My poodle Gus often sits on the couch and stares out the front window, as if longing for the world outside, unfettered and free. The truth is, if Gus could have what he longed for - to explore the backyards across the street and beyond to the busy roads of the city, the river that runs through it, the parks and hills, warehouses and railways, businesses and abandoned buildings - he would enjoy it for a time, until he found himself alone in the rain at night with no warm bed, no bowl of food or water, no doggie treats or toys, none of the familiar comforts he now enjoys. His chance of being picked up by a stranger and abused would be great; his chance of being hit by a car even greater. He could experience starvation, frostbite, a vicious animal, barbed wire, drowning, a varmint trap, any number of dangers and potentially fatal situations that await him if he were to leave the safety of our home.
Like Gus we all look out the window and wonder what a different life would be like. Maybe we would find our dream. Or maybe we would give it up, not recognizing that the familiar comfort we already enjoy is exactly what we were looking for to start with.
I know too many people who are nursing another drink in another bar enduring yet another bad relationship, and all the while wishing they hadn't given up on that marriage so soon. I know too many people who are loved and successful and who seemingly have it all, yet who complain and nitpick and whine about every little thing until they are miserable and everyone around them is miserable.
America is a culture of window-starers. Oh, it may be in us to dream about possibilities, to wish for the stars, to explore our deepest longings once in awhile. But it is not in our best interest to leap out the window. More often than not, we suffer a very nasty fall and someone else moves in and takes over our blessings.