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Letters to My Children: That grass isn't always so green

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The funny thing about grass is that it always seems greener on the other side of the fence. Yet, it isn't always so green.

Yes, kid, I know you won't believe me on this one. You rarely do, until the lesson smacks you upside the head. But know that I will never say I told you so.

I might smirk, though, so don't look.

I know you've heard it a thousand times before. And I know you'll hear it again, if not another thousand times, but here they are again:

The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.

Yes, it may look greener. Yes, it may look more lush. It may look richer, happier, more fun, prettier, cleaner, newer, or snazzier. But looks can be deceiving, and reality on that side of the fence is remarkably similar to the reality on this side of the fence.

Green grass and all.

It's often difficult to see how things may be the same here and there, before and after, but think about the various points in your life so far when this has been true. The problems you have now will be the problems you will have on the other side of the fence unless you make the commitment, take the time and put forth the effort to fix the problems, rather than avoiding them or, worse, denying them.

Remember when you wanted to move in with your cousins, because they had a happy house, when you thought we didn't? Everything was supposed to be perfect there when it clearly wasn't perfect here. You returned home disappointed: not everything was as rosy as you thought it would be.

Remember when you sat at the table and listened to several of us discuss N's engagement? Do you recall how many of us were concerned about the marriage, as we questioned why N was so keen to marry someone she had expressed so many reservations about? She thought the grass was greener, and that marriage was going to fix the problems in her relationship with M. That by simply being married, all their problems would disappear.

They didn't, and you know that full story. The problems they had before their wedding were the same problems they had after the wedding; they were just many thousands of dollars less well-off.

It's very easy to think that the sitation the next person is in is better than the one you are in. It's natural to think if only this would happen you'll be happier. It's very tempting to think the next new thing will be better than the one you have.

Lots of very's there, but none guaranteed to be true.

I'm not saying don't strive for a better world, a better situation, a desired goal. What I am saying is look at what you have and know that the situation you're in, the life you have, the world you created may not be as bad as you think.

Indeed, it may be pretty darn good, if you stop to look at it.

And it may just be quite green.