Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Grass Isn't Always Greener Even Though Facebook Might Tell You It Is

by Monica Bobbitt
All of the lawns on my street are immaculate. Perfectly coiffed and manicured works of art, most of them look like they have just jumped off of the pages of a home gardening magazine.

And then there’s my lawn. 

My lawn is not perfect. My grass is not green, at all. And yes, I do realize it’s only April, but still. My grass is hardly ever green, even in June. And you know what, I’m okay with that. 

I have a neighbour who spends hours and hours meticulously tending his lawn. From May to September it becomes his raison d’ĂȘtre; all else falls by the wayside in his pursuit of the perfect lawn. He spends so much time looking after his lawn he doesn’t have any time to enjoy it. And it drives his wife crazy. I know because I hear them arguing about it all the time. 

If I saw a picture of his lawn on Facebook, I might be envious. Because it is a very fine looking lawn, after all. Much finer than mine. I might even say something like,

“Oh man, look at that awesome lawn. I wish mine looked like that. My lawn is just so brown and boring.” 

And even though my lawn is actually very brown and boring and does not look like it could be in a home gardening magazine, I don't say that.

I don’t say that because I actually know how much blood, sweat and tears (and money) his lawn costs him every year. And you know what? Green grass is just not worth it to me. And also, once you have lived in Petawawa, ON, you learn to live with dry, brown lawn. 

The grass might seem like its greener, but it’s really not. No matter what Facebook says.
I was recently having a conversation with someone who follows me on Facebook when she pointed out to me how perfect my life is, and how easy I made it all seem.

Um, hello 47-year old widow, not really what you would call a perfect life, and incidentally, no one has a perfect life. And if they tell you they do, they are so full of it they could fertilize my dead lawn for a year.

And I’ve never once said it was easy. Far from it. In fact, I have been more than open about just how hard moving forward really is.

The truth is, if you were to judge my life by my personal Facebook you’d actually find it really boring, besides all the lovely coffee and gin memes my friends share with me. I did recently post an album of pictures from our March Break trip to the UK to appease my mother. No one, not even me, wants to be nagged by my mother, trust me on this. 

And if you follow my Facebook page you know I would be the last person to tell you I have a perfect life (I don’t). But I would also be the last person to tell you I have a terrible life (I don’t). 

Do I post every negative thing that happens to me? Of course not, because I actually try really hard not to focus on the negatives. Ruminating on them doesn’t make them less negative, it just makes me feel worse. And I don’t want to give negativity that much power.

But by the same token, I don't post every fantastic thing that happens to me either.

I actually strive to find a balance between the positives and negatives. Because life is often a balancing act between the good and the bad. Sometimes the scale goes more up than down, and other times its more down than up.
In fact, I try really hard to keep it real on A Goat Rodeo (well besides the goats, they still aren’t real). Like here: 

But keeping it real doesn’t mean sharing every personal detail of my life—there are limits. And to answer this question for the millionth time, no I’m not dating anyone but I’ll be sure to let you know when I do, providing he’s okay with that, of course. Honestly.

When did Facebook become the yardstick we use to measure other people’s happiness or unhappiness, or our own self-worth? 

Because whether we care to admit or not we have all been guilty of it at one point or another.

We look at our friends' posts and we assume we know exactly what’s going on in their life. Or we are envious of them and their “perfect” lives.

The truth is, a picture isn't always worth a thousand words. Most of the time we have absolutely no idea what's really going on in someone's life. 

Assuming you know what someone’s life is actually like based on a Facebook post is like assuming you know what a finished puzzle is going to look like by looking at just one piece.

Many people only share their best moments on Facebook (or any other social media); brief snapshots in time that only tell a small part of their story.

That happy couple that is out “celebrating them” at dinner? They are out celebrating a small victory in his battle with PTSD. 

That mom and her smiling daughter?  She spent hours this morning struggling to get her daughter out the door to school. And she’s exhausted, just like so many other Moms (and Dads) of kids with special needs.

That dude who seems to always be at one sporting event or the other? His wife left him six months ago.

And that beautiful blonde who just posted her tenth selfie this month? Well, she was just told a month ago she has breast cancer. And she’s posting those pictures so she won’t forget what she looked like with hair.

Sometimes people post the best of themselves because they need that memory to hold on to.

Sometimes it’s all they have.

And sometimes they aren’t able to say how bad things really are.

And that’s okay because you know what? They don’t actually have to. It’s not our business to know if they don’t want us too.

Social media can be a wonderful tool to keep us all connected but the next time you’re on Facebook, remember you are just seeing a small piece of somebody’s world. Don’t assume you know how great (or terrible) their life is based on their posts, and don’t judge your own self-worth or accomplishments on what you see in your Facebook newsfeed. I guarantee you that despite the smiles, many of them are dealing with issues you have absolutely no idea about.

Oh and the next time I post a picture on Facebook do feel free to assume my life was a bit of a goat rodeo right before it was taken. Because it actually usually is.

"The grass is always greener on the other side… until you get to the other side.”~Unknown

See you on Facebook,

Click here to read what Monica does, besides drinking coffee.

To learn more about grief, resiliency, and life after loss follow Monica Bobbitt on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/agoatrodeo/

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