We’ve all heard it said a million times: the grass is greener on the other side. But what do people mean when they say that?
When I was young, my dad used to throw out these clichés left and right, most of which I didn’t understand. “Six in one, half dozen in the other” means nothing to a kid, but that’s the way grown-ups talk, I concluded.
This “grass is greener” talk really confused me because I never understood why greener grass was on the other side and why everyone was talking about it. I didn’t even know where to find “the other side”.
Needless to say, I didn’t incorporate this saying in my vernacular until I graduated from college, when I officially became an adult with a job and bills to pay. For some reason, this phrase began making more sense when I saw my life in comparison to others.
And that’s the root of the saying. It’s a pleasant way to express disappointment in our own lives and a desire to live someone else’s life. It’s a convenient way of wishing life were better or different. It’s a way of comparing what I know about my situation with what I don’t know about someone else’s situation, and this is a lose-lose proposition.
I prefer the phrase I once heard from Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, when he said, “The grass is not greener on the other side. The grass is greener where you water it.” Isn’t that great? I love that.
If the grass doesn’t seem very green in the yard of your life, don’t look around at the other yards. Go invest in a hose and start watering yours. Pick up a good non-fiction book about leadership and read it. Find a solid podcast on personal growth and listen to it. Make a budget and stick with it. Find an exercise routine and do it.
And, for goodness sake, stop saying the grass is greener on the other side. It’s confusing the kids.