Is Your Grass Greener?

Don't confuse the two.

If you look out the window of your house / apartment / condo / mansion / whatever is your grass greener in color than it was a few months ago?  Or has it succumbed to the cruel realities of weather and turned into that crunchy brown mess that even moles won’t dare venture into?

What about your neighbor’s?  Do the Joneses on either side of you keep their grass greener?  Were they able to weather the storm that was the summer (or winter, depending on which hemisphere you reside in) in better shape then you were?

Are you jealous?

Those of you who know me or read The Paul Gillespie Experience probably figured out that I’m talking metaphorically here, not literally.  I gave up on keeping my literal grass green this year when I realized it would actually be cheaper to replace my entire yard with sod than it would to water it the 27 hours a day it needed just to stay alive.

I’m in a pretty reflective mood these days – witness “The Fine Line of Thinking“, “Is Happiness Overrated” and “All The Right Things“.  Maybe it’s me getting older (although I’m still 25); maybe it’s just me finally letting the fact that life is what you make it sink in; maybe it’s because neither of my football teams (KU and the Chiefs) can spell “W” much less get one.  Whatever the reason you can probably tell that there’s a lot of stuff weighing on my mind right now, and I use this blog to put it out on paper.

These days what’s sitting on my shoulders is trying to figure if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.  It’s not keeping up with the Joneses in terms of material goods (I’m trying to pare down as much as I can, not get more) but rather what is out there and trying to gauge whether I should strive for that or just be content.

It’s a struggle.

A big struggle.

On one hand there’s certainly goodness in being content.  There’s less stress (if you’re not striving to get to X then you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to get there) and I, personally, have a very good and blessed life on the whole that’s enough to be content with.  It’s hard to argue that it’s a bad place to be – maybe being able to look around and say “I’m good” is what the core of happiness is.

But I also have an internal struggle I’ve had for as long as I can remember to be better.  To know more today than I did yesterday; to do more tomorrow than I did today.  There’s a lot of reasons for that – part of it is the work ethic my dad instilled in me (he is awesome – check this post or this post); part of it is recognition that there’s so much more than I/we can do beyond what has been done; no doubt there’s also an element of pride in play, too (let’s go just pride, not hubris).  But it’s a clear discontent with the way things are right now that fuels it – I’m not OK with [whatever] so I’m going to get better at it.

So.

Does “content” = “happy”, or does “content” = “fine”?  Because there’s a pretty damn big difference between those two, and I have no desire to play on the “fine” side of life any longer than I have to.  And, for that matter, what about being “better” – is that just a slippery slope you can never recover from once you start on it?

Or is there a balance?  Can there be a balance between being content with the status quo and being discontent with the status quo?  Or are the two not as mutually-exclusive as they seem?

Difficult dilemma…much like many of the ones I put up here on The Paul Gillespie Experience when I’m not crying over losing to food, recounting my favorite things or pimping The Chive (probably the best site in the world).

I’m betting you’ve probably run into it or know someone who has – how did you/they deal with it?

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What do you think?