A few weeks ago, I introduced a good friend of mine (let’s call her Jacinta) to another good friend (let’s call her Linda).
At this catch-up, Jacinta learnt a few things about Linda’s life (as did Linda about Jacinta’s). Things such as how Linda lives in the city for 3 days of the week, then escapes to her country home 2 hours’ drive away for the remainder – where Linda gardens, paints and writes, with her partner, dog and cat to keep her company.
It sounded all so romantic.
So, later, when Linda had left for her country abode, Jacinta said to me, “Wow, I’d love to do something like that. To have a house in the country with a backyard for a garden and chooks.”
“Yeah, I suppose it sounds lovely and a lifestyle to aspire to”, I said. “But I just know myself. I’d get bored. I need the hustle and bustle of city life nearby, with plenty of facilities, and to be near my family and friends [and great coffee!]. Plus, even though I love the idea of having my own chickens, their pooping everywhere would just s#*t me.”
Jacinta nodded her head. “I understand what you mean. I think I’d get bored, too. And I’m not a keen gardener either. May be I’m just in love with the idea of this kind of lifestyle, but, if I were to be honest, it’s not really me.”
This is an example of what I call ‘romanticising’. Many of us do it throughout our lives, to varying degrees. I feel it’s become rampant in the age of social media, where everyone’s ‘best’ lives are on show. And so we live in a fear-of-missing-out culture, with a comparison mentality.
My particular romanticising vice is comparing my marriage to the relationships of others – their partner is very romantic, they organise weekends away, hold surprise birthday parties, talk for hours, have many common interests … etc.
When I catch myself in the act of romanticising, I ask myself – is this what I really want in my relationship, too, or would it annoy me? And if it’s what I ‘think’ I really want, then which dark corner if my soul is the light shining upon?
That is, what is it that I’m really feeling, it’s root cause, and what’s the true answer. Because wanting my relationship to mimic someone else’s certainly isn’t it – since romanticising about one aspect of a person’s life never gives the whole picture, the reality.
The thing is, the more you romanticise about wanting your life to be more like others, the more you miss out on living yours. Which can turn you into a miserable sod.
So, whenever you feel the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, stop romanticising and water your own grass. But make sure to do it your own way.