I hate to make this my first entry but something has got to change. My father told me earlier this week that I’ve always thought the grass was greener anywhere but here.
He mentioned it started ever since we lived in North Reading (i.e the first time we got up and moved when my parents got divorced at age 9).
Now, I’d hate to be the millennial cliché of a child scarred by divorce but that moment, though an initially jarring jumping off point for unfiltered teen angst and rebellion, became a cornerstone for many of the values I held dear going into young adulthood: independence, respect and adventure. Eventually, the moment that shook up my life and moved me cross-country felt comfortable and, perhaps as an act of rebellion, and perhaps as an act of fear, movement and tension became a desire and a requirement for my daily life.
At a young age, I hated change. I rarely tried new foods. I did not want to try new activities and I could become upset at any spontaneity. None of that is how I am now. I will always try the newest cuisine, no matter how strange, and I love seeking thrills and going to see far away places off the beaten path. However, now, and maybe in spite of it, I find anxiety when the dust finally settles.
I’ve lived five places in the past two years since graduating college and have had more jobs in that time than I’d care to count. Initially, I thought adaptability and spontaneity was an advantage; that being able, and interested, to go anywhere and learn and grow and take chances some would be afraid to consider is an excellent skill to have in this world. In theory, that is true. But I think I grew through ignorance. I grew thinking I knew what I was doing and I grossly belittled the importance of stability.
I may be the only one, but I find instability exciting and very… well, carpe diem. Unstable moments are freeing. They move swiftly and they can fly away. I believe a person’s true character comes out in these moments. If they take a chance, if they act humbly, if they cherish its entirety; these actionscan are everything. When I travel, I have these moments. I feel energized and motivated and passionate. My hyperactive mind is satisfied in these moments. Though, unfortunately, I feel I have lost those feelings in my daily life and, in that, is where the problem lies.
Maybe that’s why I like to move so much… though, at first, those lost values return it doesn’t do much to extinguish a creeping sadness, a depression that can overcome like a wildfire in a California drought. Hence, values of my lingering naïveté roam my consciousness like Gremlins ever unsatisfied and angry.
‘Blargh! Need more INDEPENDENCE’
‘Grr! Do I have RESPECT?!’
‘ACK! Let’s get away and have an ADVENTURE!’
To keep the hilariously broken Gremlins metaphor going, these driving forces of mine need control and balance because I can’t just throw metaphorical water on them and let them go on a rampage.
Somewhere among the unstable moments is where I blurred an important distinction. I’ve come to realize that I can live in New York City, Dallas, Madrid or even coastal Virginia but the core of my day won’t change. No matter what you pack, you’ve got to bring yourself with you.
And this… is what brings me back to grass. I don’t know how but I think I’ve always misread the ‘Grass Is Greener’ mantra. Just because the grass is greener on the other side doesn’t mean you should head over there. This realization is, most likely, a duh reaction to everyone reading but something about the way my dad phrased his statement clicked this time.
In life, people may travel in search of something but they may also travel to run away and, in some way or another and for the better part of my adult life, I have been running away: boarding school, living abroad, sticking with temp work instead of fighting for my dreams, etc.
The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.
I always thought it was patronizing when my mom would tell me this famous witticism. (side note: Many attribute it to Einstein but he probably never actually said it.) But, the reason I am writing this, and the reason I dreaded it being my first entry, is because the meaning of this quote finally sunk in.
I used to write a lot. It was, like the values I overemphasized (independence, respect, adventure), a marker I used to identify myself with. I have been putting writing off for these past few years despite it being the key way I express myself.
In my search for greener grass, I lost myself.
I lost my optimism; I silenced my curiosity; I feared challenge and perhaps, most disappointing, I dulled creativity. I am writing this because I want to make a change. I am writing this because I want to start a habit. I am writing this because, however cheesy, the grass is just fine right here.
Originally published on Medium.com