Wednesday 17 January 2018

Things I envy about other women and their lives.

I'm not jealous of other women, what I envy about other women is not a threat to me, therefore I am only envious of what they have not jealous that what they have means that they can take things from me.

I'm sure there are many women out there who are envious of me.

I am confident, I am friendly, I am 46 with no children living at home. I have a glamorous lifestyle, I live in Dubai, I don't have to work. I have a husband who provides me with a lifestyle where I am comfortable, can travel and don't have to watch the pennies. So how can I possibly be envious of other women?

It's not about insecurities or wanting things that I can't have, such as smaller breasts, or a bigger bum (or just a bum will do) having better teeth or being a size (or 2 smaller). Technically I could have that if I paid for it and made it a priority and joined a gym and changed my diet.

It's not even about wanting material things. For me, it's about friendships, families, a career.

I've had all that and now I have a chance at new adventures, but even that is wearing thin.

You see living abroad isn't one big holiday, I may leave in a dream holiday destination, but trust me the grass isn't any greener. the grass is artificial, and the landscape is bleak. No hills, just buildings, occasionally there may be a cloud in the sky and for one or two weeks a years we get weather, fog and rain. For 4 months of the year (apart from the 2 weeks of weather) I actually enjoy living in Dubai as I can go outdoors, it's chilly in the mornings and hot during the day. This means I get to vary my wardrobe, my routines, explore new places (Dubai isn't actually that big)

Why do I envy other women?  They seem to have their lives mapped out, it's not about material items, designer handbags or shoes, although I do wish I had a bit more style and grace about me, but to be honest I don't feel that comfortable when I'm in a dress and heels.

I envy those women who enjoy living abroad.
I envy those women with large friendship groups.
I envy those women who have their parents visiting them.
I envy those women who look fantastic with hair and make up all in place and looking good in whatever they've thrown on.
I envy those women who can eat what they want and not put on weight.
I envy those women with all the above and a career.
I envy those women who know how to valet park.
I envy those women who know how to use the spa/gym.

But behind everything I envy, I also see the bigger picture, the facebook pictures v's the reality of living abroad when you meet these women and get to know them.

The women who don't feel like they actually belong in the big friendship groups, who feel lucky to be part of it, then who bitch about others behind their backs.

The women who complain that their family members are a drain on them emotionally and financially but can't put that on facebook as they'll see it.

The women who spend a small fortune and get up an hour earlier than the rest of the house and spend all day reapplying make up and doing their hair to maintain that natural look.

The women who are controlling their diet, exercising, have an illness etc and or under immense pressure to maintain that shape and photoshop the arse off every image, quite literally. 

The women who are paddling like mad below the surface to try and have it all. Been there, done that. Raising kids, having a career and managing a home are not easy.

The women who can valet park and know how to use the spa/gym will always remain a mystery to me. I actually don't envy them, I am in awe if the truth be known.

So what can I do to tackle my envy? Well the one thing I do know is that I'm honest and realistic, which means I'm half way there. I really can't have it all. If I want my career back, a job, income, some independence, a sense of belonging, an identity, then something has to give. What would that be? My ability to travel back to the UK with such frequency. I'm back in March for child 4s medal parade, June for child 2s wedding. I'm spending the summer in the UK to escape the endless heat of Dubai. I'd have the finances to send for the kids and my mother, I'd be able to have more shorter flights to the UK, but then there would be a price to pay in terms of fatigue from travel, timezones and straight back to work.

I was in full time work in 2016, teaching. I had the summer holidays off, the shorter ones I decided weren't long enough to get to the UK for a proper visit. I had friends and family visit, I was working in the day, I was shattered in the evenings. I had to apply for emergency leave when family members died. It didn't work for me.

So what do I do instead? I've joined the expat groups, where I've felt nothing but envy for most of the above reasons, these women seem happy without a career, but are they really like me and it's all a front, they're just too embarrassed to say so? 

Am I too honest? Is this why I don't fit in? Are these women that I envy happy? Am I happy? Is it because I'm wanting more? Wanting to be different? Not accepting myself and the situation for what it is?

Even if I get what I want in life, living back in the UK, with my family near by and a carer, then want? Will I be wanting more anyway? Is that what life is about? Will I ever be happy or will I look back on the years we lived abroad wishing I'd made more of my time and just enjoyed it for what it was, an adventure?

Who knows?


  1. As ever, some really interesting reflections and so many will nod along at various points I am sure. I think it is true that lots of women and people generally feel a need to put on an act. Those who are real and honest are just as daunting to those who act as the women who you are envy can be to you on occasion. I think we met once only and I was daunted by your apparent or real super-confidence and good looks. We are all a bit daft that way. I remember backing off I think. I would not do that now but we change hopefully for the better over the years or perhaps just understand things a little better. We only have the present. We can only be ourselves. If I am honest despite loving so much about blogging and social media, I think it has become just another stick that those of us who questions things can beat ourselves over the head with if we are not careful. For all sorts of reasons, I think expat communities are a different ballgame altogether too and challenging to navigate but that does not mean it cannot be done. So I have no clever answers but have faith that you do and that you will keep chipping away at that marvellous sculpture that is your life. Thanks so much for joining in with Best Boot Forward

