What you want is not always what you need

My nephew Victor has been saving his pennies for a year. Well – ok, his parents’ pennies. And the rest of the family’s. Whenever there was a coin worth one, two, five or ten –occasionally fifty– cents, we put it in the piggy bank. A few days ago, we decided to open it. The surprising result: 24 euros. The exact quantity to buy the Play Mobil special set of pirate life, which Victor has talked about buying since he started to save money (his persistence is really amazing if you take into account that he is only five years of age).

We talked about this all the way to the store, all of us super excited about the whole thing. He was jumping all over the place. The box almost seemed to glow, we spotted it immediately. We got it, gave it to him, and… he didn’t want it anymore. He looked at the set, studied the contents through the photos of the shiny box and decided he found it boring. The very thing he had been wishing to have for as long as a year was no longer needed in his life.

We got way more frustrated than him, maybe because we have more notion about the passage of time than him. We saw him grabbing something silly and looked at the box again. My sister would not give up the fight so easily, so she pressed, threatened and quarreled with him, and after many tears, he accepted to take the set with him.

He even came home with a smile on his lips, but after two seconds of playing with it, he didn’t want it anymore. It made me think about adult life. How many times do people get strongly focused on an objective, then discover another thing that seems as good as it, but are indecisive because they fought so much for that first objective? Victor was sure he didn’t want the Play Mobil set anymore, but the adults were reluctant because – well, the deal was for the Play Mobil set, wasn’t it?

I felt strangely related to the situation. I have this big plan in my life and I have done everything that was in my reach to achieve it. But now I think: what if I get so focused on getting it that I loose sight of other amazing opportunities? Should I stop myself from looking in other directions because I have fought so long for this one? What if the other toy makes me happier? Should I ignore that because I “compromised” with that first idea?

I’m not saying that I will just let this big dream go. But I won’t stop myself from studying the opportunities that arise anymore. Because, well, I don’t want to come home with the toy I was supposed to have, but not the one I really wanted, just because everyone else thought that was what should happen.

Would the other toy have made him happier? We’ll never know. My sister surely wondered about it way more than Victor must have.

I don’t want to wonder when it’s my turn. I want to get to the store and pick my toy, whichever it is, with the conviction that I have looked the other options –maybe even tried a few of them – and will be happier with the one I chose.

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