January 21, 2010
They say that the grass is always greener on the other side.
Normally, I'd refute this, proclaim it an illusion, and instead promote some other tired, overused, pink, frilly powder puff version of “seize the day,” “be grateful for what you have,” or, my personal favorite, “stop being a greedy, selfish, money-grubbing bitch.”
Normally, that is.
Today, however, I find myself on the verge of reluctant agreement with my green, grassy, psychological nemesis, wondering if, perhaps, the grass will always be greener on the other side–on the playing field that is our minds.
There seems to never arrive the point in which we actually take a deep breath and say, “Ah, there. NOW I'm entirely happy with everything in my life, including that weird mole that appeared on my arm, and–you know what?–I don't want any other grass on any other side. Mine is just perfect the way it is.”
Or, is it the case that, in the quest for self-development, the grass will never be as green as we want it to be? Better phrased: Will we forever be engaged in an (elusive?) battle to be…more? Better? Greener? More luscious?
Now for the twist: Are we even seeking to be more, or could it be the case that we're helplessly engaged in a fool's battle with the never-ending challenge that being more presents? Relative to lifestyle design, are we truly involved in it for the potential end reward, or is it possible that we're involved because it provides yet another challenge to manhandle?
… Are we nothing more than mere adrenaline junkies?
Then again, there are moments, too, when lifestyle design is appealing for exactly what it promises: The ownership of your own time. (Ironic that we must repossess ownership over something that is inherently ours in the first place, but that's another story.) Regrettably, horizontal stripes & handcuffs aren't all that becoming on me. Neither is the black cloak of guilt that comes as a free bonus, as a special thank you for shopping with the Western world.
My mind then ricochets to a new thought, one that is mildly disturbing, yet reverberating with potential truth: Could it be that, ironically enough, it's us who are the ones taking life much too seriously? Could it be that we are so hypersensitive of life's delicate, volatile ways, that we're desperately trying to cling to whatever fleeting moments we've been granted, like a fledgling attempt at capturing a minnow by repeatedly cupping our hands in the water? Do we take life too seriously in the sense that we're obsessed with getting it right, and making every moment count? Are we over doing it? Is it even possible to over do life?
Perhaps we are the ultimate perfectionists, radically aiming for perfection in life, by constantly trying to ensure perpetual happiness. Constantly trying to ensure the best of the best, as we define it, anyway, never accepting mediocrity in its place. This, too, makes us furrow our brow because it flies in the face of our otherwise free-spirited demeanor–but in a strange way that opposes our unrestrained, fancy-free ways by simultaneously defending them. We are perfectionists about being carefree.
We've got this overwhelming desire to make this one, precious life so absolutely perfect – so absolutely wonderful, so absolutely right – so that it truly represents and, more importantly, feels like the life that we would like to live, that it seems as if our endeavors in lifestyle design could be a heavy nod to just that: Large-scale perfectionism.
Is it perfectionism?
Is it the product of a time-based society, in which we are acutely, painfully aware of every passing minute?
Is it some character flaw of our own?
Or could it simply be a function of human nature?