August 6, 2007
cutting the grass
I had a minor breakdown last Wednesday afternoon which involved me leaning on two of my wise people for more minutes than my Sprint plan currently allows. The flip out was a dash of circumstantial big bang, a heavy dose of the approaching menses, and a generous helping of the grass being greener. Part of the envy I was feeling came directly from BlogHer, land of the women to your right with the full hair and the one to your left with the book deal and the other dead ahead with disposable income that affords her world travel and that elusive Coach scarf hobo. I also booked a flight to a destination wedding this week, one at which I will spend my 34th birthday, likely celebrating both events alone. I was just a swirl of feeling low and as if my cats and my rented apartment just didn’t cut it. It was a pity party for which I forgot to send out invitations.

Things always look so good from the outside. For all of us. Sometimes I wish I wanted offspring so I didn’t have to get the you-just-sprouted-horns look from each and every person who discovers I’m more interested in funding that Coach purchase than a college education. I had to chuckle while reading friend and woman I taught how to text message Chris’ post earlier today. Apparently having seven children and feeding them properly gets you some strange looks at times, as well. What single woman would have thought it?

One of the aforementioned wise people held a get together at his house last week, a setting he has told me on more than one occasion was designed for entertaining. I made this man, a grown man with intact testicles, tell me each and every detail of the event from the napkins to the cheese selection and the service timing because I was just so damn envious. It oozed from me and I cared not to try to scoop it up before he noticed. Neurotic in his planning as I am, he spent days on details like group-pleasing music and cutting the lawn just so. The lawn I don’t have but I'd love to find bits of under my fingernails. Did I mention him having space for a grill? For a deck? I won’t even get started on having a mailbox. A real-life one from which you can send outgoing mail. Without having to go to the post office.

When Jenny was in town a few weeks ago, I openly expressed my envy of her life, a level that grew with each story she told and, naturally, with each glass of Pinot I poured us. It wasn’t one thing. It was the whole picture, albeit one without the zoom on. Her high-profile job that sounds exciting no matter the day and the apartment she co-owns with a man we’re pretty sure will be her fiancé within months in a city that is completely foreign and therefore all the more intriguing to me. Their nights at home with rented movies made me ache a little. To cuddle on the couch with a man with whom I’m in love? Come on, does it really get better than that?

What floored me was that, on more than one occasion during the weekend, she expressed just how boring she thought her life sounded when comparing it to mine. I paused, incredulous, because as glamorous as we all know having the people at your local Subway know your name and mothering one full-bodied feline and the other amputee cat can be, not to mention your collection of brilliant Suave (and now Bliss!) products being every young woman’s dream, I just hadn’t considered how things might look from my outside. She cited the softball and the bocce and the happy hours and the wine tours and the writing and elusive female friendships. And DC and the dating and the drama and the dining out in all four quadrants and being within driving distance of family. And yes, she even mentioned the cats.

Maybe days like Wednesday would be a little easier if I didn’t spend so much of my time looking at the neighbor's lawn.

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31 Comments:

Blogger Alison said...

You know, your life seems pretty interesting to me, as I see it through your blog. Who doesn't compare herself to other people?

Sometimes you only need a weed whacker. Sometimes you need a bigass tractor.

Blogger sue said...

Ironically enough I just posted about this topic today...

Blogger Elise said...

Here here. You hit the nail on the head with this one.

Blogger Mamma said...

Yeah, BlogHer pretty much sent me over the edge.

I think I need a hobby.

Blogger HKW said...

I've got a lawn with some landscaping. Pruned 3 crape myrtles for the 1st time this weekend. Today, my body aches in places which I swear did not exist until now. What's going to happen when I'm 40?

You're beautiful, smart, funny - fabulous! Thanks for the lovely post.

Blogger DraMa said...

Everyone is jealous of everyone. No matter who you are you tend to envy other people. No matter how much you have, someone always has more.

I just try to remember those things everyday:)

Blogger Whiskeymarie said...

I am jealous of you.
Really, I am.
You have great hair, you live in an exciting city, you do lots o'stuff with your friends, you're not allergic to cats, you're sarcastic and funny...

Shall I go on?

Blogger Beth said...

On the wall outside my bedroom door is Desiderata, written by Max Ehrmann in 1952. Among the passages is this:

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons
than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

I know the grass is always greener. I live next door to a landscape architect. How's that for pressure?

You're fabulous just the way you are, right this minute.

Blogger Heather B. said...

Hi...you will never believe who I saw last night (though someone had to point him out to me)...

He's currently in a box under your bed....

Love you.

Blogger Kelly said...

Is there a song about this?

You can't always get what you want! But if you try sometimes... you just might find... you get what you neeeeeeeeed.

While you might think you're in need, your friends are wanting what you have and they can't. Funny how that works, eh?

Why want what you can't have and be unhappy, when you can have what you have and BE happy!

Blogger kris said...

y'all are some sweet damn peas. i love that no one told me to shut my piehole, which i'm quite sure was the instinct of at least four or five of you.

also a good thing that blogger rejects all comments with the word piehole in them. suckers.

Blogger Paige Jennifer said...

I almost poked the eye out of a lovey dovey couple the other day. Because, you know, he held her hand and and whispered in her ear. And she tossed her naturally straight hair over her slender and toned shoulder before letting out a girly giggle. Fucking bitch.

