I will admit that I often want things, not to have them, but because I get jealous of seeing other people with them. A friend of mine's bf is looking at houses, and the ones that he is interested in are twice what I want to spend on mine, and of course, a lot nicer, and I do feel envious. When I see someone driving around in a nicer car I feel envious even though my car is perfectly fine, and I really enjoy it. These moments of envy aren't rational at all, it doesn't take long for me to snap back to reality, but I still do feel pangs of jealousy.
Huh. I'm at a point in my life where owning most things isn't very meaningful to me. Being in the process of decluttering and packing for a major move that we've had planned for over a year, it's really forced me to see what's important to me. I would like to own a house, but I'm not envious of people who do. Many of them bought too much house, whereas waiting this long to buy a house has shown me exactly how little space my family needs to be happy, so I won't make the mistake of buying too much. I hate waiting, and I'm not a patient person, but I am coming around to the idea that waiting for what I really want both makes me understand myself better, and ensures that I truly do want something. Those are far too introspective to allow envy to worm its way into the mix, I think.
I spent way too many years not saving my money that I've now possibly over-corrected by saving almost everything I bring in. At this point, seeing other people having fun and spending money is making me feel envious. Maybe it's FOMO, I don't know. I kind of feel like that guy in the Matrix lamenting the fact that he took the wrong pill. So I feel like a grumpy old man in the sense that I want to smack sense into people so they don't make the mistakes I made when I was younger, mixed in with some jealousy that I'm not blowing through my money as well. Make sense?
I definitely understand about wanting to help others avoid the same mistakes, but in the end there's only so much a person can do. Some lessons need to be learned the hard way. I've learned plenty of my own, and am surely still making quite a few, but those lessons will stick.
I also don't hold onto every penny so hard now that I forget the good things in life. Maybe work on forgiving yourself for past mistakes, so that you can spend at a reasonable level to enjoy some things now?
I wouldn't go quite that far myself but I do find myself stuck in a wannabe-spendypants mode. There's lots of shit I just ermahgerd, want, regardless of how stoked I am about investing and how happy it makes me to watch the exponential acceleration of earnings. I have wish lists. I try not to look at them too often, because in a factual sense, I totally get the point about hedonic adaptation and possessions not equating to higher happiness; I just haven't internalized it as fully as I'd like to.
I really think it has to do with my upbringing. We were never poor, but we were always below average for the places we lived (which is funny, because it has as much to do with my family stretching and sacrificing to get us into better schools, etc, as anything else). Anyway, I was very sensitive to comparisons and I always felt inferior to kids with cool shit, and part of me will always want to show them up.
The smart, adult part of me is trying to subvert that by convincing the deprived little kid that a million-dollar portfolio is the best kind of "better shit" ever, and they have this sort of compromise involving tricks to slide most free cash past me before I have time to waste it. And I still make good conscious decisions with the rest, at least some of the time; the main point is to stack the deck against spendypantsness so most decisions are preconfigured and the few left are of lower importance.
I used to work as a nanny, for families who were quite wealthy. My family was not poor, but by comparison.... Anyway, one of the families bought a new house while I worked for them. It was gorgeous, right on the water with a fabulous view, private boat launch, etc. Enormous house, three-car garage. At first I was overwhelmed with the grandeur. I mean, this house was nice
. But after a year or so of going there every day, not only did it become commonplace for me, but I also had a good chance to see the living patterns of the family. There were rooms which I'm not even sure they've ever actually used for the intended purpose, such as the formal dining room. It's beautifully decorated, but no one ever goes in there because the breakfast nook in the kitchen is both plenty large for family meals and the parties they throw, and has the better view.
That was my first, biggest, lesson on the fact that money can buy a lot of things, but just because you can buy them doesn't mean they're necessary or that you'll be any happier for having them. What a freaking waste, to have a room with beautiful things but which no one ever notices. The whole room is passed by because it's useless to the life the family actually leads.
Over the intervening years, I've been able to apply that to pretty much every other "thing" I could spend my money on. The urge to be a spendypants is considerably quelled when you realize just what a waste it would be, in so many different ways. I hope you reach that point soon, because it's so freeing.