envious

365 Challenge: Day 25 – Obsessed

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Obsessed: preoccupied with or constantly worrying about something

There are varying degrees to which someone can be obsessed with something or someone, ranging from healthy to serial killer. [No, I’m not one]

I’m in that range somewhere. After 24 days, I suppose you think you know me well enough to pinpoint roughly whereabouts I’d fall in that scale. I’ll make it easy for you… it all depends on what I’m obsessing over. I have been known on occasion to be so obsessive, it is scary. Not scary in “he’s gonna go pyscho,” but scary in “did he seriously just do/say/eat that AGAIN?”

Since this post could go on forever about different types of obsession, I’ll share a few things where I find myself obsessed, but ultimately, I’m going to blog about my obsession with food and drink. Things I’ve noticed obsessions over:

  • Test Results: whether it was in school waiting for a grade, getting blood work or updates from a doctor, or DNA results from Ancestry.com, I would check every hour to see if something was new (if it was online, that is… I’d never actually call and ask someone the same question every hour — I do have some level of self-control).

  • Updates: Checking to see if the dial has changed on something (anything… temperature, stocks, points, votes, etc.), I check way too frequently to see if the number has increased or decreased since the last time I saw it. And if the WiFi or screen freezes for any moment, hell hath no fury like an obsessed Jay!

  • Email: At my last job, I looked at my mobile phone every few seconds to see if a new email came in as I was freakishly paranoid about missing it and not getting back to someone timely. I carried it in my hand (not in my pocket) — with the volume off of course (see post on quiet) — just so I could feel the vibration and know I was needed. It rested under my pillow while I slept too.

But… today I am choosing to focus on foods and drinks. So here is the problem… I’m very self-conscious about looking good and being healthy, so I am often balancing my diet, working out and generally trying to maintain a stress-free life. (Note, for another day I’ll cover stress: my opinion is stress causes all the disease and physical pain to manifest in our bodies. You may already have the gene markers in your DNA for it to happen, but cutting out the stress could help prevent it from developing or getting worse) — not a doctor — just my opinion from research and observation!

What foods and drinks am I obsessed with? And by obsessed, I don’t mean I eat them all the time and can’t stop thinking about them. What I mean is… if it’s on the counter or in the closet, I will eat it ALL. I therefore try really hard not to buy these things… and when my mother brings them over on Sundays, I just hate myself. 😛

  • Desserts (cakes, cookies, anything sweet)
  • Chocolate
  • Champagne
  • Cheese
  • Bread

If I open the bag of cookies, I will eat the entire box in one sitting. But I won’t go to the store to buy it every day. If I open a bottle of champagne for dinner, I have to buy at least two: one for me, and one for the other person. And I hope that (s)he does not finish all of theirs so that I can have more. And if I buy cheese and crackers as a pre-dinner snack, I do not believe in wrapping up the remaining cheese for another day. If it’s been opened, it is meant to be consumed. I’ll shove 3 or 4 pieces in my mouth at once. I’m a freakin’ monster when it comes to foods that I love.

And while it’s happening, I’ll reason with myself while sitting on said couch. Typical conversation with myself:

ME: “You had ten, that’s enough.”

ME AGAIN: “One more won’t hurt.”

ME: “OK, just one.”

… [scramble from the couch… into the kitchen… gone longer than should be… back on the couch]…

ME AGAIN: “You had just one, right?”

ME: [can’t speak because mouth is full]

ME AGAIN: “You didn’t, you pig!”

ME: [head hangs in pseudo fake-shame]

ME AGAIN: “How many did you eat?”

ME: “The better question is how many are left!”

That is obsessed. And it leads to a few moments of “got to go work out NOW” and “I feel sick,” but I still do it every time in the future when the opportunity presents itself. Gluttonous is most appropriate word to use. That said, a few interesting  sidebars I’ve noticed:

  1. It doesn’t show because I am probably almost as obsessed with working out, taking vitamins and eating healthy otherwise. I need to balance it out somewhere.
  2. Alcoholism and diabetes run in my family, which means I’m keenly aware of the effects over indulgent behaviors. As a result, I have always been cautious and aware of the risks… and I’d like to say I would never become dependent on these things. Yes, I obsess over some of them, but I also know enough to stop when I need to. (I only do that crazy cookie eating thing once a month!!!!!!)
  3. It makes me human. Perhaps I’m not so peculiar after all… though we all have some crazy in us.

