The Grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
The fact of the matter is, the grass is greener where you water it.
Perhaps you have heard this, too. The first time I heard this, it struck through me like lightning. Perhaps because I had grown up hearing that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, meaning things always look better in someone else’s life, that you don’t know all of their struggles, you can only see their facade, you don’t know what it took to get where they are at, or what their life is like inside their walls.
I knew this to be true, but to hear it stated in such a way that I could change it, and that it was up to me and only me, resonated new life and meaning into that old saying.
This spring we had new sidewalk poured in our backyard. We had waited to do this project for over 15 years, which seems inherently ridiculous.
But, the truth of the matter is, there were always other priorities higher up than a freshly poured concrete walkway. Soccer shoes and dance recitals, family vacations, the kids’ perfectly straight pearly white grins, our beach resort anniversary trips, a furnace unit, high school extracurricular activities and graduation parties, vehicle replacements. And I am not one bit sorry to have put all of those ahead of new concrete. But, it sure is nice to have that long standing item crossed off of the to-do list along with the new furnace and AC unit, and waterproofing the basement. Completely banal items that have been staring me in the face for well over a decade.
Do you know what else comes with freshly poured concrete?
Sowing new grass seed.
The dirt filled into the chasm left behind when the forms are pulled from the sides of the new pour quickly become a breeding ground for common backyard weeds. My husband plucked the weeds, tilled the soil and threw down the seed and within a week we had an impressive amount of sprouts. He watered religiously at first. And then only by sheer luck, having optimistically planted the seed in July (where it gets very hot in the Midwest) it rained for several days in a row. By the fifth day I was really blown away by how much progress had been made towards a lush green lawn.
Visions of a crisply mowed grass line filled my future…these edges were going to look amazing by this time next year…
And then we were busily distracted by life and it went forgotten for a couple of days.
By the second day of mild neglect, about 75% of the seed perished.
The grass is greener where you water it.
Not where you had good intentions to water it. Not where you thought about watering it, but then you got distracted by all.the.things. and ya know, life. Not where you had hoped to water it. But where you actually put it above all else and water it.
Even when it seems like it would be fine to skip it just this *once*.
Our finances, our lives, our potential future is a lot like that grass. And not the hardy grass that comes back from dormancy after a long, blustery winter, but the delicate fragile grass sprouts that are fledglingly dependent upon you, and you alone, to take the time to nourish it every step of the way, day in and day out.
Don’t worry – it won’t always be this hard. Once you have gotten a good financial system set up and under way, you will only need to divert snippets of attention to it on a weekly or biweekly basis. Your finances will be able to withstand longer periods of drought and disinterest.
But, in the beginning, if you want to establish a lush green landscape, you must provide a good long drink from the spicket and turn your attention to where it matters most.
For the fact of the matter is, the grass is greener where you water it.
ACTIONABLE STEP: Think about how you can water your own grass to make it greener. What is the ONE thing that you need to focus on daily that will improve your personal finances today and in the future? Make a commitment to work towards that goal daily until you have accomplished that goal or it becomes a habit. Is it organizing your paperwork or budgeting, setting up auto payments or automatic drafts to your saving accounts? Block off several sessions over the course of the next month to work towards greener grass in your own pastures.