Have you ever been traveling down a country road and have seen a cow on the wrong side of a perfectly sound fence? Kind of standing there going, WTF? I am that cow, now.
It is oft said that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. What we don’t have, we are curious about, what we aren’t, we wonder about being. Many of my single friends long to be on the “in a relationship” side of the fence, while many of my “in a relationship” friends ponder thoughts of the single life.
I’ve never been on this side of the fence for long, the single side. I’ve always, somehow, sort of sprinted through this pasture, in the past. Perhaps I was afraid of the bull, but, for whatever reason, I’ve never hung out long enough to appreciate it. Here I am. Though, admittedly, I haven’t been here for very long, and it wasn’t by choice, I was just walking along the fence, and suddenly, I got pushed through. I’ll admit, I’ve always kind of been curious about life on this side of the fence; I’ve always been a fan of “Sex and the City” and the antics of Samantha Jones and Carrie Bradshaw, imagined I could, perhaps, be more like them if the opportunity presented itself. That really isn’t my style, though, and certainly is not my goal or my intent. But it is without a doubt, for me, an opportunity to grow, to learn, to evolve. Here I am, and I’ll make the most of it. It’s like Ireland! I know there is lots of green grass there, and I’ve always wanted to go there, it isn’t at the top of my list of vacation destinations, but definitely on the list. I wouldn’t mind a visit, even an extended tour, a summer, perhaps. But, never, have I considered buying a house and living in Ireland, forever.
But here I am. A cow. On the other side of the fence, in a whole new pasture. In Ireland. Not literally, of course, in a proverbial sense. And now that the shock has worn off, I’m looking around and it isn’t all that bad. There is green grass and I am making the most of it. I’m meeting people and fostering new friendships out of which, well, who knows? I’m not frantically looking for a way back over the fence, I am taking in the sites, enjoying the scenery, and just living in the moment. After all, I’m not really in control; I may have some goals, I may even have some influence, but, ultimately, my trip through this pasture is a journey of faith, or fate, or, maybe, both.
Why are some people chronically, perpetually, single, when they really, really don’t want to be? And why are others of us always entwined, in some cases simply for the state of entanglement and not because of love? Do we find ourselves stuck on one side of the fence, or the other, because of habit? Or fear? Or because getting to the other side requires some effort and perseverance? And possible pain.
My mom was shocked to find out my relationship had ended. She is a worrier. She worried the whole time I was married. She worried when I separated from my husband and, so joyously, lived alone. She worried the whole while I was in my last relationship. Now, again, she is worried that I am not in a relationship. She said, the other day, with tears threatening, as I headed out to meet with one of my new friends on this side of the fence, “I don’t want you to get hurt.” My response was, “so I should stay home and do nothing and meet no one for fear of being hurt?” I’m so not that type of person. She followed up with, “I don’t want you to grow old alone.” Which, to me, contradicted the statement she made ten seconds earlier. I tried to explain it the way I see it, in order to find someone to grow old(er) with, I may have to get hurt. There are, as evidenced, no guarantees. I’m not going to sit in a recliner, in front of TV, clutching a remote, waiting for someone to knock on the door who will love me forever. Because, it doesn’t work that way. How could it?
But, on the other hand, what of those folks who work so very, very, very hard at finding someone. Dating sights, blind dates, speed dating, and set ups, and all without results. There are never guarantees that the investment we make, in the dating scene, will pay off. Is it possible to try too hard? Or is it more a matter, like a quest for happiness, that focusing so intently on the result, we miss much of the journey, and it is in the journey that we are most likely to find what we seek? I think so. Stroll through the pasture, enjoy the green grass. We, first, must journey, and second, must find joy in that journey.
I think there is also a component of, what a co-worker of mine would say is “a you problem”.
Are we looking to someone else to fill the voids in our lives? Or are we complete and happy with who we are and just want to share our joy with someone else? There, I believe, we are to find better success. We must first love ourselves in order to be lovable. Truth. No one can “make” us happy, no one can “make” us content, no one can “bring” us joy. These are things we are one hundred percent responsible to ourselves for, and to share those gifts, then, I think, becomes more probable. We must be accountable to ourselves for our own happiness, and success, first, before we can expect anyone to be attracted. We can’t date happiness, or date success, and expect to become it. Nor can we make someone who isn’t happy and successful, happy and successful. Happiness and success are individual, however you define it, and will always thrive in similar company.
Whichever side of the fence you are on, currently, the point is, to find peace with where you are, with what you have, and with who you are. If you find yourself on the other side of the proverbial fence, again, find peace with it, with what you have, and with who you are. It is with self-esteem and confidence, acceptance, awareness, gratitude and forgiveness, that we are more able to scale the heights of the fences we may wish to cross. To run headlong into the fence repeatedly, wondering why it won’t give, is not only fruitless, but damaging. In other words, the grass is as green as you make it, on both sides of the fence. That’s why when you see a cow on the wrong side of a perfectly sound fence, it will only look bewildered momentarily, before it sets to grazing contentedly.
I am that cow. Is this Ireland? It’s so green!