You Will Never Get What You Want

Let me tell you the story of how I got exactly what I wanted.

I didn’t.


The Story of Equals

You come to a stop at a fork in the road. You were told about it. You knew it was coming. And you know which way you want to go. You know the path that leads to your dream.

Or so you believe.

Because they forgot to tell you one thing.

That thing you want — that out-of-sight, unimaginable dream — doesn’t exist. In its place is a pasture just as green as the one you left. You only realize that when you look back.

Will you hate your new pasture? Will you love it?

You take a seat in the grass and look around. It’s well-manicured, unlike the one you left. There’s one difference, at least. It has a few extra bushes. Some new flowers. Purple ones, this time. The ones you had before were blue. There’s also a weird-looking statue of a gnome. It’s strange, for sure, but nothing too distracting.

Still, you look back over the fence. And you see the blue flowers, the minimal bushes, the unkempt grass, and wonder why it somehow looks greener than ever before.

Perhaps you’ll stay, out of pride. Perhaps you’ll stay because a small step forward is better than nothing. Perhaps you like purple better than blue, and the gnome is an inconsequential inconvenience to that reality. Perhaps you’ve caught a peek of a new pasture, and now you have a new goal.

Or perhaps you’ll go back, mow your lawn, add in a few purple flowers you collected on your journey, and tell two stories: The One About Hope and The One About Home.


The Story of Tricks

You come to a stop at a fork in the road. You were told about it. You knew it was coming. And you know which way you want to go. You know the path that leads to your dream.

Or so you believe.

Because they forgot to tell you one thing.

That thing you want — that out-of-sight, unimaginable dream — doesn’t exist. In its place is a pasture much browner than you remember seeing from far away. You only realize that when you look back.

Were your rose-colored glasses playing tricks on you? Did they somehow tint the whole world in green and create the illusion of roses without thorns? You’ll never know, but you do know that this pasture here is not what you want. You’d do anything to go back.

The roses were true, at least. There they are, glowing red against a dreary backdrop of foreboding thorns and wiry hedges. Was it always this gloomy? What happened to the green grass, the perfectly round bushes, the Hellenistic statues, the fountain that spewed crystal water year-round? Where is the chariot? Where is your knight in shining armor? Your castle?

All you see is brown, rotting grass, trampled by some beast. What beast, you do not know. You do not want to know. You have to leave.

Perhaps, you’ll stay. Because you have no choice. Your fate is set, you have to move forward, hoping that beautiful place you imagined is somewhere beyond the thorns. Perhaps, this is just a roadblock on the way to better things. Perhaps, you’ll put on the rose-colored glasses again, and suddenly, it’ll be like this was all just a nightmare. And you’ll live in the gloom, deluding yourself into oblivion.

Or perhaps you’ll go back, carrying a single rose from your journey, and plant it along the fence as a reminder of your two stories: The One About Truth and The One About Deceit.


The Story of Almost

You come to a stop at a fork in the road. You were told about it. You knew it was coming. And you know which way you want to go. You know the path that leads to your dream.

Or so you believe.

Because they forgot to tell you one thing.

That thing you want — that out-of-sight, unimaginable dream — doesn’t exist. In its place is a beautiful pasture… but not quite the one you were looking for. You only realize that when you look back.

Is this what disappointment feels like? Granted, you recognize that you’re better off than before. You have a greener, nicer lawn now. The flowers are a wide array of colors, colors you love. The decorative rocks and bushes are perfectly placed and shaped to suit your liking. There’s a bench, engraved with your favorite quote, underneath the shade of large, fantastical willow tree. It’s wonderfully romantic, like you’ve always dreamed.

Yet you’re still craving more. After all, you almost made it to that image of perfection in your head. You almost got what you wanted. It’s that feeling of winning a silver medal instead of a gold; if you were just a little bit faster, worked a little bit harder, you’d have won it all. Why settle for less?

You see something close to perfection when you look around. But something still feels off. Why does it feel off? Are you ungrateful? Surely not. Surely something else is wrong. Surely it’s because there’s something better for you out there.

Most likely, you’ll stay and reach for the next pasture, one that surely has what you’re looking for, whatever that is. You’ll stay and feel a strange sense of unhappiness and unease, despite your greener pasture. You’ll stay and convince yourself that you’ve somehow failed. Somehow, failure will push you forward. Perhaps, you needed to fail. Perhaps, without failure driving you, you feel like you have nothing left to aim for.

Or perhaps, you’ll leave it all behind and go back home, grow your own willow tree, and reminisce on two stories: The One About What You Wanted and The One About What You Needed.


The Story of the Fork in the Road

The same Fork in the Road. It’s a tale as old as tales themselves. We are told of two paths: The Right One and The Wrong One. We are always told to follow The Right One. It is right, after all. No one wants to be wrong.

It’s an unfortunate reality, then, that the paths are and were never labeled.

When someone first came to this place, it didn’t exist. There was no path. This person blazed their own trail, tromping through the shrubs and spiderwebs, with no way of knowing when they would reach something worth stopping for. Those that followed saw the signs of a traveled road and followed suit. They told their stories. More and more people learned of a path that would lead to The Worthwhile.

Someone else, perhaps one with a daring and rebellious spirit, veered off and created a new path. They found something else. Those who came after with similar spirits saw the disturbance off the beaten path and followed it. A second path was formed. And another. And another. And even more. Less worn than the first, but still there.

And thus, the Fork you see today was created. One main path, The Right One, and the second path, a smattering of Wrong Ones. It’s a story that was turned into legend. You were told that you would meet it one day, and you would have to choose a path.

“Choose The Right One,” they warned. Your choice is gone. Suddenly, the Fork in the Road is no longer an adventure, but a temptation.

They will tell you two stories: The One About What’s Right and The One About What’s Wrong.

But if you’re smart, you’ll also listen to many other stories. The One About Hope and The One About Home. The One About Truth and The One About Deceit. The One About What You Wanted and The One About What You Needed. And more.

Then, perhaps, you’ll decide for yourself what you truly want and write your own stories. For everyone has at least two.

The One About The Journey and The One About You.

The End.