Day 136 -Jeep Cherokees & Magical Thinking.
Once upon a time back in my drinking life, I wanted a Jeep Cherokee. I know weird thing to want...especially with the intensity that I wanted it. But I did. They were relatively new on the market and I wanted one badly. As usual, there were ulterior motives.
I wanted one because this woman I knew had one. She was older than me, already out in the workforce, pretty, thin, well off. In my opinion, she had it all. She had a nice house, nice furnishings and a nice car. She had it all. Good job, etc. See back then I really believed these things mattered. And they do, but not like I thought they did.
See I thought that if you had these things, that life was good. Life was pain free, life was all sunshine and roses. I really believed that...thus the magical thinking (this is called delusional thinking in the psychological world). I was sure that if I had those things, then my life would be grand also. And it all was going to start with a fucking Jeep Cherokee.
This woman I envied worked by where I worked, and I would see her leaving every day to go back to her perfect life, boyfriend, perfect house, in her perfect body. Back to a life that I wanted for my own.
My delusion, magical thinking’s real name, was that if I could get a Jeep Cherokee that I would begin to have this life. I just had to get this damn car. But I was also kind of messed up on the whole spiritual front. The only fundamental belief that I held was that the universe was dead set on me not getting what I wanted. So my life was this never ending story of me trying to stay one step in front of the universe which is impossible.
So I would pretend that I wanted something else, another car, any other car all in an effort to trick the universe in getting me what I really wanted. Guess what, I never got the Jeep Fucking Cherokee.
Now I was in college when all of this magical thinking was happening. I was 21, if that. I was not supposed to have a nice car, good job or a nice house. I was supposed to have a crappy car, crappy apartment and odd jobs. Which is not even what I had. I lived in a nice townhouse with my fiance, I had a decent car to drive (I think it was a Honda Accord). In short, I had a good life. I was in college getting my degree, had been accepted to law school (several law schools), lived in a nice place, was building a life with someone who loved me, had a nice car to drive and had several jobs that provided me the means to buy nice stuff for my budding home life. It was a good life. A Jeep Cherokee would have added little to no value. Seriously.
But that was what I fixated on. Getting this one thing that I was sure going to bring me happiness all the while I was skipping over the great life that I already had. I had a man that loved me and wanted to marry me. I was in college and killing it so much so that I was being accepted to law schools. I was pretty and also thin. But I didn’t see that. I, from that point in my life, could only see what I lacked and what I lacked was based upon my judgment of another person’s life. From the outside looking in.
Looking back now, I have to laugh at myself. What an idiot! I really had it all but, as usual, my inability to see that crushed any real appreciation I could have for the great life that I had. I always wanted more. Even when upon evaluation, I had plenty.
So what happened?
Well that is an interesting story...let’s start with the woman’s whose life I wanted...
Well she had nice things because she was already married and divorced. She was a little older than me (like 6 years) and she had already tried at love and failed. So she had the nice household furnishings because people gave them to her and she was out in the work force earning money to buy them. She was several years into her profession of being a nurse, so of course she had more financial security than I did and would for several years to come while I finished up schooling.
She had the nice house because she moved in with her boyfriend (one of my finance’s friends) and he made quite a bit of money. He paid for everything and she mooched off of him because she was suspended from her job because of a DUI. She was returning to work though, now that her court stuff was completed and she had been to rehab.
She was pretty, no doubt about that but the thinness came from a pretty bad eating disorder. She would only allow alcohol calories to count...so she didn’t eat which made her kind of a shit show. You can imagine.
And that my friends was the life that I wanted...desperately. I wanted her life. I would have changed places with her, had I been allowed. What a fool I was. Wait, it gets better...I mean worse.
Turns out she also had a pretty bad drug problem also which resulted in her stealing prescription pads from doctors she worked for which ultimately landed her in prison and losing her nursing license. In the end, she had nothing, no Jeep, no nice house, no job, no rich boyfriend. In the end, she had a 10 x 10 cell and an orange jumpsuit. Guess what she also lost, her looks. They had a picture of her in the paper and even though she was in her early 30s, she looked 55. It was a sad story. I hope she got help. I kind of doubt it...she had the triple whammy - eating disorder, alcoholism and drug addiction. Any one of those is hard to recover from, all three, highly unlikely.
But that was the life I was willing to trade mine for! What a fucking idiot. Both of us.
This is what my magical thinking brought me to...a place where I was willing to trade my life (my successful life) in for the shitshow that was her life. But I couldn’t see that then, I just saw how nice the outsides looked and was willing to make the trade. Thank you Universe for not giving me what I so desperately wanted!
My story ended up way better...
My parents bought me a Nissan Pathfinder for graduation which as it turns out, was a much nicer car than the Jeep Cherokee. I went on to law school and then moved to DC and started my own firm. I had a nice house with furnishings that I paid for. I didn’t marry the nice guy that wanted to marry me in the end either. He a casualty of my own alcoholism. I remained pretty and thin even though still to this day, I rarely think that either is true.
There are so many lessons that I learned from Molly...but they can all be summarized with the following: people work really hard to make their lives look grand from the outside, the surface. But no one can cover up the glaring deficiencies forever. What lies beneath will always surface if not addressed.
I was lucky in the end. I bottomed out without getting a DUI, going to rehab or going to prison or even jail. Why? Why was I lucky enough to be spared all of that when Molly was not?
Because I never got the fucking Jeep. I am kidding, well sort of.
All of the places in my life where I have been denied, are the places where I have found salvation. I didn't get a lot of things I wanted in life. So I had to develop patience. I had to fucking learn how to wait. I had to be willing to walk the road when the road seemed shitty. I had to do the inner work before the universe would allow my outer world to change.
And change it did. I am grateful for all the many things that I have in my life today. I appreciate all that I have worked for, been given and possess. However, I am even more grateful for all the things that I desperately wanted but was denied. Thank you Universe! Thank you for not letting me know best...ever. Thank you for having my back and sending me a Pathfinder instead of a Cherokee. Turns out that a pathfinder was exactly what I needed to find my way out of alcoholism and into recovery. And that made all the difference. Everything I have today, material and spiritual, began with me not getting that fucking car. That was the beginning for me in being able to see that not all that glitters is gold...sometimes what sparkles the brightest is the dumpster fire of your life.