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We Never Enjoy the Life We Have

The rise of social media has been (rightfully) blamed for many things, but one thing that cannot be pinned to it is our constantly looking elsewhere rather than being in the now. Humans have been doing this for eons. Only now all of this is public. And it has made us miserable.

After all, the phrase “The grass is always greener…” predates every website by decades. Like many things, the Internet didn’t invent this facet of human nature, but instead simply brought it into the light.

At one time or another, we’ve all had the feeling that we’re being left out, that we were forgotten or, worse, excluded. Now, those fears are often validated by a Facebook post or an Instagram photo. We see that and think, “I wish I were there. Why didn’t they invite me?” However, more often than not, if we were there, many of us would be thinking, “I wish I were chilling at home right now.”

We always want the opposite of whatever it is we have, if only because we’re not entirely sure what we want.

I’ve been experiencing this myself lately. I worked for a decade to secure my current job, but I’ve recently been missing my old gig, even though this job is better in almost every way and the only way I would go back is if it were the only way to prevent my daughter from starving. But I still think about it.

Similarly, I had been working, striving, and saving for years to finally move into this house, with its two-car garage, spacious deck, beautiful yard, and ample space, but lately I’ve been thinking about my old house in the city and sometimes wishing I were back there, even though I could barely stand the place in the last few months before I moved and I love my new spot.

We always romanticize the past, remembering only the good times. We do this with everything. We miss our old job even though we couldn’t wait to leave it. We pine for our exes, despite the fact that the relationship ended for a reason. We work for more, but when we get it, we always wish we were back where we started, when it was so much simpler.

Poor people dream of being wealthy. Rich people long for the early days before their money. Musicians want to be actors. Actors want to be athletes. Athletes want to be musicians.

No matter who we are, virtually all of us either want the life we had or the life we dream of, without ever appreciating the life we’re living.

Christopher Pierznik is the author of nine books, all of which are available in paperback and Kindle. In addition to his own site, his work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, and many more. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter.