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The Grass is Greener… 3000 Miles Away?

Happy Farmer’s Market season! It’s been so nice to see the sun shine again and get outside to the fresh air. I have been thinking about something a lot lately, and I figured this was a good place to write about it. So, here we go:

I think it’s always tempting to compare ourselves to others. I mean, the concept is nothing new. Mottos such as “the grass is greener on the other side” or “keeping up with the Joneses” have been around for decades. Now more than ever the temptation is thriving in a world captivated by social media where we are constantly reminded how the other half lives. We no longer keep up with the Joneses. Keeping up with this family was all too convenient because they lived in our neighborhood. They drove better cars, lived in larger homes, attended better universities, and threw great parties because they had a bar in the parlor and a pool in the backyard.

Now? We try to keep up with the Kardashians who hail from Calabasas, some 3,000 miles away from most of us. They drive the best cars, live in the largest homes, and throw the greatest parties. In short, the problem with keeping up with families such as the Kardashians is that we can never keep up with them. At least the Joneses lived down the street. They were in our private neighborhoods, in a similar tax bracket, and offered a glimpse into a world slightly different, yet elevated, from our own that we could possibly one day achieve either through hard work and career outcomes, a good marriage, or an education in liberal studies. Short of creating some marketing empire or winning the lottery for a billion dollars, the life that the Kardashians lead is simply not achievable. And even if one of us did hit the lottery for a billion dollars, we still wouldn’t have the status of a Kardashian.

Make no mistake: this post of mine is not about criticizing or bashing the Kardashians. They’re marketing geniuses who know exactly how to be craved in the public eye. Good for them! Honestly, it’s refreshing to see a brand that is primarily sold by successful women. If the Kardashians were instead a family of men, I guarantee anyone they would be less criticized for their lifestyle. Instead, this post is more about vocalizing the need to be comfortable with where we are and the process of time. I have to admit that I am guilty of staring at the neighbors lawn and being envious of the green shade. It is very easy to take a look at someone else and think Wow, what a nice house!.. Look at how tiny her waist is!.. Is that the new Gucci bag?.. I don’t think we can help these thoughts. We’re programmed to strive for perfection and we are always trying to climb the ladder of success.

One of the main problems with the grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side mentality is that it usually always leaves us unhappy. We’re constantly seeing how good things could be, and fail to appreciate what we have right in our own homes. Maybe your child’s first birthday party was not catered by Gordon Ramsay, but at least your child turned one and you were able to celebrate a year of health and happiness. Maybe you didn’t get accepted to that Ivy League dream school that you applied to, but you did get to go to college. Maybe you didn’t become a race car driver, but you did have a successful career that allowed you to provide for your growing family. All of these successes are wonderful! But they seem less outstanding when compared to outrageous scenarios that are only capable for people like the Kardashians.

If we focused primarily on what we are accomplishing ourselves, we would be happier. It probably sounds ridiculous, but the only person we should be comparing ourselves to is the past versions of ourselves. If we are more successful (or happier, healthier, etc.) than we were even yesterday, we are growing and climbing that ladder.

I think I felt compelled to write this piece as a way of holding myself accountable. I, too, fall into the social media trap of trying to keep up with those who I simply cannot and it is frustrating. Although April is more than halfway over and we are well into 2021, I am planning on bringing this mindset with me throughout the rest of the year. 2020 was absolutely terrible and we all saw how bad things could truly be. With that being said, I’d like to focus on what is good in my life and be appreciative of all that we have (and how far we have come).

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