I don’t know how many times I have done this – I am sure we all have – bought something we thought we wanted, got it home (or had it delivered) and then the next day wondered – why the hell did I buy that? Sometimes it was on sale – sometimes an impulse – sometimes it just isn’t what you thought it would be – the color is off, it doesn’t fit quite right, it is too big for that space or too small, it just doesn’t look as amazing where you thought you would put it, or it wasn’t going to work for that act that you thought it would be perfect for… (I had to throw performing somewhere in there, didn’t I?) Or maybe today it just doesn’t feel as right as it did yesterday… Things Change…. (or actually, thoughts and perceptions change, but you get my point, I think.)
Well, there are ways around that…. I try – and usually succeed – on not making impulse purchases. Sometimes something is on a really great sale and I have to get it or risk “losing out.” But I have calmed myself down to where if it is something on line, or that I am ordering it through a catalog, I take at least (sometimes more) a day to think about it. If I forgot about it – well, then, obviously it wasn’t very important to me – and if I am still obsessing about it and can’t get it out of my head – well, then it is probably something that I really really want. It doesn’t mean that it will still be right when it arrives, but at least I have tried to get myself through that initial impulse phase.
Well, sometimes there are other aspects of our lives that are like shopping. We thought we really wanted that trip to Death Valley (this is hypothetical – just go with me…), but when we got there, it was way too hot (who knew?), the hotel was crap, the cool things to visit were not as cool as you expected, and the whole trip was not worth the hype you had read on the internet or developed in your own brain. If you are a pessimist, you dwell on the bad, an optimist (never been that, so this is not from personal experience) just dwells on the good (If you are an optimist does this mean that you never really have buyers remorse? Can anyone be optimistic 100% of the time?) Me, I am a realist. What the hell is that? I recognize the good, the bad, I clap at the good, bitch about the bad, try to learn something from it, and move on. Or – at least that is how it works on a good day. There are those days I try to hide in the closet away from reality and those days when I am ready to give reality a punch in the nose, but, what can you do… ?
So, yes, I bitch. I bitch a little, I moan a little. And when I am done, I can go back to dealing with the issue at hand. Like this morning. I was bitching to my husband about a recent rehearsal. He is like – just have fun – enjoy the show! I wanted to bite his fucking head off. But I didn’t because I love him… Yes, I wanted to say – I will have fun – but I have to fucking whine about it first because 1) I need to get it out so it doesn’t eat me alive from the inside out, 2) It is helpful to me to talk about so I have some validation of my perspective and make sure that I am not going absolutely insane, and 3) Don’t try to be the optimist with me…
The thing I hate most when I am in a situation I am not entirely happy about is when people say to me – Well, you got what you wanted – didn’t you? This is like being on the witness stand on cross examination – they want you to give a “yes” or “no” answer but it is never that simple. The true answer – is a maybe; yes, but not really; yes and no; kind of but not really….
You got what you wanted? Here are some possible answers of SO MANY MORE…
• Well, I thought I was getting what I wanted, but I was wrong and I am not really happy with this after all.
• I thought I was getting what I wanted, but this does not meet my want expectations and does not meet the minimum standards of my “want.”
• Well, I thought I was getting what I wanted but what I wanted was not actually this clusterfuck of a mess.
• You are right – I wanted ‘X’. What I did not want was the ‘Y’, ‘Z’, ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’ that came with it.
• This is not the Disney-esque fairy tale dream status I pictured – it is more like a bad ending from the original fairy tale versions. And I am more than ready for the woodsman to cut me out of the belly of the wolf now.
• I thought I was getting what I wanted but I failed to read the fine print and now I am stuck with this thing that isn’t what I perceived I was getting and doesn’t really meet the conditions of my “want.”
• And then of course there is the favorite standard answer of “fuck you.” Or the slight alternative of “shut the fuck up you arrogant prick.”
So, did I get what I wanted? Yes – I really wanted this thing that I got. I would have been upset if I didn’t get it. It is like my wedding – I really really wanted a fancy big wedding. I got it. I don’t remember most of the reception, it was a whirlwind – I had no time to eat anything except a bite of cake and a mint, and I was starving at midnight after it was all over. Many years later I think – why did I do that – there are so many other things that we could have done that would have been better. But I was 22. I wanted a big wedding and would have been sorely disappointed if I didn’t have a big wedding. Did I get what I wanted – yes! Was it what I expected – a little yes and a little no? Would I make the same decision again? At 22 I probably would make the same decision. Now? No…
So, I don’t always get what I want. Sometimes I do and it is good. (Not perfect – but good. I am a realist remember.) Other times, I doubt my decision, but it doesn’t mean that it was the wrong decision. Expectations don’t always gel with the facts that become reality. Did I get what I wanted? Hell yes. Did I get a lot of shit with it that I wasn’t prepared to handle? Double hell yes! Did I know I was going to get some shit with it? Yes, but this was way more shit than I anticipated and was prepared to manage. But we move on, we learn (or we don’t), and we have new information for the next time we are faced with that or a similar decision.
So, I leave you with these thoughts: Did YOU get what you wanted? And if not, how will that impact the future you and the decisions you make next?