Dear Therapist: Quarantine Envy

Quarantine Envy

Dear Therapist:

Hate to admit it, but after reading an article this week on something called “Quarantine Envy,” I think I’ve got a case of it. Everyone around me seems like they are having an easier time with staying in with whomever they are staying in with. They are either off at their summer home or don’t have any kids to have to worry about with school or just seem happier than me. How do I put it aside and be happy with just how I am quarantining?

Sincerely, Quarantine Green Eye

You must be referring to this article in the New York Times this week discussing Quarantine Envy. It was a new term for me too. I mean I would never think that people would find quarantine to be a time to envy another person. However, we are such a competitive and comparative society, I suppose it makes sense that people are looking around and seeing who has quarantine easier or more enjoyable or less complicated or something else.

Envy is wanting what someone else has, but the truth of the matter is “the grass is always greener on the other side.” We really don’t know what it is like to be in someone else’s quarantine situation. Perhaps your friends are hunkered down in their beach home with one another. From the outside, the home, the setting, and all looks like something to be envied. Yet, the truth of the matter is it may be just a bunch of miserable people inside the fabulous beach home rather than their regular old home.

Same when you look at people without children. Perhaps their lives are less complicated not having to deal with school openings, but it can also be far lonelier than those with families of kids. I think this is why many single people and childless couples have been adopting pets like crazy during this time. People are lonely. Perhaps there is freedom and quiet without kids, but there are other truths that then must be faced.

Everyone is trying to paint on a sunny, happy face for themselves and their loved ones. If someone is trying hard to sell you on their quarantine being amazing and spectacular, take it with a grain of salt. We just don’t know. My guess is the person has her share of ups and downs like all of us.

Now, step out of your own mind for a second and peer into your life. Yes, the one you are living right now. See! There is so much to envy!