Finding the good in the present Print
Youth Column
Written by Erick Rommel, Catholic News Service   
Thursday, Dec. 04, 2014 -- 12:00 AM

It doesn't matter whether you're in a classroom or boardroom, working for minimum wage or for a large salary: There's somewhere else you'd rather be.

Look around you. Out of all the countless places you could be, you are in particular place doing a particular thing. You are not skiing in the snow-capped mountains of Utah or communing with kangaroos in Australia.

To make matters worse, whatever it is that you wish you were doing, someone else has your dream job or the life you want. Why is it that we are never fully happy with what we have? Why do we always want more?

This isn't new. Every generation goes through this. They see that the grass is always greener on the other side.

The other side of what, you ask? I assume a fence. I think grandparents had those when they were kids. Today our barriers are digital. Material to spark our curiosity is at our fingertips, which makes the pain more tangible when we realize our interests far exceed what we're able to do.

How do we get from where we are to where we want to be? Some would say you should evaluate what you like (and don't like) and decide if change would make you happier.

Imagine being where you'd like to be. Imagining doesn't cost anything, and if you're realistic and take into consideration that every situation has limitations, you may discover that a move isn't always for the best. You may not like where you are, but where you'd like to go may not be that great either.

If you're in class and bored, is leaving an option? If you dropped out, could you still get the job you want without a diploma or a degree? If you don't have a degree, will you be able to make the amount of money you want in the future?

What if you're the boss? You may have enough money, but would it be as enjoyable as you imagine?

Some people find happiness by overcoming great challenges. Others take risk with no fear of consequence. Some are the opposite. They let opportunity pass by, finding contentment in a simpler, less lucrative life.

All paths are good. If you enjoy the journey and your path doesn't hurt others, all that matters is your contentment, not what others think.

In the end, self-evaluation reveals something shocking for most of us. We realize we may be exactly where we're meant to be. That place may not be perfect. We may wish we were somewhere else. But if we're honest, we realize the world we created for ourselves is the world in which we were meant to be. If we left, we'd miss that comfort.

Contentment doesn't mean we can't dream or strive for improvement. We should always try to become better. Sometimes the greatest happiness comes from making the space within our fence the best it can be and stop coveting the greenery on the other side.

Erick Rommel is head staff writer for The Catholic Spirit in the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J. His column is syndicated through Catholic News Service.


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