Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The Greener Grass


Lifestyle. Opportunities. Wealth. Just think how far we’ve come in the past 100 years — especially when you look at what we have today compared to our great grandparents’ generation.

We’ve all been privy to the stories… “Married very young, lived in the same place their whole life, and worked the same job for 40+ years. Life was hard, poor, and lacking in any real opportunity.”

Thanks to technology, the Internet, and an improved society, our lifestyles are completely transformed. We have choices. We can live pretty much anywhere we want. We can travel and see the world.

We can secure jobs on the other side of the planet. We can start our own businesses and serve clients thousands of miles away. It’s definitely an exciting time.

But when there is a wealth of opportunities, choices, and places where we could choose to live, you’d think we’d all be happy, right? Wrong.

The problem with having choices is that we become restless. We can’t settle on what we already have or be satisfied with what we’ve got because we’ll always be wondering about the next big thing or continually comparing to the options we are privy to.

It’s called “the grass is always greener” syndrome. We think someone else is having a better time elsewhere. We make ourselves miserable by constantly thinking about the unknown in an endless quest to find happiness. We lie awake at night torturing ourselves over what we should do next, wondering if we’re missing out on something big. We feel we’re wasting our lives if we’re not doing something more important.

Oh ya…then there’s the “time pressure” that the generations of today feel.  

“The World is Your Oyster” & “You can have anything you want” – created the sense of urgency, pressure, and expectation of ‘doing more’. This translated into young adults feeling inadequate if they felt they were not living up to their potential or felt they should be doing something greater. 

Not to mention, society convinced the generations of today that they are something extremely special and that their lives are destined to be adventurous, thrilling, and hugely successful. And when they’re not turning out that way -- They become depressed. They want more. They get “grass is greener” syndrome. That’s when people become unhappy and spend all of their time and energy on focusing on what they don’t have rather than what they do.

People end up moving around a lot or end up jumping from one job (or relationship) to the next…never fully committing to one thing. But once they have made that leap to the other side—once they move to where they thought the grass would be greener and where they would be happier—they discover that it is no different. And for most, they come to the conclusion that it’s actually worse. 

There is something to be said about keeping life simple. Our grandparents lived the simple life – and they were happy. But they didn’t have all the choices. They focused on one thing and did it well! They reaped the rewards from working at the same job for 40+ years, from being committed to their family, and from focusing on what they had versus what they didn’t have. They didn’t worry about buying the next ‘gadget’ – they worried about putting food on the table and paying the mortgage. But the mortgage got paid off. And perhaps the simple life is where we all need to focus back on. 

Remember that all we ever have is right now. Forget about the past. Don’t worry about the future. Take each day as it comes, and most of all, stop thinking that the grass is greener, because it never really is.

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