Be Careful, But Not Too Careful

“Be careful what you wish for, for you may just get it.”

How often do we hear that saying, and think nothing of what it means? Today, I think I realized how significant it is to want something and then actually get it. And it’s not always what you expect.

I remember reading in Eat, Pray, Love, that Richard from Texas had kept praying for an open heart, and, lo and behold, he had to undergo open heart surgery. It’s a funny story to tell, and definitely one that makes us think about what we want. I think this is an example of how humans foolishly believe that we really, truly know what we want, when we don’t. We’re just stumbling along whatever path we’re on, hoping for a change that will make us better, happier people. But the truth is that we have to stumble along in order to figure out for ourselves what we can do to be better and happier. Or just good and happy, which is perfectly fine.

This whole “figuring things out for ourselves” idea isn’t exactly helpful. You can say that it’s simply going about life. You can say that it’s learning how to play the game so that you come out a winner. Whatever the case, I think it’s important to acknowledge that you do not have the answers right now, and it may take a long time before you do. It’s important to know that what you want may not be the best option for you. Albus Dumbledore even said that “humans do have a knack for choosing precisely those things which are worst for them.”

So, what am I trying to say here: be careful? Well, yes and no. Be careful with what you think is best and worst for you. Be careful not to close yourself off to adventure and love. Be careful with how you treat others. Don’t linger too long on the big questions. Don’t dangle off the precipice of complacency; fall into the unknown. Don’t spend your time on people who prevent you from being yourself.

It takes a special form of balance in order to live a life that is thoughtful but not cautious, daring but not reckless. I think that kind of balance is what we should all wish for.

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