The Grass is Greener Right Here

Our next door neighbors invited us over for a BBQ this summer. They are retired and spend their days puttsie-ing (as my Dad says) in their garden and tending to their lawn.  Their yard is immaculate — healthy, green, neat and tidy. We crossed our yard with its splotchy brown patches and sporadic colonies of vining weeds, and headed toward a lovely afternoon in our neighbor’s backyard. 

feet in grassWhen I looked across the fence at our yard from a distance, we realized that it didn’t look all that bad.  The crunchy dead spots and persistent weeds blended in with rest of the grass and looked like a smooth sea of green. As we sat on the patio, our neighbors pointed out their problems with grub infestation and the damage that squirrels and raccoons were causing when they burrowed to get to the little bugs. We saw chunks of their grass missing that we couldn’t see from our kitchen window, and realized that up close, all lawns have some flaws.

I’m usually not much of a complainer. I’m one of those people who wears a “Life is Good” T-shirt and means it. Sure I have my cranky PMS days when just about everything in the world irks me, my computer keeps crashing, and I’m certain aliens have abducted some of my clients and replaced them with mindless replicas. But most of the time, I live life with a grateful heart. Or at least I try.

I recently joined a social network for people dealing with congenital pseudoarthrosis, a condition I had as a child that caused my tibia to easily fracture, never to heal. Most of the people on the site are parents with little kids afflicted with the disorder, but many of their children have complications that I never had ranging from partial blindness, cognitive deficiencies, and brain and spinal tumors. By comparison, my life has been easy.

So for those who think the grass is always greener on the other side, you need a swift kick in the astroturf. Your grass is plenty green right under your feet. It’s all a matter of distance, perspective, and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

And speaking of shoes, I love the story of the two shoe salesmen from the west who travel to Africa to scout for a new marketplace.  The first salesman sends a message back to headquarters saying, “Trip was a waste of time. I can’t sell shoes here.  Everyone is barefoot.”  The second salesman scoped out the situation and transmitted his enthusiastic message, “Possibilities are unlimited here!  Everyone is barefoot. Think of all the shoes we can sell!” It’s all in your perspective.

As Petula Clark sang in the 1960s:

The other man’s grass is always greener
The sun shines brighter on the other side
The other man’s grass is always greener
Some are lucky, some are not
Just be thankful for what you’ve got.

I may not agree with Petula about the grass and the sunshine, but I am thankful for what I have. How about you?

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