I had a guy friend in high school that was always down for adventure. He had a personality that was uniquely his, and I was drawn to it in many ways, for a really long time.
Because of this, I did a lot of things with him I’d probably never do otherwise – like jumping into the marina sans pants, driving into the night without a plan, or simply hanging out finding ways to forget about the drama of being a high school student in a small town.
When we graduated, we went our separate ways for college – he went west and I went south, and I’ve only seen him one time since. We kept in touch for the first few years of school, but I noticed that talking to him held this weird sense of unbalance.
It was around the same time Facebook was born, hitting school by school, and his life seemed way more glamorous than mine. He was always up to something extreme, whether good or bad, and he’d surrounded himself with money – and students who had it. They had souped up apartments and frequented exclusive ski resorts.
Me? I was just trying to get to class, not fail, and scrape together enough money to get to the bar on a Friday night. I was busy working at the student newspaper, and I usually felt pretty good about my life until I got a call from him.
Sometimes, I wondered how much of his life was actually happening, or why I even cared. There were halves of years that passed without us talking, and when we would, it would be the same old shit. After college, when we’d both been working for years, he called me and after swapping stories – his being lots of travel and nights out, and mine being working like hell and ordering takeout – he said, “I figured your life would be a lot different.”
I can’t recall specifically what he said, but he was implying that my life was lame, and unexpectedly so. Whatever. We were nearly 30 at the time, and I’d surpassed the habit of getting so wasted that I drunk-dialed or texted anyone that I’d regret. That was his regular thing, and it was getting old.
Recently, we got back in touch as we found ourselves working in the same field. I’ll admit, it was fun to shoot the industry shit with someone who understood agency life, and the ways of digital marketing. I had a huge laugh over his analogy of dating to lead generation vs. inbound marketing.
But the more we talked, the more he revealed that things in his life were spiraling out of control in a huge way. His life – whether it was real or all talk – was completely gone. And while a big part of me felt bad for him, I also felt like he’d brought a lot of his problems on himself.
He’d gotten arrested, as a result of trespassing and violating a restraining order. And that was just the tip of the iceberg.
I talked about this with him a few times, but there were so many excuses, it was getting exhausting. He started sending me emails, and after opening one, I discovered he’d implemented a tracking program to record each time the email was opened and if it was forwarded to anyone. He sent me screenshots of his recording.
So, I stopped opening his emails, and stopped talking to him.
As terrible as this may sound, I, all of the sudden, didn’t feel so bad about my life.
Sure, I only have a few friends, but they’re people I trust and have known for most of my life. No, I don’t have boatloads of money or a boat or access to a private jet, but I have a cute apartment and money to pay my bills and buy dance classes, and most of the time, that’s all I need. And no, I’m not in a relationship, but that also means there’s no drama outside of the drama I create for myself.
It’s taken me years to get here, but yeah, I’m liking this little life I’ve created for myself. I work hard, and often, but I also have fun by improving myself and learning and growing. I get pleasure from maintaining my house; cooking and finding the perfect fall arrangement for my countertop, even if no one sees it aside from me.
And so, Chris Brown was right – the grass ain’t greener on the other side.