I’ve always enjoyed the expression ‘the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence’. It probably has a lot to do with growing up in the suburbs where there were a lot of fences and paired with them were some really nice lawns. Being an expression though – you could view it from a lot of different angels. It could be, the house is always bigger and nicer or the car is always newer and cooler.
But the expression doesn’t stop there, the underlying meaning – to me at least – is that there is something else attached to the green grass, big house or new car. That the person who currently possesses them needs to work harder and spend more to have those things. This is the unseen part of life. That we can appreciate the outcomes but we often don’t have a good understanding of the inputs to get there.
The other morning I heard a story on NPR about a farmer who was a multi-millionaire based on his farmland and that every other farmer in the room with him was one too. I wonder if this might be in some ways the opposite of my grass is greener statement. With the farmer we see the input as dirty hands, long summer hours, flannel clothing – and don’t see the outcome as a multi-million dollar personal fortune.
Whenever the thought comes to mind for me though, it brings a certain level of appreciation for the things I have. I know the work I put into obtaining whatever object or idea is at the forefront of my thoughts. To me, knowing both the inputs and outcomes is more important than just the outcomes because it’s the story about how the grass that got so green that’s important.