The grass isn't always greener

Published 4:14 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2005

By By Janet Little Cooper
Many are familiar with the phrase 'moving to greener pastures' or 'the grass is always greener on the other side'. The phrase is typically used when referring to a move in life thought to be better than the last or an improvement.
I heard the phrase this week myself and spent some time in thought about the concept ever since hearing it.
A church sign several years ago read: "The pasture may be greener on the other side, but the water bill is higher."
The idea of items being new and improved deluges our society from shampoo to food. Our culture has programmed us to believe that we all deserve new and improved products, employment and even relationships.
My two boys are victims of this concept every time they turn on the television or walk in a store. Just a few years ago, they wanted a Play Station; within a short period of time the Play Station II hit the market with new and improved capabilities and games.
Of course, PS was no longer good enough. It had been replaced and the grass certainly looked greener at the homes where friends were playing the PS II.
Then as quickly as the PS was replaced, the new Play Station Portable or PSP was trumping the PS II. And of course, a PS III is already in the works. It certainly seems to me that the grass is always going to look greener. It is just a matter of what it is going to cost.
Unfortunately, it is often times too late by the time a person realizes how much the water bill is. The damage has been done – money has been wasted, bridges burned, families lost and careers destroyed.
Appearances of greener grass bring about numerous problems in one's life. Career moves are often made based solely on the concept of new and improved. While I certainly agree that career changes, promotions or transfers are beneficial and realistic for many reasons, some are completely based on the greener pastures idea. I just made such a move based on the fact that I love the newspaper medium and it was an obvious advancement in many ways for me at this time in my life.
Sometimes those are not issues, disgruntled employees think that they will be happy elsewhere but soon find out problems arise everywhere. The job may look, and sound better, but employees are soon faced with the reality that all bosses have bad days and that you can't make everyone happy.
In my opinion, families pay the biggest price in the misconception that the grass is greener on the other side. Marriages are ending at a rapid pace as a result of a spouse choosing to walk in greener grasses rather than the less than perfect, insect and weed infested grasses at home.
The grass is more than likely a lot greener in most cases, but in appearances only. The price one will pay to maintain it will be far too costly to make it worth it. They will certainly realize that the green grass dies in the winter and is likely to come back in the spring with a few weeds of its own.
Sadly enough many have fallen prey to the high prices inflicted by the insatiable desire for the new and improved or those greener pastures.
As for me, I am content with my own grass be it green or not in my life now and am careful to control the weeds that are sure to grow in it.
Janet Little Cooper is the lifestyles reporter for the Atmore Advance. Her column appears weekly.

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