The Cactus is Always Greener

Elizabeth and her sister Suzanne used to take some crazy cross-country road trips. They took one particular adventure specifically for the purpose of gathering photos from which Elizabeth could recreate the scenery in her favorite pen-and-ink format. They traveled to the East Coast and back, had some fun and took tons of pictures. On the final trek they took a detour in the desert to go to Las Vegas before heading home.

Not having captured much that she was really happy with up to that point, Elizabeth became wildly inspired by the cactus farm they had come upon driving along the backroad. The cacti had quickly become amazingly tall and forest-like as they loomed along the road, towering toward the sky as she leaned out from the window with the camera at the ready. But she wasn’t taking pictures because the cacti were still getting larger and larger as they drove. Suzanne offered to stop but Elizabeth wanted to get the biggest one she could find; she was going to hold out for The One. Even as the cactus farm started getting smaller in stature, and the quantity dwindling, Elizabeth was hankering for the one that would put all others to shame. It was not until they suddenly because sparse and much smaller did she give in and ask Suzanne to stop for picture taking. She was tired and frustrated that she didn’t get what she wanted and didn’t want to go back. So she took a picture of possibly the smallest in the series along that particular road. She put away her camera in disdain, and this picture, The Cactus, was one of the few drawings that came out of that trip.

Haven’t we all done this? Held out for the ideal, not realizing we already have it? You can probably tell where I’m going with this. Unfortunately, sometimes we abandon what we have for something that promises more, only to sabotage our own happiness. Look around you and what (and who) you have in your life right now. Remember what got you here and cherish the now.

I know people who have spent their lives struggling to figure out what they want, jumping from one thing to the next, never quite content with what they thought they were fighting for. Or perhaps it is because they haven’t defined for themselves what happiness looks like, missing it completely when it is in front of them. Then there are people who are so afraid to “settle” because they believe that there’s more out there. Maybe they’re right. Or maybe they will never find it.

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