Appreciate What Is
“I will feel better when… If only we had… our place would look so much nicer if…” The greener grass syndrome.
I am a little ashamed to say that a good percentage of my thoughts begin with each of those. Always thinking am I that once one thing changes, big or small, then everything else will fall into place. Then I will be satisfied. No, instead, my life becomes a sort of jigsaw puzzle. I make one change and then have to consider another.
The worst part is that I never learn. For me the grass is not only always greener on the other side, No matter how green mine is, it is not green enough. I rarely ever stop to actually appreciate the new change and what it brings. I just move on to the next obstacle without seeing how much better my life has become.
The Grass Of This New City
Right now, I am sitting in our new apartment in my home state. It is spacious and close to all of my friends and family. But instead of taking it all in, I have been constantly saying, “When the house is set up the way I want, then I can relax, then I will be content.”“When I finally get a job, then my life will be better, then all my problems will disappear.” The grass will be greener once everything is in its place and our new furniture arrives.
Another thought that comes to me often is that once I have my income (and I will use it to fill our new house with even more things) it will be better. Even as I am writing this article, I am realizing just how often I think this way. This is definitely on the wrong end of the spectrum.
Where are you with this? Regardless of where you personally lie on that spectrum, you will probably never completely get rid of that mentality. It is our nature to strive for better. There comes a point, however, when it is not purely an issue of bettering your life or yourself (a task I support completely). That point is when you are forgetting, like me, to take a moment and realize what you have.
Look At Your Own Grass
Take a minute to look at your own grass. It is probably pretty damn green. If you have become so accustomed to wanting more and have become colorblind to your own side of the fence, you are not alone. I am there now. So, as I write this, I am shifting perspectives to look at my life versus someone who has less than me. My grass is greener than someone else’s. My life, as it is now, is something that someone else out there would kill for.
So now we have to ask ourselves some questions:
- When will the grass be green enough?
- At what point will we truly be satisfied?
- What experiences and special moments will we miss on our quest for the greenest grass?
I know that I have missed spending quality time with my friends and family purely because I was mentally checked out. Making lists and organizing the house in my head preoccupied me. I have not enjoyed going rollerblading (my favorite summer activity) because I have pictured what I can buy once I get a steady income. It is pretty clear that I am losing more than I am gaining by being consumed with these ideas. Am I a colorblind woman hell-bent on greener grass that I will never actually get to enjoy?
It Is A Trap
Greener grass is a trap. And it is worse when you are comparing it to other people’s grass. The jealousy you feel will grow unless it is checked. It can definitely ram a wedge between you and your friends and family.
For example, I have to be extra careful when comparing my life to my sister’s life because we were always pitted against one another as who had the better ______ or who was better at ________. Now she has had some success in her career and the greener grass engine that drives me makes it easy to wish I had what she had.
That is not who I want to be. I hope it is not who you want to be. Ideally, as I work on this weakness, I will get to the point where I can appreciate all the various hues of green yards around me without lusting after them. Hope you will join me on that journey.
We welcome Alexis’ return to our blogging fold. She could not have returned at a better times as we pose some of Life’s Big Questions throughout this month. Be sure not to miss any, subscribe and you will get a daily update of our posts straight to your inbox! Your feedback and comments are always welcomed, so please leave us some in the section below!
Have a great week, month and Fall!