There are certain assumptions that come with being an only child. We’re spoiled, entitled, little brats who cling to their parents to a) hide the fact that we don’t have enough people skills to interact with other kids, and b) to brown nose. Basically, we are a constant representation of how older generations view millennials. At an early age, I easily figured out how to get what I want. I would rarely get envious of what other people had until, one day, my own best friend betrayed me.
Let me set the scene for you.
I met my best friend back in first grade. We pretty much spent most of our time going to school together, playing dollhouse, eating Lego — you know how it is — and we treated each other like sisters. On the first day of second grade, I arrived earlier than her. I sat in my usual seat when my crush entered the room. Man, he was the cutest thing with his dimple, chubby cheeks, and his new blue Robbie Rabbit bag. You know; the one that has wheels, and that can pretty much carry your whole house.
A few minutes later, my best friend entered with the exact same bag, but in pink. Of course, in my naive little head, I immediately concluded that they were going to be paired up for the rest of the year. Blue and pink? Those are like the most complementary colors in nature. If Tinder existed and was legally available to six-year-olds, they would be matched instantly.
That moment triggered something that little five-year-old me had never felt before. It was like something was clawing inside me, trying to get out. I wanted to scream and head to the nearest department store to get that exact same bag. I didn’t just envy that little stroller; I envied the possible future bond that they were going to have. A little dramatic for a kid, but it was an act of betrayal from a person I recognized as my sister.
As soon as I got home, I begged my mom to replace the small bag that she’d gotten me. But moms value practicality; she didn’t see the need to get me another one. So, I turned to my dad, because dads are easier to fool — er, sweet talk — especially when they’re dealing with their daughters. I did the cutest, most irresistible puppy dog eyes that I could manage, but to no avail. That was the first time my request was denied, and I ignored them for a day. All of a sudden, the green-eyed monster that they spoke about turned into reality.
Looking back, I can’t believe that a simple “want” could lead a kid to unfriend her best friend in real life and ignore her parents. (I thought that only happened on Facebook during election season.) It was strange, how these temporary desires work. It’s as if they’re really embedded in your system to test you, to help you realize what really matters in life or what you really need.
And that was a realization I easily figured out the following year in school. Our whole class was transferred to a higher floor so we had to carry our bags. My small bag was at an advantage versus their stupid, bulky Robbie Rabbit bags. Soon after, I realized that I didn’t want the bag after all, because I already had one. It was the momentary coolness I was after. Who knew that a change in classrooms is the only solution to keep the green-eyed monster chill?
In an age when there is always something “better” available, enough will never be enough. The solution to keep yourself in check is to ground yourself. Don’t look beyond the horizon when you already have something in front of you. It’s not bad to want something better but we have to be reasonable. Looking at other people’s belongings will only make you realize what you lack. As soon as we realize what we really need, the green eye will subside.
Just as the Rolling Stones sang, you can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes (or maybe wait a while), you’ll get what you need. I needed that backpack; and I was completely happy with it.