Is grass “always” greener on the other side? or is it as artificial as a Kardashian woman’s a**?
Not once, not twice have I been proven to that the green is not always grasser on the other side (got the joke?) But even with the countless expositions that it is not always as it seems, I still get caught up in the illusion that am better of on the other side of the fence. I was brought up in the “not Nairobi” county, where “shags mundu” (person from the rural area) was how we would be described. My parents did a good job at exposing my siblings and I to a “styled up” life and even though my home town did not have skyscrapers, we were doing pretty well. We had family friends who lived in Nyairofi (Nairobi) and most of the times we thought they were royalty. When they came home, the “visitors china cups and plates” would find themselves on the table after months of being secured in a lock and key safe. These are the kind of visitors who got the dignitary entertainment from my younger siblings with songs and poems often in broken English. They offered the rare opportunity to showcase talent. It was important that they got to know that simply because we lived next to coffee fields and our pets were two not pedigree dogs with no pedigree names, we still were civilized. To me, the green was greener on their side because they spoke English of the nose (githungu kia maniuru), they had supple skin, their car was better than ours, and yes, they lived in Nairobi. When we went to visit them, we would go to places like Adams Arcade to play video games and eat cotton candy and ice-cream from Sno Cream (the oldest ice-cream joint in Nairobi city). On the other hand, recreating at ours was usually chasing after grasshoppers, disturbing the neighbor’s ducks, going to the stream down the valley to try and catch njururis (Whirligig Beetles). Yes, they have an English name. Yep!! those insects that girls used their sting to make their boobies grow big. I truly wanted their life. But that was when I was younger and naïve. Now we are all grown and whenever we reminisce about those days, I realize that the grass was green on all sides. I appreciate that when we crossed over the fences, it spiced our childhood experiences. Those “exchange programs” gave us shared memories that would last us a life time. Them days made us “cousins” even though not by blood.
However, seeing glass as greener on the other side is not only a distinguishing feature of the teens. It also happens to adults. I have severally envied other when I compare my life with theirs. I have found myself consciously asking “what is wrong with me?”, “why not me?”, “why do these things happen to others and not me?”. When I was married, there was this couple that always referred to each other as “honey” and had a lot of PDAs. It usually stung when I remember that my hubby had no pet name for me, neither did he ever hug me or kiss me in public in the 8yrs we were married. Whenever we were in the presence of these two love birds, I would be green with envy, wondering what I had done wrong to the gods to have a husband who was so unromantic. For years I thought this couple had a marriage made in heaven. They had a lovely home, their Christmas holidays were usually in the five (5) star hotels in the Kenya or abroad while mine were usually in my mother-in-law’s home…(no PUN intended). My bubble was to be busted later when I got the wind that this couple had us all fooled. Kumbe (so) it was all a façade. They were good actors for sure. Needless to say, I was shocked when the man made a pass at me way before I got to know that there was trouble in paradise. I must admit I was over the moon that he actually wanted something naughty with me..(yes I did). Evidently, the grass on their side was not as green as I envisioned.
As a newbie in the school/education business, I did a lot of benchmarking with schools that I thought were doing exemplary well. My intention was to get to hear the story of how they got to where they were so I could also borrow a leaf. I would ask many questions ranging from how they managed to stay afloat, recruitment of teachers, interviewing of new learners, finance management, marketing strategies, how they dealt with competition and complaints from parents. There were schools I visited and I left feeling somewhat depressed after seeing how classic and highly populated the school were. I would doubt my ability to attain the modern standards I envisioned for my school as well as the ability to expand. This would hit hard on my self esteem and trust in my aptness to direct the school to greatness. Yes, their grass was way beyond that of a golf course on a rainy day compared to mine. My grass looked dry, weathered, dead, and mole infested with no hope of ever becoming greener. I actually found myself questioning whether I was in the right business. I did not know how to make my grass as green as theirs. After five (5) years of running the school, I chose to exit the business in pursuit of other pastures. Then came covid and I realized that the grass is no longer greener on the other side.
With people posting how flamboyant their lives are on social media, many have fallen prey to believing that their lives suck and others are doing better than them. People are using crazy filters to make themselves look flawless, with hourglass figures, thigh gaps and six (6) packs, fueling envy and jealousy of their followers. Following the Kardashians would make you think that the life in America is all classy and fun fun fun. It is until you land in that country do you realize it is all about the ratings. It is a reality show!!! I am still waiting to get to that America where there is milk and honey and a lot of money with holidays at The Hamptons.
Thinking that the grass is greener on the other side happens when we focus on the lives of others and thinking that what we have is not good enough. That we can and should have a better life. Basically, it’s thinking that our lives would be better if it were in different circumstances. The problem with this line of thought is that it robs us of the ability to appreciate who we have become and what we have. It may be in relation to our finances, relationships, geographical location, looks, body type, skin color, jobs, occupations, talents, and much more. We get duped to believe that we would be happier if things were different. We buy into the lies that we are not good enough and we will never be like those we think are more blessed, favored or lucky than us. Best way to enjoy life is by being yourself. Love yourself, love your life and work only at becoming the better version of yourself.
As for me, I am learning to appreciate my life, and to be contented with what I have on my plate. I accepting that I will never be someone else, and my life is that is still ok. I remind myself constantly that I was born with a divine purpose which is uniquely mine as my finger prints are. I am telling myself that it is ok to look around from time to time to see what is going on around me but what I see should not deter me from continuing on my unique journey. It is obvious to me now that I should celebrate my achievements in the same way I celebrate the achievements of others. I have to constantly quash the temptation to compare myself to others, and to strive at becoming a better version of who I am currently. I am permitting myself to showcase my strengths and talents and to bless others with them. My pride should rest on my journey to where I am currently going and to keep myself reminded of the many challenges I have successfully conquered in the past. It is allowed to have pace setters to keep you on your toes. They must be people whose lives you admire and want yours to be like. These must be people who are willing to counsel you and show you the ropes of on to become a better you. Instead of getting jealous, get schooled on how to get to where they are without losing your authenticity.
“You can run with turkeys, but it takes greater strength to fly with eagles.”
Happy thanksgiving! throw me a wing and a thigh. I will appreciate!