If only I had _______ everything in my life would be perfect/better.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the majority of us have thought those words. Now, I’d like to believe that at some point I filled in that blank with something selfless, but more often than not, I’ve filled that blank in with 1) a million dollars, 2) a new computer or 3) one of any number of products from the Container Store.
Now, the million dollars makes some sense. You can pay your bills, give to charity and, if you play your cards right, you really shouldn’t have to worry about money again (unless you tried to buy a house in LA – then you probably still owe someone money and your first born). The ways your life could improve can easily be listed. I’m not saying you won’t cause yourself other problems with that money, but you could certainly take it for a test spin and see how things could change for the better.
Filling in the blank with “a new computer” recently became a necessity because my old computer is literally coming apart at the seams. The screen is almost in separate pieces. If I don’t move it, it will still work, but it’s not really something I can use as a laptop … or even touch too aggressively (no, seriously, I can’t even close the screen down over the keyboard). So, I took a deep breath and bought a new computer. As I was holding the box, I looked over at Andy and said, “this new computer will solve all my problems, right?” He thought I might be putting just a tad too much pressure on the machine. Still– it will solve all my problems, right?
If not the computer, then any one of a number of objects from the Container Store will certainly help. I can’t be the only one who has looked upon what is essentially a wallpapered, cardboard box and thought: “I will be so much more organized and efficient if I just have this new thing!” Admit it! You’ve gone in that store, caressed one of their organizing systems and suddenly envisioned your much more successful life.
Is it all retail therapy? Andy and I were talking about this today (as we drove by a mall), and we seemed to land on the idea that people believe that things might somehow bring validation to how we see ourselves (and bring the world up to speed with our version). For instance, if I have this Prada tote in red, will everyone around me suddenly see a different, more successful (more radiantly special) me? Well, don’t just sit there. Someone buy me this damn thing, and let’s find out! Time’s awasting, and I’m ready to schedule those Producer meetings next week!
We are consumers, and to a certain extent we do think of stuff as helping to make our lives seem better even when that stuff is hardly a necessity. But maybe it’s also the ability to acquire that makes us feel better (not just the having)? As in – not only can I still feed myself, but I can also spend $1,800+ on something not entirely life saving (but very, very attractive).
Are these things just brightly colored, and exquisitely hand-crafted, security blankets?
What say you, oh wise and wonderful readers? What is your “if only?”