“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
“You can look but you can’t touch.”
“We always want what we can’t have.”

I’m beginning to think you should start calling me Jack Handy because I seem to be overflowing with deep thoughts. I guess that’s what happens when I’m not writing. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about goals, desires, and what exactly I want out of my life, which means I’ve also spent a lot of time comparing myself with others.

Wistful wantings too quickly spiral into jealousy and envy, so I’m quick to remind myself that someday I too will see my dreams come true. And now I sound like I’m running for class president. Good grief. Despite my ramblings, I hope you understand what I’m getting at. It’s easy to compare our lives with those around us and play what-if.

If I had her family I’d never want for anything again.
If I had his publishing contract my life would be complete.
If I had him/her I’d finally be content.

But you can never know the full story of your neighbor/friend/coworker. What seems perfect may simply be a carefully maintained facade (and lord knows I’m good at those, proven by the number of people who were shocked when I announced my divorce), so wasting time wishing for a life other than your own is… well… a waste of time.

I don’t mean not to have dreams for yourself and admiration for others—I’d never get anywhere if I wasn’t envious of others from time to time—but don’t belittle your own life to the point that it no longer has value. And as for that thing you wish you could have but can’t? I’ll throw out another (paraphrased) quote that sort of fits:

If you love something, set it free. If it doesn’t return it was never truly yours.

Yesterday I took a picture of a tree near my apartment. The leaves are already turning and I mentioned that I craved this time of year while living in Mexico. Two years ago that dream tormented me, but I always knew it would someday come true. It was attainable.

It’s the unattainable things that require a modicum of caution.

About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.


  1. ab

    Very deep, Hoo. I remember a post a while back by someone. Stop waiting to be happy. I’ll be happy when….blah blah blah.
    Live in the now. Crap. Was that Wayne’s World? I think you have much deeper quotes than I. 😉

  2. Carole Oldroyd

    This gets me right here.
    Remember, whenever you read some friend’s social media update that paints a beautiful picture, a great deal of that paint may be covering the things they don’t want you to see.

  3. Pingback: Natasha Fondren » For Lack of a Word

  4. Penguin

    I agree. And I am so guilty of both cases also.

    But good news, Dec. 31 I will no longer be employed in Michigan.

    So the posting of your profound thoughts help others around you even the ones you don’t realize.

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