I Shall Not Want What I Can Not Have

“Sometimes you don’t even know what you want until you find out you can’t have it.”

— Meghan O'Rourke, The Long Goodbye, A Memoir

There are times in life when we have to face up to some basic home truths. They may be tiny; they may be life changing. They may smack us in the face abruptly or creep up on us with the stealthiness of a thief in the night. It could be something as simple as 'don't have two short macchiatos at ten o'clock at night, because then you will end up writing your blog at one o'clock in the morning' - or as complicated as 'if you enter into X transaction with X person you will get burnt for X number of years'.

The point is, when they hit you, they hit you. And unless you take notice, you never learn your lesson. The reason for the saying 'it's all just a little bit of history repeating' is because we are stubborn creatures who refuse to listen to our own brains yelling 'you idiot, sharks patrol these waters... watch out or next thing you know, you'll be off the surfboard and a tasty treat!'

It's the same with the things in life we want and can't have - sometimes can't have immediately, sometimes can't have at all. I don't know about you, but when I want something, I want it. Any delay, and I want it even more. I know it's human nature, but it shocks me sometimes. There is no rational thought behind it; it is a primal urge that propels me towards whatever is in my line of sight like a missile zeroing in on its target.

And I don't necessarily mean material things (although admittedly when it comes to shoes, get in my way and it will be ugly as hell - for you I mean. Not for me, because I will be wearing beautiful new shoes). It could be something as simple as wanting personal space, or sleeps, or as complex as wanting an emotional investment returned.

What has this to do with gratitude? It's a bit roundabout, but I'm getting there.

I am grateful that gradually, I am learning something about wanting what I can't have. And whilst it hurts to admit it, like the whole home truths scenario, the fact of the matter is this.

Sometimes, even though we may desire them with every fibre in our being, things that we want, but can't immediately have - or can't have at all - aren't meant to happen for a reason. It's because they aren't good for us. A bit like eating chocolate cupcakes for breakfast five days in a row, trying to invite things into our lives which we desire to be there - but ultimately don't belong there - end up in only one way.

With a feeling of afterburn in the region of the heart.

And because chocolate cupcakes don't come cheap these days (and neither do new shoes) - an empty wallet.

So be grateful that you don't always get what you can't have.

It may save a serious case of indigestion, if nothing else.