The grass is always greener…

Greener on the other sideSometimes we fall into the trap of thinking that “the grass is always greener on the other side of the hill.” We’re not satisfied with where we are, what we’re doing, or what we have and we’re convinced that if we can just go to that one place, do that one thing, or possess that one object we’ll be so much happier than we are now.

The cliché moral of the story is that once we get to the other side of the hill and look back, we start to long for the way things were and think that the greener grass has somehow eluded us, that it still resides on the other side of the hill we just left.

Well sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side.

The problem that I have with this little bit of old-timey wisdom is that it encourages placid acceptance of the status quo. It says to me, “Don’t even try to better your situation, you’ll just be disappointed.” It’s really rather a pessimistic way to look at things.

There’s obviously more positive interpretations of this maxim. Looked at in a better light, it tries to teach us the lesson that we should be happy with what we have and that if we’re always chasing happiness and never look around and realize what we have, we’ll always be dissatisfied. There’s wisdom in accepting some things as they are and in not fixating our happiness on a single goal.

More often than not, however, I see this phrase used to waggle a finger at someone who is trying to be happier. No, I don’t think we should fixate our happiness on the getting or doing of a single thing, but I do think it’s perfectly alright to strive for better things in life.

It comes back to that obnoxiously true life lesson that everything is a balance. It’s not good to always be chasing the greener grass and never appreciating what we have, but neither is it healthy to sit back and accept the status quo until we die. If happiness is a journey, and not a destination, then it’s bound to lead over a few hills, some of which will in fact be greener than others.

Enjoy your green grass when and where you find it.

Resolution Shmesolution

I have mixed feelings about New Year’s Resolutions.

One the one hand, I feel like there’s more negative connotations about false commitment than anything else. The tradition is roundly mocked and those who try to follow it are more often than not razzed by their fellows.

On the other hand, I’m a great proponent  of self-improvement. I’m all for healthy traditions that encourage it. I’m not Catholic, but I like the idea of Lent. Just like New Years, it’s a time of year when you know you won’t be alone, however much you’re made fun of, because there’s other people trying to do the same thing: be a better person.

Being a better person is something I’m trying to do all year long. That doesn’t mean, however, that I’d be self-righteous enough to declare we should get rid of the New Year’s Resolution tradition. That’d be like getting rid of Christmas because you’re suppose to always be hoping for peace on Earth and goodwill to men. There are many, many people each year who make and keep their Resolutions and I’m quite happy for them.

Like most years, this year I haven’t made any set goals that I would label as my Resolutions for 2012, but the general buzz about it helps me to self-examine. I can take stock of the personal goals that I have set for myself and decide which to focus on. I suppose that, in a way, that means I do have several New Year’s Resolutions.

See what I mean about mixed feelings?

In any case, I enjoy the time of Year and the energy in the air. If you have any Resolutions yourself, I wish you the best.

WotF at the buzzer…wait, I already used a title like that…

The deadline for the Writers of the Future 1st Quarter of 2012 was last Saturday. I did get my story in on time, only a few hours before midnight.

The tragic thing is that I finished that story in mid November. Then I sent it to my readers with no real deadline to respond. Then I got busy with the Holidays. Then I realized that it was due at the end of the weak and I quickly gathered what responses I could from my readers just in time to edit, polish, tear apart, and rebuild my story in time to turn it in.

So far my goal to turn in a story every three months is intact.