excited to be in the door. I was at Portland Meadows from 2006 to 2014 and I remember in those later couple of years, starting to feel some resentment that I hadn’t moved on towards any bigger opportunities. I had applied for some jobs but really never got an interview or any interest. I think in my mind I thought that next step would come quicker than it did. Again going back to that feeling of entitlement. When the Monmouth Park announcing job opened up in 2014 I applied and didn’t get it. But I remember getting the “sorry we’re hiring someone else email” from them. Added to the bottom of that email was a “For what it’s worth, you were in our final round of people we were choosing from and we think you have a real ability.” I’d never felt so good about not getting something in my life. It was a flicker of hope. I was happy when my friend got that job but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous of his ascent at the time. We had started our careers at the same time and I think it was a natural comparison for me, but it was also unrealistic to compare myself to someone who had a better skill set and probably worked harder at it. Unrealistic isn’t the right word here though, because after I typed that I thought “no that seems a situation perfectly realistic to feel jealousy.” What’s funny is of course I did get to take a step up to the next level in my career in 2015 at Louisiana Downs and my anxiety/depression issues had me falling flat on my face there.
In those three years where I wasn’t announcing, most of my closest friends in the announcing world all took leaps in their careers. Seeing them have those successes definitely brought a smile to my face, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish my situation was seeing those same moves. Mine had gone the opposite. I was out of the game entirely. I can’t help but think some of that jealousy came from a place of anger that I was having to deal with my mental health problems and they had taken me out. I was very bitter about that at the time.
So when did the change in my attitude and jealousy happen? Well when I started getting what I wanted in life of course haha. I say that in jest but it is kind of hard to not realize that the two kind of went hand and hand no? I will say though that I think the dissipation of jealousy came about a little before finding some successes. Like if I wouldn’t have gotten the job at Tampa Bay Downs I’d have been bummed, but I don’t think jealousy would have been the emotion behind being upset. I’m very much in a place now where I’m aware of my abilities, I’m aware of what I do or don’t bring to the table in both work and a personal life, and I’m quite aware that those things will not be for everyone. But my gratitude for what I am able to do and where I’m able to be at is probably at the greatest levels it’s ever been. And I have no doubt that is in part to both doing self work on my outlook on the world (therapy) as well as not comparing myself to what others do or achieve.
One overarching goal in my life is just to try and be a little bit better each and every day. Better compared only to myself yesterday. If I do that I think I will eventually become the best version of myself that I can be. And I’m the only person I’m ever going to be, so I better get comfortable with that. I think jealousy at times is a completely justified and normal thing to experience pangs of. But I also think how you process and work through it is the difference between letting it be a fleeting feeling and letting it guide your decisions and attitudes.