Saturday, June 29, 2013

grass isn't greener

Once upon a time there was a girl of twenty-two, and she knew exactly what she wanted in the world. Once upon a time there was a girl of sixteen, and she knew exactly what she wanted in the world. Once upon a time there was a girl of eight, and she knew exactly what she wanted in the world. Once upon a time there was a girl of four, and she knew exactly what she wanted in the world.

Once upon a time there was a girl of twenty-four, and she knew nothing of what she wanted in the world.

It's not so different. Nothing seems awfully close to exactly, anyway.

This train of thought reminds me of something, something Gene Wilder said once, "But Charlie, don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted." What? "He lived happily ever after."

Willy Wonka, I do not think you are wrong, actually. Your statement, in theory, may be quite right. What we want might be the thing that is wrong. What we want might be twisted, and broken, and like putting the triangle block in the square hole, it just doesn't fit - and it shouldn't (slamming it in with your palm does not count, but I have done it, and it never turns out well). That's not the way it works.

If everything I ever wanted was a chocolate factory, and all I wanted was that, ever, period. Then bravo, yes, Charlie, my boy, I do agree that you will be the happiest man alive. You are a good boy, of good character, and you got what you wanted because you were so. Now, if that was how life worked, then wouldn't we all be dandy. Square in square-shaped hole. Except, wait...

Charlie was good because he had a good family, despite their poverty, their was genuine love among them (how else would you explain that endearing sleeping situation). Sacrifice. Patience. Empathy. Strong family ties. Blueberry girl? Cowboy Kid? We don't have to look twice to see that the kids are a product of where they came from and how they were raised. And, yet, goodness and badness were in each of them. As we all have inside of ourselves. And what we want, and what we get, aren't so simple. Not at all.

Perhaps one of the most painful ways to live is wanting what you cannot have, and never being happy with what you do. It is also equally painful to have what you want, and for it to be taken out of your grasp without reason or explanation. It is also equally painful to never get what so many others have, and have no understanding of why. Life sucks. I know. 

All the pinterest inspirational quotes in the world won't fix our wanting. But I get it. And I think they may help.

I know the grass looks greener, well-manicured, freshly sprinkled, practically glowing in its green hue from your side of the hill, seriously though, have you EVER found that to be true? I have not. Never, not once, have I gotten to the other side and thought "Ah, this is it. I have found it. I will never think any grass greener than this plot I stand upon today." Everything has two sides to it. Or eighteen, but, whatever.

This is not to say that we can't stand on our plot and declare it the greenest grass. Sure, we can. We should. Because that means we're OK with where we are at. And that is what matters. If we believe we are living our fairy-tale, then we are living it. 

... Did that sound like the perfect, cheesy ending to a high school graduation ceremony to anyone else? There is too much truth in that one-liner to take it out. I apologize. Go ahead and use it next time you're pep talking fifteen year-old's.

Some of us think our lives are better than most, and some of us think ours much, much worse. Honestly, I think we're all about the same. 

I'm not saying don't dream. I'm not. I'm not saying don't desire, fight, live your whole life given over to passion and purpose - it is the only way to live. Just want your purpose, just want yours. Not everyone else's, too. Don't let all you see be the the greener grass on the other side. I guess, the thing about life, is that both pain and joy meet us around every corner.  I have heard it said that we wouldn't know joy without sadness. At least for now, this is true. Someday, I believe, the sadness will leave us forever.

Charlie, did you grow up and have everything you ever wanted? I like to think you did. Me? I don't want a chocolate factory. It's all yours, buddy. I'll visit sometime.


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