Is the Grass Really Greener?

If you really want to sabotage any progress you make in life, just sit and look at the life, possessions, relationships, jobs, and friends of anyone else. Maybe your neighbor. His wife has perfect hair, body, job, and his children are perfect. Or are they?

If we are discontent with where we are in life, we tend to value it less. Especially if we are working towards changing where we are now. On a bad day from our perspective, we think we’ll never make it, that Mike the neighbor has it better, we become jealous, envious, and may give up on ourselves. We’ve lost 10 of 50 pounds, started a community college class for improving our career, and are repairing our home.

When we are upset, we tend to not give ourselves enough credit. For anything. We may have a lot to do, but just the fact we’ve started makes all the difference in the world. We cannot do it all at once. I struggle with this at times. The older I become, the less I accomplish in the time frame I expect. I don’t quit, I just gently remind myself it takes me longer. Sometimes, I need to look at all I’ve accomplished since my life began again at 30 when I got divorced.

That’s when my adulthood really started. I was a grownup, paying bills, raising kids, owning a home, etc. Then I learned about me, about what I wanted, who I was, and how to get there. God was very good to me, and led me to opportunities. He blesses me still, and taught me how to pay attention to His prompts and messages. It has helped my journey immensely.

By wishing and hoping for someone else’s life or success is a great way to destroy our dreams, any work we’ve put in so far, and lose out on progress for our lives and dreams. We have to accept who and where we are on our road to our future. Those others are not as comfortable or successful as you may think. Everyone has troubles. Everyone has things to deal with. Everyone can improve. You’re already ahead by working on a new way of life. Look at you go!

Tomorrow, when a brand new week starts, focus on what you have instead of what you haven’t. When you get where you’re going, you won’t want their stuff. You’ll know your grass is greener. It already is!

Third Step: Don’t Take Anything Personally.

Yesterday’s Agreement, “Be Impeccable With Your Word” sets the mood for the other three agreements. Being prudent with your words, positive talk to yourself and others, helps pave the way for you to not take anything personally. How?

Remember, people say negative things when they’re not in a good space, when they feel inadequate, and they try to poison us with their venom. Don’t drink from their cup! Deflect their words, their negativity! Right back at them! Remember, this is not about you. It’s about them.

Personal importance is the place in life where people think everything is about them. And most of life just isn’t about them. It’s about each individual in their own scheme of things. The Babe knows a lot about where I am at on any given day, but he only experiences it through his perception of me. He cannot experience things as me.

If you can not take things personally in the midst of a fire fight, you have it made. Truly. Let them eat their own emotional garbage. This is particularly hard if you grew up in a household with alcoholic, narcissistic adults. It takes more of a conscious effort to not take things personally. Still, it’s about them, not you. This one was hard for me. I’m getting much better at it.

If you react when someone is talking, thinking what they’re talking about is about you, you start a lot of conflict. Conflict over your position on any topic, how they violate you, how you’re too busy, how you think you’re complying with what they want, on and on and on. Back the truck up. It’s not about you. It’s never about you. Why do you think you are so important? Why so defensive? What makes you think it’s about you when probably three people in the room are as guilty as you are. They’re simply solving a group problem. Don’t muddy it up.

When you stop taking issue with what other people say, think, express, and do, you free yourself of a whole bunch of negative behaviors. Envy is gone. Your jealousy and anger are gone, too. Wouldn’t that be nice? You no longer react. You don’t get angry. What a difference in everyone’s life, especially yours.

This is short, but has much food for thought. No, we won’t master these overnight. I think they make perfect sense towards living a better life, don’t you? There will be two more blogs about the last two agreements, tomorrow and Friday. Then I can let you in on a couple things that are pretty exciting. Life is getting better every day. Hope yours is too. See you tomorrow.

Another Saturday Wedding

Later today, we are going to Treynor, Iowa for the last of three weddings in my cousins family. All three girls married within about 18 months, the first delayed because of COVID. After so much disruption of lives by the pandemic, it’s encouraging when something as normal as a wedding can happen. Of course, these young women and men are experiencing their once in a lifetime event. Their lives are pledged to each other and will never be the same. It’s been wonderful to attend these events and enjoy the family growing.

Next month, one of the longer married couples will be honored at a baby shower, they are due in February. I’m so happy for them all. What a lucky baby! Speaking of a lucky baby, I won some Eddie Bauer outfits for Kayla, and that will be part of her Christmas present. I’d better mail things by the first of December. Glad they just happened to be her size and that I won!

Today has been another crazy, procrastinating (?) day for me. I actually shut my eyes for a little while for a power nap. Now I feel awake for the day. I do need to remind myself I will leave my 60s after my next birthday. I’ll get to live through the 70s again. These will be happy and still full of firsts. My first published novel, my first published children’s book, and my first book signing event. Who says retirement isn’t any fun? It’s full of unknown adventures, and I am blessed to have the Babe to explore with me.

I’m looking forward to cooking a traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. I’m trying a couple new recipes for fun. Mashed potatoes in the crock pot. They sound great. I’ll let you know how it goes. And dessert? Each of the three of us loves a different kind of pie. Minis from Walmart? Maybe.

During this time of giving and family and togetherness, many of us are not in families who can gather together. Some are far away, they make their own plans, and prefer it that way. And it’s ok. We can’t be envious of the people who have family gatherings, closeness we don’t have, and different ways of living.

