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The illusion of perfection

By RENEE MURRAY
Published Nov. 30, 2011

We dream only of the best; the grand house, the perfect family, the formidable business empire – the good life. Only then will we live happily ever after, is what we think. Right?

The beauty of life is that dreams do actually come true. So, sooner or later you get that job, or the promotion you’ve been eying, you earn enough to afford the car and the house that you lost sleep over, you even wake up next to THE woman of your (wet?) dreams. But if you are human, as soon as your dreams come true, they change. It’s always on to the next one.

Next you will want a bigger car, a better home with a bigger balcony, better view, and more rooms, the list is endless. You will even look at your woman and dare to think ‘What was I thinking?’ She is not classy enough, not pretty enough, not good for your image. You want a better-looking woman, a more fun-loving woman, one who is ‘with it’, and one who will fit perfectly into your now inflated ego. After all, with your dreams coming alive like that, women will be all over you like white on rice! What were you thinking indeed!

Satisfaction is a fad; soon you forget how badly you wanted something and new desires come forth awaiting to be fulfilled. We desire that which we don’t or can’t have. Desire is a bottomless pit that never gets filled; it always wants more. When you become a slave to it that is when problems begin. And you wonder why happiness is so elusive?

I have heard many a woman complain that their men became ‘monsters’ as soon as they hit the jackpot. When money starts flowing, problems flow into the relationship with it. Many women, who stood by their men when they were struggling to make ends meet regret that when those ends eventually met, their ‘sweetheart’ turned into a different person. When money was not a problem anymore, their women became the problem (it’s always something with the men, isn’t it?). Some lament that they wish they had remained poor because then, their relationship would be ‘perfect’.

I have seen so many couples go separate ways because we are a superficial generation. We want the ostentatious stuff; cars, bling, empires, and women. Women who buy everything from their nails, to their hair, nose, boobs name it. We are a sad lot really.

While I was away, I learnt some valuable lessons about life that I beg to share with you. Some of the lessons I have learnt have (unbelievably) come in form of stickers inside matatus. I saw a sticker that said, “Men are like gold, you lose one you stay without” Another brings the point home by claiming “Women are like matatus, miss one you get the next one.” I couldn’t help smiling when I saw these two stickers. Then I thought, how true! It is very true that men THINK that they are like gold. Women also think that they cannot leave a bad relationship because if they do, some other woman will get their man! I had a eureka moment when I realized that everything that is wrong with our relationships is this perception we have about ourselves; that women are no good without a man and men are spoilt for choice when it comes to women such that if they lose one, they can always get another and life will be good.

I have learnt that at some point, we are forced to look deep inside ourselves and decide what is worth having. That contentment is a choice to be happy with what you have because chances are even when you get what you think you want, you might still want more, thanks to that bottomless pit, desire. I have learnt that there is no ‘happily ever after’ because we are not guaranteed any tomorrows. We only have now; your happiness happens now, your sadness should be addressed now.

I have learnt that we have men all around us who have finished the race, and they have got everything they ever dreamed of. They are eating life with the proverbial big spoon but they crossed the finish line alone because they left important people behind. I learnt that if a man does not make a choice to be with one particular woman, a woman has no business being the ‘replaceable matatu’ because as soon he gets the chance, he will be on to his next thrill!

There are many men, I have learnt, who still don’t realize that by using the matatu analogy to describe women, they forgo the lollapalooza to settle on the mediocre. There are men who don’t know that they really are not worth gold, but only a shiny metal that seems priceless when seen through the eyes of their inflated egos. I found out that when the shine wears off, it leaves behind aged, lonely men struggling to hold on to the countable black hairs in their balding heads and wondering when the rain started beating them.

I have learnt that there are men who still don’t realize that all that shine and glitz makes their visibility impaired, unable to see the important stuff.

I now know that eating life with a big spoon can easily turn into gluttony if you are eating all alone.
I have learnt this and much more. See, my absence wasn’t for naught. I hope you’ve been well.


Reach Renee Murray at rmurray@eafricainfocus.com

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