By Valerie Scott
The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. We often say this when we are talking about a big decision we are considering. Ending a relationship in hopes there is someone better out there. When I lose the weight I will be happier. When I get that promotion my life will be awesome! However, what we find when we get to that new place, that new circumstance, is that we are still faced with the same problems and life isn’t the fantasy that we imagined it would be. I like to put it like this: The grass might be greener on the other side of the fence, but you still have to mow it.
I have been there many times in my life. Lost the weight, ended a relationship, moved to a new house, new town, new country (I’ve moved a lot). And each time, although my external circumstances may be different, I have experienced a hard truth: I am still the same person. I still have the same issues, the same baggage. I am still in the same place within myself.
This time I’m looking at it differently. The fence doesn’t represent an external circumstance that I want to change; leaping over a hurdle to get to an elusive ‘better place.’ For me, the fence represents my inner journey, my choices about where I’m going to go within. For a really long time, I sat on one side of the fence, hating the brown, dead grass and the weeds that grew long and untended, staring at the garbage strewn around the lawn and wishing it would all just disappear. I imagined that the grass over on the other side of the fence was lush, green, and so inviting. What I realized, though, is that in order for me to experience that beautiful green oasis, I didn’t have to change my circumstances. I had to change ME. I began looking inward, at my own weeds, garbage, and deadness, and that’s when I started taking steps towards the fence of decision. It took a long time to cross that dead land. I had to admit some very hard truths about myself and what I had allowed myself to become, or rather, how I had allowed myself to NOT become. I’d lost myself somewhere in that place, and I’d forgotten what it looked like to be the real me.
I finally hated that place enough to charge the fence and peek through the boards to the other side. What I saw there was incredible, but I really didn’t believe it existed. However, I wanted it badly enough that I started climbing that fence, because, even if it was just a figment of my imagination, I hated where I was enough to know that I could never go back. So I climbed the fence. And then I sat on it. For a looong time, people! I sat on that fence of indecision about myself. Do I believe in myself enough to make the jump to the other side? Do I trust that what’s over there is real? It looks great, but what if there are snakes lurking under the grass? What if, once I get over there, there’s an infestation of weeds that turns that beautiful lawn into something that is even worse than where I came from? You get the idea.
Finally, I got sick of sitting on that fence. I got frustrated and dissatisfied and had to make a leap. Let me tell you, for a while I considered jumping back to the old grass, because it felt safe. At least I knew what I was dealing with. But no. Now that I’d actually SEEN that new place, had a little bit of an idea what was over there (do I see a Weber BBQ and a hammock?) I could never go back.
So I chose to jump. I chose to fully commit to myself, to my truth, to my authentic self. I jumped and landed, my feet sinking into the lush green grass. It felt cool under my toes, and smelled amazing. Standing up, I looked back at the fence and was surprised to realize that I couldn’t see through the boards to the other side, the dead side. It was out of my sight and I could never return.
I turned around and started to explore this new land of truth and commitment to self and to my heart. It’s scary and exhilarating and terrifying in a delicious way. I have a lot of growing to do over here, but I have a suspicion that there’s pretty awesome fertilizer on this lawn. There are still some weeds to be pulled, because that’s how life goes. Growth never stops unless we let it.
Which side of the fence are you on? If you’re sitting in the middle of a lawn full of dead grass and ugly weeds, and you’re not even sure if there is anything else but this wasteland that you’re surrounded by, don’t feel discouraged. Maybe try pulling just one little weed, and see how it feels. Pick it up, have a look, then toss it in the garbage. That’s how we get there. One weed at a time.