"INVU4URAQT" used to be an autograph saying kids would write in yearbooks at the end of the school year.
Starting from childhood, there were things to envy: a friend's new bicycle, new clothes, new toys, or having parents who able to buy anything one's heart desired.
But I think it is possible to observe good fortune without wanting it for yourself.
A wealthy friend travels the world but spends most of her time alone. Another is successful but waited too long to have a baby. Another has everything except her life mate who died too young. And another goes on a dozen cruises a year to every corner of the world—sometimes taking the same exact cruise twice—for what reason? It seems like he is searching for something he'll never find.
It so happens my husband and I are surrounded by people who have made a ton of money throughout their careers. Many people believe "if only I were wealthy—it would solve all of life's problems." But wealth and resources are not panaceas. Despite the resources a person has, it doesn't guarantee life will be wonderful. Once critical issues like having food, clothing and shelter are answered, everything beyond that speaks to enhanced quality of life. But it doesn't necessarily lead to happiness.
Perhaps because our parents lived through the Great Depression, David and I don't subscribe to planned obsolescence. One of our TVs has a cathode tube! My friend, Reg, can only shake his head with dismay.
New and bigger isn't always better. Seeing people who are able to do extravagant things is interesting and fun to observe. All it takes is a catastrophic illness to make a person realize how grand it is to simply be alive. When you are alive, you have something not even John F. Kennedy Jr., has! Money can't bring you back to life. (At least, not yet!)
Envy can be such a destructive force. It can make a full and satisfying life seem deficient.
There will always be things we see, admire and wish to attain. Having goals is good and helps propel us forward, but only if the quest is driven by personal desire--not envy.