There’s a quote by a Scientist named Alexander Graham Bell I’m reminded of when I think about the topic I’m about to babble on that says “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”.
In all of my experiences dealing with career, love and loss — this rings true. Perhaps that’s what optimism really is though?
Being able to acknowledge what’s right in front of me has never been easy. When I think about all the times I’ve connected with people (friends, lovers, family and strangers alike) on a deeper level, this seems to be a common struggle among all of us as humans. We enjoy the feeling that having many different options to choose from brings. It makes us feel worthy of not just one good life, but lots of good lives. I think that’s why higher education and traveling around the world without a plan is such a great idea in our early adulthood. Both endeavors open endless doors and create infinite possibilities.
Sooner or later the idea of narrowing our options and entertaining the idea of one path or perhaps a few different paths becomes significantly more appealing than keeping doors open that clearly don’t lead to any of places that we eventually want to “end up”. We sign leases and buy furniture and have monthly bills in with our name on them. We delete contact info. It feels like the beginning of the end to some people. Commitment-phoebes and wanderers have a hard time with this because of that “grass is always greener syndrome”, I think.
The truth though, that I’ve found, is that the grass is truly only greener where you water it. I know, we live in California (well, if you don’t, you should), and we are currently dealing with some truly significant/scary drought issues. My point, though, is that you have to water your damn lawn if you want it to be green. If we spend the majority of our time during the course of our lives jumping from one lawn to the next lawn, we cannot really take credit for how green ANY of the lawns we lay on are. Right? Lawns require maintenance and attention to stay beautiful and to be something you want to look at and live on. So perhaps we should think more about the strategic landscaping of our own lawn and less about our neighbors immaculately and impossibly taken care of lawn to feel more connected to it and the purpose of even having a lawn.
Wander for a while. Get lost in the vastly incomprehensible large world of different, colorful, magnificently green lawns. Then pick one and make it yours. Plant seeds and create a garden. Invite others to your lawn,… and ask them if they like it. Maybe someone will love it.
Maybe they’ll even stay a while.