So we're tossing around landscaping ideas for the front yard. There's nothin' but dirt and more dirt out there. The place looks awful. We're anxious to get started, but want to have a good plan in place before we break ground.
Thus, we do a lot of idea poaching from yards that we like. We take afternoon drives and talk about different rocks. We stroll around the neighborhood and discuss the trees. When I drive Lexi to school, I scan the neighborhoods for the creativity I cannot come up with on my own.
There are a few cute yards on the way to school. One, in particular, is quite admirable. The tree is perfectly pruned. The rocks are never kicked into the driveway. And the lawn! Oh my gosh. It's lush, green, and always perfectly manicured. I envy the owners who clearly have more time and will than I do. They keep their place immaculate.
Twice a week I drive by this house. Not a once has a blade of grass been out of place. Not a dandelion to be found. The edges are always within the bounds set by the sidewalk. The grass glistens in the morning light.
Wait...the grass glistens? As I scrutinized this yard day after day and week after week, I started to get the feeling something was different about the place. Finally, after letting it tumble around in my brain for a few days I realized the reason that yard was so distinct. IT IS FAKE! The lawn is not real lawn my friends. It is turf.
This whole time I was feeling bad about my yard, my house, my lawn that has crept outside of its bounds, my kitchen that has crumbs on the counters and my laundry that isn't always put away before the wrinkles set. And why? Because I was comparing myself to this person (that I didn't even know!) who had a perfect little yard and must be a great homemaker because they kept their yard in order. Little did I know that I was comparing myself to a standard that wasn't ever going to be attainable.
As I laughed at my foil, I realized how often I compare myself to other people. I try to meet the "ideal" on every level. The ideal student, leader, parent, wife, friend, homemaker, cook, creative genius, writer, horse trainer, etc. I research the ways to improve myself. I quiz other moms and friends for ideas. I try to stay current in the horse world so that even though I'm not riding, I can still hang with the best of them. I do that for all of the roles I play in this life. Of course, there is a lot of room for improvement on my end so it's exhausting. Trying to be perfect takes it out of a girl, I tell you.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who does this. Comparing myself to another mom doesn't seem so far fetched, right? She's got kids, a husband, a house and all the things I do. She manages it all and is always perfectly coiffed and happy and her kids are angels. There are those out there who appear to be doing it all. Why can't I do it, too?
This lawn thing makes it blatantly clear just how silly we are to try and be something that isn't real. It's like apples and oranges. My lawn will never be turf. I would be a fool to ever compare the two. Plus, I wouldn't want it to be. I like the living, breathing comfort of real lawn. I like how soft it is on my feet. I like than when I fall down, I don't get road rash.
It's so easy to carried away in the "I should be" mindset. I catch a glimpse of a person and think I know the whole story. I notice the exterior and think I've seen who a person really is. Before I know it, I've decided that this other person must be better at so many things than I am because of the nanosecond I've spent in their presence. So, not only have I seen some pretty nice ideas for my yard, I've learned something far more important for the welfare of my soul. When I start in on myself and the many shortcomings I have, am I really striving for a goal that I can reach? Am I assigning another's priorities to my own life? More importantly, before I start comparing myself to the thing I think I ought to be, am I sure that it's something I want to be?