You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Love Your Life Now! How inspiring. How renewing. You can do this! Yes, you can!

But maybe not today.

 “You can’t always get what you want, but when you try sometimes, you get what you need.”

Thank you, Mr. Jagger.

There are days when I’m fed up with getting what I need instead of getting what I want. Today was one of those days.  Enough already with the life lessons.

I’d like my life to go my way. Frankly, I don’t feel very much in love with life today. I feel overwhelmed, overworked, out of balance, and I miss my kids. I’ve got a body that’s aging at every angle: My joints ache. My tooth crowns need replacement. My retinas are detaching from the back of my eyes. My lips are starting to pucker – and it’s not a precursor to a kiss. It’s not going the way I wanted. Darn it.

You know that feeling?

Then on my way to my office here in San Francisco, I walked past the Philippine Consulate General.  At 9 a.m., the line was out the door and around the corner.

Of course, I thought. Typhoon Haiyan.

I saw crying mothers holding babies and men pleading with dignitaries. The air was thick with fear, panic and nervousness.

A wake up call? At first, not as much as it should have been. Yes, my heart broke for their worry and loss. And I did donate to the Red Cross as soon as I got to the office. But did my own selfish melancholy persist? Yes, quite honestly, it did.

Then I remembered what my mother told me: Just because your headache isn’t as bad as your friend’s headache doesn’t mean your pain is negligible. But it does mean that you should get your life in perspective and move on.

This is what I told myself:  Get over it (one of my favorite phrases!). You are not a victim. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Why impose melancholy on yourself when there’s plenty of sadness to go around in the world?

Kat, I said, put on your big girl panties and deal with it.

I had to grow up and realize that while I can’t always get what I want, sometimes, when I pay attention, I get exactly what I need. And walking past the consulate general was exactly what I needed.

When I shut the door on negativity and open the door to hope and resilience, I see that my life is not so bad. In fact, it’s pretty darn nice … and blessed, as well, for crying out loud!

Perhaps that’s why that Rolling Stones song is still so popular. You just can’t always get what you want. But sometimes — pay attention here — you really do get what you need.

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