    1. Have Dm's you on twitter about my memories of the day we met. Have no choice but to keep plodding forward, i'm only kidding myself if i say everything is ok

  2. This is a really moving read and though our lives are very different in some ways I totally get where you’re coming from. Increasingly, I see people who seemingly have it all but like you say this is usually either a case of basic bullshit or someone being totally exhausted maintaining those standards. Few are capable of getting it all together in a way that doesn’t take its toll some way. My career took a downward turn when I moved to wales, with the lack of jobs allowing for progression locally and I feel that hit hard. Sometimes the choices are out of our hands and sacrifices have to be made either for our families or our sanity. It’s human to be envious of others but so many people won’t admit it. You are wonderful because you are real and I often think how envious I am that you always seem to be doing something, you’re confident taking on new adventures and making headway in tackling boredom! We can always find something we envy about someone and those who envy us. It’s normal and part of how we motivate ourselves and get to know ourselves better I suppose!

    1. sometimes I start to blog as we're going through changes in our lives, but it's difficult to explain in words the feelings of deep despair and frustration and how I never feel that we'll come out the other end in one piece, also a lot of the problems we have are caused by other peoples lack of support or even actually putting obstacles in our way with hurtful comments, if I were to blog, I'd probably alienate an awful lot of people, risk getting kicked out the country and probably cause irreparable damage in my family, so i write after the event when it's all resolved which can make things appear a lot easier than they were

  3. Hi Suzanne,

    I admire your blog. For me, it's beautiful because it shows life that's warm and unpretentious and warm yet imperfect but still worth living.

    For me YOU are interesting and brave and courageous to take a stance -- a genuine person blogging now when many people either show perfection (which only creates envy and flattery) or when they show extreme negativity -- none of it is worth much. We need more real people.

    Your blog is about good days, bad days, in between (which is lovely). Your photos cheered me up when I had a bad day, and your honesty made me feel better and made me reflect on my own life.

    So thank you for all of it.

    UK is not perfect, living conditions aren't that nice, neighbour gets abusive, there IS crime but it's more like petty theft which just ruins one's whole day. Dubai, you say, feels wealthy yet empty and expats are shallow. So you have to deal with something bad whether you live back in in the UK or in Dubai. There's no escaping it.

    It's just picking one, firmly making your decision and sticking with your decision.

    To me it seems that Peter and your two pets very much need you.

    What happened to your Criminal Justice degree? Why not try and complete it online? I advise against OU because connecting with other (nice) people daily would make a huge difference (I promise).

    Would it be possible to find something different? Somewhere where you'd have to log in daily and communicate with other online students? It doesn't have to be OU. I promise it'd be refreshing.

    In Dubai, there's no escape from extreme heat but in UK there's no escape from gloomy weather. I truly believe that it's possible to make friends in Dubai too but people need time and commitment and meet-ups don't work (ZA volunteering worked).

    Your life STILL has meaning in Dubai. Peter needs you, your pets need you, people read and admire your blog -- if you can find some meaning and occupy when days get boring and depressing, that would really help YOU.

    Take care and remembered that you are valued and appreciated, it's just people's nature to say it and put their feelings on the line. Take care!

    1. thanks Dan and I appreciate your comments, although you've slightly worried me that I don't actually know who you are, yet you know so much about me lol, serves me right for blogging all this stuff, I'm surprised some times when I get comments like yours that people not only read, but keep up to date with what's going on in my life and actually find it of interest.

  4. You are a real person not a photoshop image of the "perfect" life. As we all know, the grass is always greener somewhere else - or looks like it is. I enjoyed reading your thoughts and do value and appreciate your point of view.

    1. thank you Carol, I love reading about people's lives, I find it fascinating this world of blogging, like you, I just wish more people would share the real things, it would help others more

  5. I totally get your frustration: I have tried to be the SAHM and I have never been able to *not* be busy! I have a low threshold for boredom and if I'm not stimulated, I go a bit stir crazy.

    I don't have any experience of living abroad (or even travelling there, I've never left the UK!) but I also secretly envy every woman on that list. No matter how together I think I manage to get it, I've never really managed large friendship groups, the immaculate body and life thing. I live near family, but I usually don't hear from them unless I initiate it or they want something from me.

    I think whatever we have, we always want the next thing.

    1. that all sounds familiar feelings, i think it's natural to want things we don't have and when we look at what we do have to celebrate it, it always feels/looks like we're showing off

  6. Very honest and interesting post. I try not to be jealous of people, but I have been in the past. I think if we're honest, most of us envious other people at some time or another, but we never really know what the reality of their lives is. They might look like they've got it all sorted, that they've got lots of friends that they're happy in their marriages, attractive etc etc, but who knows what goes on below the surface?

    1. for me, i find people think I've got nothing to complain about given my set of circumstances, but that doesn't mean I'm happy

  7. I too enjoyed this post and get the envy, in my case alongside some of the envy there's also admiration, but equally I'm happy being me and I'm sure you're happy being you too - and that's a very liberating thing. Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

    1. I'm actually in awe of some of the things i also envy, just not everything is my cup of tea though