Not getting what I want is the best thing that ever happened to me

English: Birmingham, UK

English: Birmingham, UK (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Someone said something to me recently that made me think. They said that we are conditioned to only feel like we have succeeded or feel like we doing something right if it is hard. If it’s not way up there on the difficulty rating, or (let me dare to say it) if we enjoy something, then it’s lazy. Or too good to be true.

I recognise myself here. For example, I always thought if a job was difficult then it meant you were doing well. If it was easy and relaxed, then it was time for a change. You can look at one of two ways. Either, I constantly took the hard route. Or, I wanted the enjoyable path but somehow the universe conspired against me to make it little but more difficult.

You see, I never seemed to get what I wanted. Or, I always seemed to get what I didn’t want. Some of these things are minor, material and even silly; but for me they follow a pattern. That makes sense, life is all about patterns, which we can choose to change. But this is a subliminal pattern; I didn’t notice it until now. I did learn one valuable lesson much earlier though. Lesson one: never say never.

So if you never say never, can you even say what you want anymore? I don’t know the answer, but I do know that not getting what I want is the best thing that ever happened to me.

Here’s why.

1. Art college. I wanted to go to art college. My parents wouldn’t let me. Instead I went to sixth form and didn’t finish my A-levels because they weren’t what I wanted to do. I never did go to art college, but I still plan to. It got moved further down the list, but I’ve got so much more to express now.

2.Working in an office. Always my worst nightmare and a reminder of lesson one: never say never. Fifteen years later, it’s been hard work and not the most enjoyable of experiences; but it’s completely developed my logical side. I now have a great combination of creative and logical, which means I can write, paint and run a business. Why not?

3. Moving to Birmingham. There is one place I never wanted to live – Birmingham. I love Birmingham. I lived there for nearly seven years (twice) and think of it as my UK home. But I never ever wanted to live there. Birmingham surprised me, it’s a creative haven with the juxtaposition between new and old; industrial and commercial. It’s transformed into a beautiful metropolis; more people should go there!

4. Moving to Switzerland. I always wanted to move abroad at some stage, though thought I never would. But I had somewhere more tropical in mind. A bit more idealistic, like opening a beach cafe somewhere hot; not sitting in the December fog of Zürich in minus five degrees, typing my blog before breakfast. But I love Zürich, plus it’s not grey in the Summer, it’s positively Mediterranean. Moving to Zürich (after Nottingham, Birmingham, South UK) made me realise lesson number two: it doesn’t matter where you are, you’re the same person with the same challenges.

5. Learning German. I always wanted to be fluent in a latin language. I hated German at school, I dropped it after one year in favour of French. I couldn’t get over the words ‘dich’ and ‘dick’ (which to me sounded the same) and that the town hall is called a Rathaus. Now I love it. It’s a language that is a great foundation for any language learner, as the grammar is so complex. People say it’s similar to English; to me that’s what makes it hard to learn. Because it is and it so isn’t. Once I conquer German, the language world is my oyster!

6. Getting married. I didn’t want it, then I got it. I did want it, then I didn’t. Always opposites. But I’ve recognised that marriage is important, but it isn’t the ingredient that will make a relationship survive. It’s more a social recognition (important to some) and a very useful legal agreement that makes you feel committed – because the law says so. I still want it for both these reasons, as well as a big party of course. But not getting it has made me realise why I don’t need it to be happy; that comes from me. Big lesson number three.

7. A crazy family. I’m not joking. We have our history, some difficult, but a lot of it good. My sisters and I are all crazy in our own way, I wished for a ‘normal’ family many times. But by having an interesting demographic, not only does it give me great comedic material in general based on conversations between my sisters and I, it also gives me an understanding and appreciation of people. Their differences, their struggles, their hopes and their dreams. When you put five sisters together in such a close network, you live them together. When it’s constantly challenging, it’s tiring, but it teaches you so much about life, human nature and how much people need each other.

That’s the end of my list for now – the best surprises are yet to come. I still have things I would never want to do, so don’t be surprised to see me working as an accountant or learning to fly an aircraft.

Not getting what you want, or taking the hard route. Who knows which it really is, the mind is a strange place. Maybe I’m just open to possibilities or like to push my boundaries. What I do know is that not getting what you want makes you just keep searching , keep challenging and keep moving forward and that teaches you things. It makes you a little bit stronger, a little bit broader and a little more experienced.

Just make sure you know when to stop and enjoy it when you get to the easy parts. That’s my big lesson number four and I’m still learning.

You might like Switzerland is in Europe! or The Edge of Reason, followed by Part Deux. I’d love to hear your thoughts, leave me a comment or follow my blog by e-mail or through your reader. For RSS you can use this link

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s