Friday, 30 November 2012
The greener grass
I just don't idealise other people. Whatever their home life, their job, their hobbies, their physical appearance or their sex life, I don't kid myself they're perfect, that they live some charmed and magical existence I can only dream of.
I assume that whatever the outward impression, they're prone to just as many problems and disappointments and disasters as I am, and were I to step into their shoes for a day or two I'd soon discover how flawed their lives were.
But a surprisingly large number of people do seem to think that if only they had what somebody else has, their lives would be dramatically transformed. If only they had a huge house, a more glamorous job, a stunning figure, or a sexier partner, life would be a bed of roses and all their frustrations would fade away.
The fact is that people are very good at airbrushing their public persona, talking up their lives and carefully hiding the less attractive bits. Someone could be quarrelling viciously with their partner night after night but all that's shown to the public is a happily smiling couple, arm in arm and seemingly without a care in the world.
Of course I'm aware that I come from a somewhat privileged middle class background and so I don't have much cause to envy other people's lives to begin with. My life has mostly been pretty comfortable.
It's more understandable though that those who aren't so fortunate, those who have to struggle day in and day out for even the bare essentials of a decent life, may be bitterly envious of those who seem to live the life of Riley without lifting a finger.
To people that desperate, any apparently better-off household must seem like a deliberate taunt to their own hardship. To them the grass may be not just greener but irresistibly luscious.