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How “The grass is greener on the other side” turns our own Grass Brown

Life to the Full

We should know better than to think it. I give myself a little shake when those thoughts go through my mind—the way that I do when I’m reaching for yet another brownie, or thinking a thought that I know isn’t kind.

“Stop it,” we tell ourselves. But our minds keep on going, determined to peer over to the other side of the fence.

We do it all our lives.

I distinctly remember thinking that my life was going to be far better and more exciting when I was a mature eighth grader instead of a lowly seventh grader.

I remember thinking that life would be so much better when I graduated college and didn’t have to study for any more stupid finals—well, that one was actually true. So never mind.

I remember peering over at other people’s relationships thinking that if I could JUST find a boyfriend like that, my heart would stop aching, I wouldn’t be lonely anymore.

If we lost 10 more pounds, or made a bit more money, or looked a bit more like that girl, we’d be satisfied.

And it only gets worse from there.

We start doing it with age as we realize that we’re approaching the beginning of a new decade, or with our kids—if they just behaved like that, or didn’t struggle with this. We do it with our spouses, if my husband just had a better job, or our locations, if we could move back there.


We have stipulations for our lives—hurdles for them to leap over before we’ll finally give them our stamp of satisfied approval.

But in my experience, satisfaction never seems to come.

I’m not of the opinion that this is all there is, or that life is going to get worse from here. And I get upset when people warn those following a few steps behind of the perils of the life they’re approaching.

If one more person tells me how hard parenting is, I don’t think I’m going to be able to do it!

But I also have never found the satisfaction I was hoping for in reaching the next step ahead.

Because here’s the trick to the whole thing: if we’re always looking a step ahead, then we’re always looking a step ahead.

When we finally get to that next stage, or job, or weight-loss goal, our eyes will still be fixed ahead. The satisfaction will still evade us.

We wont ever have arrived.

And so this is what I’m practicing in my life—one of my main life tenants, (if you’ll allow me to climb up onto my soapbox).

“The grass is greener on the other side” is a sure-fire way of turning our own grass brown. 

If we spend our time peering over the fence—longing for grass that isn’t ours—there’s no faster way to ruin the season we’re in.

And I want to live my life today.

I want to love my stage of life to pieces—to wear it out like an old pair of sweatpants I can’t bring myself to get rid of.

I want to dig into what this season has to offer—to lie in my bed by myself at night, eating midnight snacks and leaving behind a crumb or two. I want to fall asleep watching every chick flick I can get my hands on. (My current super-single-behaviors.)

And when I’m married, I want to scooch over and share my bed, cuddling and soaking it in. I’ll know that I can be present in this season of life, because I was so present in the last one as well. (In more ways than just sleeping habits…)

Because the truth is that there’s green grass on both sides. It’s squishy and soft just like grass is supposed to be—it is a lush carpet under your bare feet and smells distinctly like summer.

You can lay in it for days, and it will cradle your head, giving you the perfect bed to watch the clouds roll by.

And every side has brown spots too. Every season of life has aspects that are hard and frustrating—that stretch us to our breaking point and make us want to quit.

And those problems may change depending on what side you’re on, but they certainly won’t go away.

And so this is the work I’m inviting you into today. Keep your eyes on your own side of the fence, and trust that when it’s time for you to move to the other side, the grass will be just as green.

I don’t know what season of life you’re in, but I guarantee you that if you look closely enough, you’ll find out that it’s beautiful.

So lie down, soak it in, and let the smell of freshly cut grass lull you into total satisfaction with this very moment, today.

In what areas of your life do you find yourself peering over the fence? 

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Add a Comment
  1. Catherine says:

    As I was reading, I was thinking about how much I love stretching out in my warm flannel sheets at night. And then that’s exactly what you shared: the beauty of both moments, of having it to yourself and of sharing it when you can.

    That’s my picture of green grass right now, I think.

  2. Grey says:

    Amen Stephanie! Was already thinking about this very thing today.

  3. […] truth: keeping my eyes on my side of the fence. […]

  4. […] this: The belief that the grass is greener on the other side turns our own grass brown. This post first appeared on the blog on January 27th, 2014, and is one of my […]

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