Envy hurts us, not them. When men are full of envy they disparage everything, whether it’s good or bad. Compared to a moth destroying the fabric of a coat or sweater, envy can destroy our lives. Envy can make us cynical. When we’re cynical, we can’t accept anything that is honest and sincere; we’re too sure it doesn’t exist.

When someone is chronically envious, they have trouble maintaining friendships. Closeness is painful. Envy makes us stay distant. There is more safety in protecting yourself. This leads to loneliness and being alone. Fear makes keeps us on the outside looking in. Learn instead to risk friendship. To have a friend, you must learn to be a friend.

This season is a great time to embark on a new adventure. Learn to be more open, less envious, more happy for others’ successes. You’ll have some, too, once you practice gratitude and being a friend. It’ll be a season to remember. One year, I chose teenagers names and wishes from a gift tree at our church. I skipped the tags that wanted iPhones or Xbox. A boy wanted tools, so I put together a basic set of tools; hammer, screwdrivers, chisel, all sorts of things, including a tape measure. A girl wanted makeup, so I chose neutrals and basic brushes, subtle colors, something that would look good on a young girl. It was actually fun. It lifted my spirits. It was before we had grandkids.

When we keep in our own lane, learn to be happy for our friends, and work on ourselves, we will see what we’ve been missing out on; friends, genuine feelings, and coming into our own. Have a beautiful day today, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

“Envy’s a Coal Comes Hissing Hot From Hell.” Philip James Bailey.

Is it hard to be happy for someone who wins the lottery? Is it hard to be happy for a relative who is able to retire early? Is it hard to be happy for a friend’s child who wins scholarships?

Or do we believe they don’t deserve it? The lottery, the early retirement, the child’s ability to earn their way through college? Do we think, “That should be me?” “He always was a penny pincher!” “Of course, their kids don’t have to work, like mine do, to pay for their car.” Sometimes it’s hard.

The quote today came from my old reliable, “Daily Meditations for Adult Children of Alcoholics.” Since 1982, I’ve read daily, skipped a period of time, then found I needed reminders of how wonderful my life really is. It’s remarkable, isn’t it? I believe I’ve learned these lessons (well, mostly), and am able to share them with others. Random people will find these blogs for them. Some will skip over this day. And that’s ok. You either skip because you’re offended it hits home or because you’re not an envious person. Or just stick around to learn something.

It can be hard to be gracious in the light of someone else’s success. If you care for your fellow humans (siblings, co-workers, cousins, strangers, friends you haven’t met yet), you’ll congratulate them when it’s appropriate. I used to be jealous when another single mom would meet someone and get married within a few months.

First of all, I felt envious they found love so easily. I spent 14 long, lonely, painful years before meeting the Babe. I didn’t know I was picking from the wrong basket. You only know what you know. Until you learn better. I hadn’t learned better yet.

Second, I thought you could make a terrible mistake by not really knowing the person. Six months isn’t knowing them. The first year you’re both on your good behavior. The second, you settle into everyday living. A lot is revealed during those months. Comes around year three of dating (or living together by now), and the person you think the world of is finally themselves. And so are you. If you both are faithful (a deal breaker for me, always), kind, helpful, equal partners in work and play, and can overlook their annoying habits (and they overlook yours!), you have a chance at having something that will last. But you both need to work hard at it.

This is all based on my personal experience, and I’m glad it took me so long. Marriage is hard enough without raising a blended family. I believe we would have been good parents/stepparents to each other’s kids. And it still would have been hard. This way, there was no, “Your kid, my kid,” arguments. Just being realistic, folks. Don’t jump in too fast. Too many people do.

It’s human to feel a twinge of envy now and again. It’s when we give into it, it becomes a problem. It causes a lot of negativity, most of which, none of us needs. It’s a slippery slope, my friends. When we question the good that befalls one of our friends, why not also question the tragedy and troubles that happen to other friends? We certainly don’t want those difficulties. Let’s learn to be gracious for good happening for our friends, and be kind and caring walking through their troubles with them. Don’t abandon them! Walk through it with them and they should do the same for you. True friends do. Soulmates do, too.

If I were to name a theme song for myself, I think it would be the Beatles’ “Let It Be.” When you really think about it, so little in life is worth arguing about. Don’t get me wrong, I get angry, I stand for myself, and I’m quick to say, “Let’s not argue about that, it just isn’t worth it.” Most of it isn’t. Criticizing someone isn’t worth the time, and I don’t care to listen to it, either. Mom has a bad habit of criticizing morbidly obese people. I tell her it just doesn’t matter, she shouldn’t be critical. I’m amazed for the trouble she has with her vision, she can see things like that and express an opinion. It just isn’t worth discussing, in my opinion. I won’t. End of story.

I’m trying very hard to overlook that part of her personality, it’s part of passed down brokenness from her side of the family. I broke the that tradition, as has my brother Tim. Of course, it’s easier since I have no sisters. Are women worse about being catty than men are? Whatever, I’m choosing to take Dad’s point of view. “You don’t know what’s going on with them. Always give the benefit of the doubt.” Do it. You’ll feel better!

Thanks for reading, I appreciate it. I’m almost caught up on the VFW Post 2503 website and Facebook pages. Today will free up a lot of time and tasks on the to do list. And I can get back to my books. See you tomorrow!