Sunday, September 03, 2006

This Is What I Tell Myself, And You

I have a disenchanted, single friend who recently told me I should feel lucky that I'm no longer in the dating pool. Just to make her feel less sorry for herself, I shared with her a couple stories about married life. She was silent for a moment. Then she said, "oh."

If the grass is greener on my side of the fence, it's only because of dog poop and too much rain.

I know it's human nature to want what you can't have. To yearn for more. To feel like you're competing with people who don't even realize you're in the race with them and who, furthermore, don't care. It's natural to want to better your situation. To better yourself. And I think it's pretty damn common not really to be happy, ever.

I'm saying this from a rational state, not a depressed one. It's a fact that there's a lot of dissatisfaction out there. Most people have major grievances that wipe the Pollyanna smile off their faces with some frequency. Single and married; employed and un(happily)employed; rich and poor; Red Sox fans and Yankees fans. I mean, what's the big diff? Every life is a circle of highs and lows that come at intervals specific to that person. The hero you envy one moment could be the person whose existence you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy the next.

The Rolling Stones say you can't always get what you want. Then there's what St. Teresa of Avila said first, before Truman Capote and Garth Brooks backed her up: more tears are shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.

It's okay to want things. Sometimes it's more than okay. In other instances, you may have to work to keep those desires in check. But, always, it's a matter of leaving yourself open for those surprises you didn't even know you were in the market for.


Lauren said...

That's like the curly vs straight hair theory. Those with straight want perms, and those with curly iron their hair straight.

Mary-LUE said...

Hi... new here via Toddled Dredge. As I read this, I remembered something I heard in my Greek Lit. class, oh so many years ago. Regarding Oedipus and his tragic life, my professor said that there was a Greek saying that you should not call a man happy until the end of his days. Oedipus had many tragic turns in his life, but by the end of his life, he was at peace.

That idea has stuck in my mind and given me such a wider perspective when I am in either one of the highs or lows that you mention. It has helped me be more content in my circumstances. I owe a lot to my Greek lit. professor for imparting that bit of wisdom.

debra said...

Thank you...I needed that reminder today.

Whirlwind said...

And I am one who truely believes that! It was never so evident in my life until Meenie got sick. Now that she's back to normal, I am glad I got a glimpse at what I wanted but thank god that she's happy and healthy again. I'll take the lough, giggling, rambouncous child anyday over a calm quiet child. For her, it's just who she is.

Jenny said...

AMEN! Once, when I was pondering leaving my hubby because "I just wasn't happy" a friend reminded me that I wasn't happy BEFORE I met him either and that being happy was all about me and my ability to see the positives.

So, so right.

Jene said...

not sure i agree with you on this one. i think we have it in our power to create for ourselves a life that meets all our desires. of course, there are going to be times that are not as good as others, but we make our choices, and if we are willing to accept the good that comes from those choices, then we have to be able to accept the bad, also. and the bad won't seem so horrible because we know that the good is so much better.

wordgirl said...

So very true. It's a hard lesson to learn. Thanks for the post.

mothergoosemouse said...

Wouldn't it be cool to go around trying on different people's lives for three days at a time? Whatever you did as them would have no impact on either of you or anyone you knew, other than during that three day period. We'd get such a greater appreciation for what it's truly like to walk in someone else's shoes (as well as get some good perspective on our own situations).

Mrs. Chicky said...

We live in a "I want what I don't have" sort of culture. The bigger house. The nicer car. The better job. Like you said, the grass is always greener. But I'd like to add "...if you don't have to worry about keeping it green because that's what your neighbors expect."

lildb said...

totally. my own personal nightmare would be to win the lottery. I'd feel cursed.

life can't be satisfying like that, b/c our ideas of perfect are never what reality delivers, and disappointment ensues.

so. we chase our dreams and sometimes we bump into one, and don't recognize it. or do, and feel sad.

yeah. it's good to want, and not get.