Be Careful What You Wish For

Written by Margaret Sullivan

How many times as a child did I hear the expression “Be careful what you wish for... you just might get it?" I don’t know about you, but I've always wanted more. I must have driven my poor parents crazy. I just knew that there was a lot more to experience than my little town could offer. I couldn't wait to get out of there!

I am now 46 years old, and I've done many of the things that I dreamed of doing. I feel fortunate to be able to say that, and I owe many of these opportunities to the encouragement of family, friends, and mentors I've met along the way.

Still, this warning, “Be careful what you wish for” stands out. I guess it’s because many of my dreams did not quite come true in the way that I'd planned.

Here are a few examples of what I've asked for in life along with the sometimes-unexpected results:

1. I always dreamed of having a big family like the one I came from. 

I wanted noise and chaos and activity. I married a man who wanted none of that so we had one child, but we moved into a neighborhood where the kids wander in and out of each other’s houses without knocking. I have noise and chaos but not all the time, and as it turns out, I prefer that.

2. After having my son, I began to dream of having another child.

I desperately wanted him to have a sibling. My husband and I disagreed about the disadvantages of being an only child, and his point of view won out in the end. A few years, later, though, my sister was struggling with some personal issues, and her two young daughters came to live with us.

We all crammed into our two-bedroom house, and for three months my son got to see what it was like to have siblings. There were fights and tears and timeouts, but in the end, I think that it was a good experience for all of us.

3. I have had a dream house in mind for much of my adult life.

Its form changes but the feeling is always the same. There are large spaces for gathering and hanging out with family and friends. It feels open and light and welcoming. I have travelled a lot and I still have that urge, but I have always said that I wanted a home that I loved so much that I would never want to leave it.

A few years back, I found the place that I thought fit all of my criteria perfectly, and I fell madly in love with it. The problem was that my husband did not feel the same way. He liked where we were. No amount of begging could convince him to go for this dream of mine.

We lost the house, and I was crushed. I started asking myself what it was about my current situation that made me long for something more or something different. I tried to have that conversation with my husband, but he wasn’t interested. Now I live alone in the same house that he and I shared for ten years, and it feels like enough. Without moving, I have found that open, welcoming space that I longed for.

4. As a starry-eyed teenager, I dreamed of finding my one true love. 

I thought that it would make me whole and that I would never have another problem that we could not overcome together. I fell in love in high school and thought that was IT. Then, I met my best friend and sexy soul mate in college and knew that my search was over.Then, after college, I had my first grown-up, working girl relationship and was head-over-heels in love.

Ten years and many crushes later, I met my future husband, and after we separated ten years later, I met the love of my life (so far). Although I am currently single, I can honestly say that my dream of finding a soul mate came true. In fact, it came true more than once! I have always met the partner that I needed for the path that I was on at the time. To some people it might look as though I have been unlucky in love, but that could not be farther from the truth. I have loved deeply, and I have been loved.

So, should you be careful what you wish for? Should you weigh all of the possible outcomes of your heart’s desires? I don’t think so.

The heart knows what it wants and will continue tugging at you until you stop rationalizing and listen. You just cannot be too attached to HOW the heart’s desires come true. Sometimes your dreams turn out the way you imagined, and sometimes they surprise you and turn out far better.

Keep paying attention to what your heart wants, and keep asking the universe for it, and then just enjoy the ride.

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