It's always easier to buy a new one than fix the old one.
It's less effort, and a shiny new one makes you feel good, temporarily, at least.
The thing is, fixing the old one brings a deeper contentment…
…the process of restoration, the proud feeling of having fixed something yourself, the money you save, the giving new life to something that would otherwise have been thrown on the scrapheap.
I use this analogy whenever I catch myself thinking that the grass is greener on the other side.
The Grass is Green on the Other Side
So many of us live life peering through the window at the lives of others, perceiving them to be happier.
When we are going through a rough time in a relationship, we look at the happy couple kissing on the park bench and wonder why we haven't got that same affection going on.
If we see someone with a brand new car, we wonder how much better it would feel to drive a more expensive car with greater prestige.
When we're having a bad day at work, we wonder if we should have taken an alternative career path.
In short, we spend our time wondering what life would be like “if”…instead of actually living our potential to its fullest.
But the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side, or at least it's pointless believing it is unless you do something about it.
Window shopping in other people's lives is promoted through celebrity culture and the dreams sold through fortune and fame.
We spend our lives watching the unobtainable through the flickering screen (the TV, and now the phone), wondering what life would be like if we had x, y, z.
Being on the outside looking in makes you believe that the happiness others have is exclusive to them, a pre-destined outcome. Despite desiring more, you don't truly believe it is obtainable for you anyway.
In other words, you have pre-conditioned yourself to be the fan, never the player.
People Are Suffering, Just Like You
Something is really wrong here, though. We confuse looks and material goods with happiness, thus the modern phrase; “living your best life”.
It's all centered around perception, ad largely through a digital medium.
The presumption that the people you see on TV, in adverts, and on social media are happier than you, or living a more fulfilling life, is misguided.
The majority of people are suffering from the same emotional afflictions: insecurity, lack of confidence, anxiety, fear, stress, and sometime depression.
It's all smoke and mirrors. Most people, regardless of status and wealth, will feel that the grass is greener on the other side.
You can be rich and bored, or accomplished and depressed.
We know this from the sheer number of celebrities who end up in a cycle of addiction, be that drink or drugs, and in depression ad sometimes suicide.
In the modern day, we have reality TV shows and social media that bring overnight fame and fortune to everyday people. Yet seldom do people cope well with the attention and the money, and usually end up on a rocky road.
So it's madness, isn't it? that we are desiring something that is far from a guarantee of feeling happier.
Don't get me wrong, not having to worry about money, or having a loving partner, can bring security and take many of life's strains away. But life's path seldom runs straight, and worries and problems are relative by nature.
The human brain is complex and afflicts us all in different ways at different times in our lives, and quite often when we should, seemingly, be our happiest.
The long and short of it is that glitz and glamour isn't going to bring you inner peace. It may in fact bring the opposite. More money, more problems, so the saying goes.
What Do You Really Want?
Be happy for others, sure. Admire the success of others you respect, sure. But stop living life through binoculars and instead turn the search inwards.
Stop focussing on what others are doing, and on what they have that you don't, and consider what you could do to improve your happiness right now.
Swapping your life for someone else's is impossible, no matter how much you think you'd like to. And you have no way of knowing how they truly feel, anyway. It could be a living nightmare inside their head!
Instead, figure out what you can do with the skills and resources you have available now.
Don't wish you had a better relationship like someone else. Instead, work on improving your own.
Don't dream of a better car based on images from Instagram. Instead, make a sacrifice in to save a bit more money to buy one that's most practical for you, or take action to find a better paid job.
Don't sit depressed at work every day, longing to get home and watch your favorite reality TV show. Instead, change your reality.
Your life can never be exactly the same as your favorite celebrity, or anyone else you'd like to trade places with.
The grass isn't greener on the other side, it's greener where you water it…
You have to make changes, and this starts by looking in the mirror, not by living through assumptions about other people's lives.
Temporary dopamine hits are easy to come by: Shopping therapy, a bottle of wine, a one night stand, a junk food binge. But as a wise man once told me, the answer is never at the bottom of a bottle.
Living your life thinking that you'd rather be in someone else's shoes is a waste of time. To paraphrase Socrates; it's an unexamined life.
Do you really want to lying on your death bed still thinking what it would be someone else. You will miss the opportunity to fully live your own experience.
The fact that you are alive (seemingly) in this universe is a miracle. Don't waste it on pipe dreams.
Start taking baby steps today to improve your life.
Turn off the TV, get off social media, and audit your life.
Start watering your own garden instead of watching some else's grass grow.