In life there are things that I call beautiful illusions. They are those things that we really, really want, or think we want, because they look or seem so perfect. But when we get a closer look, we realize things are not always what they seem. It could also be called the quick-sand effect, depending on how far you step down into it. What kinds of things qualify as beautiful illusions? So glad you asked.
Those Shoes: Oh yes, I see them in the store, those beautiful 5” stilettos and I must have them. I try them on, they fit. I walk around a bit in them in the store. Yep, perfect. Then I get them home one wear them the next day to work. And my feet are in Hell. But they look oh so good. That is why I may be barefoot at my desk. Beautiful Illusion.
That Man/Woman: You know the one – he is tall, dark, handsome, successful, smart, blah, blah, all-the-things-that-make-you-melt, blah. And then you go out with him. And Wow. And then you get to know him better. And wow he is a mess 6 ways to Sunday. He is the man who looks good “on paper”, but is a mess in real life. But you have to get to know him a bit first – past the paper façade and into the every day nitty-gritty part of life. Beautiful illusion.
That Job: Wow, it is right up your alley, is in line with your career goals, great pay, benefits, co workers, location, etc. And then you get in and start working it. And at first it is all that you though it would be…and then you slowly start to see that you are in the bottomless pit of the Twilght Zone and things are not what you thought they would be. Schedules, pay, benefits and expectations are shifting. Maybe more overtime, maybe bad projects, maybe your co-worker that sits closest to you needs a shower…whatever it is you see that it was a, you guessed it – beautiful illusion.
That relationship: You have liked them for a long time and knew that if you could just get together, you would be perfect and live happily ever after. Then stars line up, and fate smiles down on both of you as Cupid’s arrow strikes. And then…things are awkward. schedules are mis-matched, they have bad habits, ideologies that you assumed were them same are not… and what is going on with the their bad table manners that you never seemed to notice before but now you can’t stand? Did they always smack that loud when chewing?? Nope they are not horrible, but not the person you thought they were and that Happily-Ever-After escaped on Prince Charming’s white horse named…Beautiful Illusion. Which sometimes leads to…
That Ex: you know the one…it’s the one who got away. The one if you could only have another chance with, both of you could make it work. And then you get that magic chance, and you know, just like getting the magic shot in the last few seconds of the game – you’ve got this one covered. It will be the story book endings to end all story book endings. You shoot, the ball goes in a straight line for the basket, it hits the rim and…then…all of those same issues that broke you up are still there, staring the two of you in the face. And they brought their friends. Holy crap, you don’t remember any of this in the Let’s-get-back-together-contract. The basket bounces off the rim and into the hands of the other team. Beautiful illusion.
That recipe: Oh you saw it in that cook book or magazine, and it looked so yummy! You could not wait to try it out. So you even create an occasion for it, tell others that you care going to cook this great new recipe you found. You go down the list, buy all the ingredients, get all the measuring g cups out, and you are ready. You mix it, mash, bake it, cook it…and…it is awful! WTH? You look at the recipe and go over the ingredients again. Making a mental checklist of everything you included. No, you did not leave anything out, all the measurements were correct, cooking time right as was the temperature. So why does it taste like dirty gym socks soaked in vinegar? Beautiful illusion.
It happens to all of us, even the best of us. No matter how smart we are or how smart with think we are…we cannot escape them. They are lessons learned and funny stories to be told with friends over dinner and drinks. They are the hiccups in life that keep it from being too boring and predictable. After all, if everything worked out the way we thought it would…where would the excitement be? And think of the stories and people we would miss. As long as we learn from the experiences we have, then nothing is truly ever lost.