I’m curious why I do these things… why I allow myself to become obsessed? Since it happens beyond just eating and drinking, it’s not some missing vitamin or mineral or chemical in my internal biology! 😛

Am I needy? Am I bored? Am I wanton of things I don’t have? Nah… I think everyone does things like this from time to time. We let our minds control us for so long on certain topics until we decide to just accept or forget the supposed importance. Obsessions just show how much you love something, right? Assuming you keep it healthy and non-impacting to anyone else, then it’s all cool, right? The other people are wrong.

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365 Challenge: Day 9 – Envious

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Envious: demonstrating a longing to possess something awarded to or achieved by another

Everyone is envious at some point in his or her life; it is impossible to go about your day without ever thinking “I want this” or “I should have that.” Just doing this daily challenge, I’m noting characteristics I would like to have or change. To me, that is envious.

I’ve always thought of the word “envious” as a bad thing. The green-eyed jealousy monster. Stay away! But perhaps this is where envy and jealousy have a slight difference to them: jealousy implies a negative connotation and denotation whereas envy might come across with a bit more optimism.

You can be envious of how good someone looks or the new job (s)he was offered without seeming to have that underlying bitterness over who should have gotten it first (or at all).

I know I can be both envious and jealous. I have always been a “grass is greener on the other side” kind of guy. When I was younger, I would get angry or upset if someone else beat me (Note, I still can’t stand to lose, especially at cards… I have to win all the time) or got something I wanted. A sort of childish reaction, sometimes accompanied with putting up a wall between that person and myself… even into my late 20s, I think I still had more remnants of that behavior that one should have as an adult.

I really never wanted for anything (life’s staples, you know, things of substance) as a child. I had all the necessities, nothing missing to be able to eat, sleep, drink and be sheltered. Yes, I am lucky and grateful. Perhaps because I never truly needed something to survive, my envy or jealousy of trivial things was that much more impassioned.

When I say that I was envious when younger, I don’t mean in a very obvious and negative way. It wasn’t a regular thing. It wasn’t a big scene where I acted out. It was more a quiet acknowledgement inside my mind and body that I wanted something and I deserved it, and I didn’t like that someone else had it before me. Remember, I’m shy… so I don’t often do things to draw attention to myself.

As I’ve aged, it’s certainly been minimized; however, it’s present enough that I notice it as a general first “go-to” type of behavior when I see someone else got that perfect new job I am still looking for, or someone else received a huge annual bonus and it sounds like it was more than my last one. There are a few of those remaining traces left, generally focused around 2 or 3 topics of truly physical things, not emotional things.

Age brings comfort and happiness to the mind in many respects (I’m ignoring fear of sickness or death), and I’ve been lucky enough to be happy with my life; I don’t envy other people’s lives for those types of things. My mind is content with where I am and who I am; I know the things I need/want to change to be better instead of just because I want them. And that’s a really good thing because it means I’m achieved a great many things thus far.

But… how do you address that envy when it creeps up from time to time? What tools and techniques do you use to control it? For me, I think it starts with knowing what you are truly envious of. If you have envy, it means you want something you don’t have. So start with your list of wants.

Write ‘em down. Give yourself clear goals. Target dates. Check-in points. Figure out what’s realistic. And if it’s not realistic, focus on either (1) being envious in a good way and happy for the other people or (2) removing any trigger points that make you uncomfortable or unhappy about it. Challenge the energy behind the envy into the drive to move the dial on your goals. For instance…

I have always wanted to own and live in a mansion. A huge piece of property with an old-fashioned yet modern building and gardens, a long and winding driveway, and… you get the picture. But why? Perhaps status. Maybe freedom. Could be security. Do I have it right now? No… I live in NYC and do not have $10M to spend. Seriously, who does? And how do they make it happen? Can you help me? JUST KIDDING.

It’s been something I’ve wanted since childhood. But at the same time, I collect things for my current home, draft ideas of what would be good to have in the future, look at places where it may be the right environment to live, etc. And some day, perhaps I will have what ends up being my mansion, even if it’s not a mansion by anyone else’s standards. Note, I love my current apartment and it’s definitely nothing to complain about at all!

Another example…

I want to be a writer. So I write. Then I am a writer. But what I mean, is I want to be a published author. So I write. Then maybe I will become a published author. I am envious of authors. But I am not jealous. If it never happens, it never happens. But I know that I tried. I set out to write a book, which I’ve completed. And I’m starting to shop it with literary agents. I’m doing a lot to make it happen, so I’ve been able to stave off jealousy and replace it with hope and envy.

I’d like to hear from others about envy… how do you handle it? What do you do to control the impulse?