But is it ALWAYS greener?

Lately, I have been thinking about the concept that: “the grass is always greener.”  But is it always?  And why is that?

I can’t think about the concept of the grass always being greener without also thinking about wanting what you can’t have.  You always want what you can’t have, but how fundamental is the not having it to the wanting.  Do we inherently want things because we can’t have them, or are there always just wantable things that we can’t obtain, either because of time or money or opportunity cost?

Let’s not just consider it in a vacuum, though.  Let’s give the dialogue some substance.

One of the places where the “grass is greener” concept manifests itself is in the work force.  Most of us have probably wanted a job we couldn’t have, either because someone else was better qualified, better prepared, better at interviewing, or better related to the person making the hiring decision.  What makes a job greener?  More prestige, more money, cuter secretaries?  In terms of prestige and money, where much is given, much is often required.  We might think we want more money, more prestige, but don’t properly account for the extra hours in the office and travel and pressure that entails.  So it might not be more green at all, just different green.  Because more money looks great in theory, but once achieved, you’d maybe give it up in exchange for less stress and hours.  But now it’s your lawn and you’re stuck.  And your old job/lawn looks greener.

Another area where the “grass is always greener on the other side” applies is in relationships.  You see a lot of people that have a sweet and caring and beautiful person in their life, but they can’t seem to stop looking.  Why is that?  This is, perhaps more than in the work force application, a “want what you can’t have” situation.  Some people seem in love with the process, not the person.  These people, though, often seem instantly disappointed with the new, once-green-looking grass.  Do they want what they can’t have because they are bored with what they have, or because green looks greener from a distance?  Is new just always their green? 

Sometimes, it seems, the new grass is not green at all, but change seems like it would have to be an improvement.  What do people do when the new grass is weedy grass?  Or sparse grass?  Or brown grass? 

Maybe this analogy has become a bit too cumbersome.  I will try to rein it in.  Is the grass always greener on the other side?  Is it sometimes?  How do we know when change is needed and good and when we should maybe just stick with the lawn we have?  Perhaps do some weeding, some trimming, some fertilizing, some cultivating?  How do we make our own grass more green?

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