Is their Grass Greener than Yours?

I spent some of my life living in a subdivision where the only thing that looked physically different between houses was the paint on the garage doors. You know when everyone in the new subdivision takes their seemingly normal brick-faced façade and wants to show some individuality, so they paint the garage and front door bright red? (Unfortunately, the person next to them paints theirs bright yellow) After they both add the same colors of tulips to the front flowerbed, you have …McDonald’s.

I’d hear the women standing in the driveways comparing flowers, pets, child issues…husband problems. The men would huddle around some sporty car with a beer and cigarette and chat about sports. The issue wasn’t what they were discussing, it was the arrogance and competitive dialogue. Everyone seemed to want to one-up each other. At the end of the day, everyone’s car looked relatively the same and everyone’s home still matched each other.

I found living there to be disturbing on so many levels. I don’t say it with an ungrateful heart because I find my apartment (while unsettling for its own reasons) a step up because I don’t have to specifically deal with that mentality anymore. I also don’t mean to lump your subdivision in with it. You probably either get exactly where I am coming from, OR you have been one of the chosen few who have managed to overcome this and infiltrate with a new mentality. For that, I applaud you!

The mentality of one-upping each other is not exclusive to the subdivision, it’s just where I personally experienced it the most. It’s easy access to one another, you can stand in the driveway of your neighbor easily and borrowing a cup of sugar is handy enough. Also, children play together on bikes or with sidewalk chalk so the Moms are generally outside with them chatting away. This way of thinking however seems to be instilled long before anyone moves there.

I really can’t say an ill word about my upbringing. I consider myself a very blessed person with a series of smacks and unfortunate events along the way. One of the things my mom was big on was how we looked when we went somewhere. I slept on many many hard plastic rollers in my life and I had several outfits that matched my sisters (Between my Mom and Aunt, they LOVED to sew!) I think it’s really sweet to dress your children nicely to go visiting, but ‘don’t leave the house without lipstick’ carried its weight every single day of my life. The point was you have to be careful what others think of you. My Mom was just proud of her children, I don’t think it was bad…but when company would come the house had to be clean and the best teacups would come out.

Everyone has something be it big or small in their childhood which assists in framing this competitive mindset. But more than this, I thinking eye-balling what someone else has may be the consolation prize for not having happiness or contentment in many cases.

In the subdivision, I’d hear 4000 conversations over the grass. The Weed Man would come to one house and then everyone else would want him to come. He’d come aerate the lawn and then have to do everybody’s. Then the endless talks of grubs…oh my gaaaaawd…if grubs didn’t enter 4000 of my dreams while living there!
So everyone would stand in their bare feet and say, “Isn’t it great to stand on lush grass? It’s like carpet!”

Oh but then…then the dreaded news would come; WATERING RESTRICTIONS. Well, you’ve never seen hysteria until you tell people they can’t water their grass. It never dawned on anyone that the town was having a water shortage! They were willing to go without showers and dishwater over losing their privilege to water the grass!

So eventually the grass turned brown. Oh, it was as though the Great Depression of the Dirty 30’s struck. “No grass…what do we do?” “Do we rake up the dead stuff?” “NO! DON’T DO THAT!! You’ll pull up the roots!”

They really should have just rolled it up and smoked it and chilled out as far as I was concerned.

Whenever I was in an unhappy relationship, I found myself more competitive in anything that was a façade. If the house was vacuumed, it seemed less chaotic. If laundry was all caught up, there was no dirty laundry in the metaphorical sense. If how
I looked and where I lived looked better than the neighbors I could fool everyone including myself into thinking I could be happy.
It’s what we are sold in the ads and it’s why people spend more money on their grass than time with family.

I feel like we have wised up a lot to this though, thankfully it’s becoming increasingly transparent who’s happy and who isn’t whether their lawn is amazing or not. This might seem bad, but what I dig about it is that it opens a dialogue to get the root where the grubs are destroying it.

How are things at your home? Do you envy your neighbor? Their home? Their relationship? Their happiness? Are you sure they are? Do you measure your happiness by what they have or by what you don’t have? Or are you able to recognize what is good in your world to find contentment?

Love you guys!
Karen :)

“I'm thankful to be breathing, on this side of the grass. Whatever comes, comes.” ~Ron Perlman

1 comment:

  1. The grass may seem "greener" somewhere else for me ( and I get the feeling it is... but my own new Lawn I don't have to mow~! I don't eney someone else's Lawn~ I TRY/Find ways to make mine "livable~n~enjoyable with room to play ~n~grown creativly until I find My OWN "prefect" Lawn That's what I am gonna DO ~! Then I'll be doin the same ..playin~n~grownin creativly and live a healther life there with my critters~! Love to ya YOUR BLOG ROCKED ~!