I was just making small talk with a group of people. One of them said that he had lived all over the country and abroad, since his father had a transferable job. To me, who has been born, raised and lived in the same suburb of the same city, that seems like a dream life. The guy shrugged, "The grass is always greener on the other side." Although the adventure bit and the opportunity to see new places were fun, there was not the constant adjustment, not building long-term friendships, not getting stability and always being the perpetual outisder. I suddenly remembered an honest cop's wife saying that they had moved 32 times in 25 years, which is the grim side of the picture.
But the oft-used, "The grass is greener...," line reminded me of a silly line which kids to write in one another's slam books--"When it's hot like you like it cool, when it's cool, you like it hot, always wanting what is not." In Hindi they say, "Ghar ki murgi dal barabar," which means you never appreciate what you have. Thinking back on the thousands of conversations with different people, it does seem partially true. A man who has a simple stay-at-home wife, wishes he had been married to a glamorous working woman... the one who has a working wife adds to the family income, wishes he had a wife to open the door for him when he returns home from work and serve with hot rotis or parathas.
A woman who has a dutiful husband who comes home on time every evening and helps with the household chores, wishes she had a man who would take her partying every evening.. the woman who has a man-about-town kind of husband wishes he would stay put at home. A kid who has a housewife for a mother is slightly ashamed that her mother is not a career woman.. and the one whose mother does have a career, wishes she had a mother like her friend's, always preparing goodies in the kitchen.
It never ends--a man with a steady career wishes for a more exciting job. A pilot, model or actor, whose glamorous job everyone envies, wishes he could get more time to put his feet up and spend more time with his family. It never ends, this wishing for something better, which is not the same as an ambition so overwhelming that the person is willing to sacrifice anything to achieve it. The desire to have what someone else has, under the notion that it is better if not superior to what one has, doesn't necessarily translate into action, even in the circumstances when change is possible.
While many of us are looking over the fence at the greener grass on the other side, we might miss the flowers that may have sprouted in our own garden.