He, she, or it (especially she) is Crazy.
Gauntlets helpfully brought this up again recently, but I think we can scarcely revisit the topic too often—if for no other reason, than because the creeping creatures of darkness skitter and scatter when we spotlight them.
There are so many things we could say about Crazy. Here’s one important corollary (or perhaps antecedent) to the universal conjugation of Crazy: The Grass Is Not Greener. Still. Really. I’ve had a few recent peeks into “normal” (i.e., two-income, Done after limited number of babies, outwardly sane-looking households) and I say again with confidence, The Grass Is Not Greener.
Why is this so hard to get? While I’m thinking wistfully about how clean her house must be, without barbaric mud-footed hordes tromping through all day on their various (but invariably messy) projects, she’s thinking wistfully about how clean my house must be, since I’m there all day to clean it (*cough*). Meanwhile, no one’s house is clean! For real! Unless they’re expecting company! And maybe not even then!
Or: I’m peeling potatoes or kneading dough and thinking that a break from the kitchen might be nice; she’s buying DiGiorno and wishing she had time to cook from scratch. I’m thinking how I might like my kids more if I saw them a bit less; she’s wishing that between her schedule and theirs, she got to see hers a bit more.
This is true: We all make meaningful choices. This too is true: We are none of us as free as we like to think—nor is the woman on the other side of the fence as free as we like to think she is (“freedom” to leave the house and commute to work does not of itself true freedom comprise, despite what we housebound fence-hangers may feel in our darker moments).
Comparison isn’t simply the death of contentment—it’s also a very slick step on the Crazy overlook. We spiral downward to Crazy when we play the comparison game, foolishly pretending that we’re making a valid assessment. Apples to apples, people—and as it turns out, life’s fruitbasket is so diverse that bucket balances and bar graphs are useless here.
Routes to Crazy abound (as even a brief review of posts on this blog will attest). So, I remind my foolish self, if you must go to Crazy from time to time, at least take an honest route, and get back as soon as you can. Don’t let bad math trick you into a needless dark detour—and if you catch yourself going down that road, pull a quick U-turn and burn some serious rubber out of there.