But then I realized I'm jetting to the Galapagos next week. For seven days of adventure and excursion. And I'm doing it because I can. I'm not tied to a house with a kid dangling from one boob and a husband dangling from the other. Nope. I'm a sassy single and dammit, I lurv it.

Your life is grand, girly - don't forget it!

Blogger Mary said...

I can so relate to how you felt at BlogHer and life in general. The irony for me is it seems to not matter whether I am single, or doing well ar work or not or whatever my current life status is (even though I used to think it would). For what it is worth, I attended your panel at BlogHer and remember thinking how clever, thoughtful, funny and stylish you were and I regret not coming up and saying hello. I now am a fan of your blog - you have a way with words. So even though you don't know me and the compliments seem to border on weird and stalkerish, I just thought a perspective coming from the other side of the table might be nice. I would guess many BlogHer attendees felt the same way. www.beautyandthegeek.wordpress.com.

Blogger Jürgen Nation said...

Shut your cakehole.

I kid. I love you, bean, and don't you forget it. I'll say all the important stuff tonight on the phone. Just wanted to get the "cakehole" comment in because I knew you'd shake your fist at your computer screen. Meow.

Blogger Sizzle said...

we've got to tend our own lawns i guess. i feel ya on this.

Blogger Melina said...

This post is just what I needed. For some reason, I'm desiring a baby--but that guy that I married, isn't totally ready(he yo-yos back and forth so that tells me he isn't ready). In the past three weeks, three of my friends have told me that they are pregnant, and I had to fake a smile...when I should've just been totally happy for them.

Blogger e.b. said...

No ones life is perfect. The key is learning to love yours (most of the time) and not in compairson to others - just for what it is.

Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

You know, I have 2 kids and I'm still more interested in funding that Coach purse than in funding college educations!

Sometimes, you know, it's a really big pain in the ass to mow all that damn grass.

Blogger KB said...

Good luck, my dear. I hope you get everything you want out of life.

Blogger Chris said...

Wait a minute...I am supposed to be funding college educations? Shit.

Your grass looks very green and lush to me.

I am also forever indebted to you. because of you I can now text. That is probably where the college funds are going these days ;-)

Blogger mysterygirl! said...

I am guilty of this very thing. Sucks, doesn't it? Often it's not even that I want exactly what the other person has, but that I don't know quite what I do want, and that other person's life (because other people's lives always seem more stable than one's own) seems to be "realer" than mine (and thus better).

Can we blame someone for this? How about Oprah?

Blogger HAR said...

I am a single mom of two by choice. Every single day I get "the grass is greener" syndrome of my married friends.

But to really be honest, I mostly get depressed when I see what my single friends are doing.

LOVE my two girls but mowing the lawn is not what it is cracked up to be. I still want the Coach purse but can't fucking afford it.

How did this post become about me? Sorry.
Try to breathe. It works for me when I stop and remember to do it.

Blogger Skyzi said...

It's how it is. As long as my husband doesn't mind we can always switch for a bit if you want all this domesticity.....and trim each others grass...? Sounds dirty.

Oh, the grass is so greener. (I rule at grammar.)

I was recently envying your lack of offspring. Envying people who rent because you aren't subjected to home improvement sucking up all of your free time and money. I was jeaouls of how you get to go OUT and do things.

I love my life, but I no longer know anything about style or new music. I haven't been to a movie in a theater in almost two years.

The grass will remain greener.

Blogger JoJo said...

After posting my own whiny blog today, this just reinforced my belief (recently forgotten though it was) how good my life actually is. Thanks Kris!

Blogger Beth said...

I believe that this has been said 25 times here in the comments section already, but I just *need* to put my two cents in - excellent post, as always, Kris. As a divorcee who has spent the last 2 weeks attending wedding events for a couple so happy & in love (with more to come this week for another disgustingly happy and in love couple), I can totally under that feeling of envy at the lives of others! (Which surpises me a little, as I'm generally quite happy with my single-ness! Not sure what's come over me, and I'm hoping it will pass!)

You have a way with words, a devoted following for your blog (with many eager commenters) and cat ownership - all things I would kill to have! [Please note: I would not actually kill you to move into your apartment, steal your cats and take over your blog, pretending those comments are all mine. Because I can't write nearly as well as you and someone would figure it out sooner or later =)]

Blogger t2ed said...

The grass is always greener....

Until you let your Wonder Dog pee on it and you've got to figure out a way through your neighbor's fence.

Blogger Ulysses said...

Remember this next time you're thinking about the lawn: so, it rains briefly, then goes back to being miserably hot and thick out, and now you have to cut the lawn otherwise the mailbox will no longer be visible. So you head out with your machete and scythe, and yes you've got grass under your nails and you're dripping seat from your chin and your shirt's a filthy mess and your eyes bloodshot and you're breathing through your mouth 'cause the pollens swollen your sinuses shut so your nostrils pucker, and that's when that person you've been trying to meet in the neighborhood walks by afraid to look you in the eye in case you might try to talk to them...

Blogger snoopy said...

I can't say anything better than any of the previous 27 people did - so I won't. But I am often overcome with "grass is greener" envy as well.

I think it's just a part of our society - we always want what we don't have and don't always appreciate what we do have. It's what keeps our economy going :-)

Blogger Jorge said...

I just pour acid over the fences so I'm the only one left with grass.



Then I sell sod at a premium.

Blogger Tracy Kaply said...

I think we all have a tendency to compare how we feel to how other people look.

Ain't nothing wrong with you or your life, kid. And you'll feel that. Eventually.

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