Have you ever stopped to think about what exactly it is you’re chasing in life? What are your dreams that you are seeking in the end?
I think these days it’s very easy to become distracted by everything that’s going on, that we can sometimes end up chasing something that we might think we want in the moment, but in the end it’s not really what we intended to find.
Pondering over this last night, after a dinner with a dear friend where we talked about what we both want in life, a story popped up from a memory long ago from college when I was studying Chaucer in one of my Lit classes…
…Particularly, The Pardoner’s Tale.
Basically, there are three men who go out seeking to find and kill Death. They come across an old, sad man who tells them he wishes Death would finally come visit him; then goes on to tell them they can find him in a grove nearby under a tree.
What they find there instead is a large pile of gold. They plot to take it for themselves, but need to wait until nightfall. The youngest is sent to town to buy some food and wine. While he is gone the other two plot to kill him and split the money between them. He has a similar idea, and laces 2 of the 3 bottles of wine with poison.
When he returns, they jump out and kill him. In celebration they both happen to drink the poisoned bottles of wine, and soon join him in death.
Like, real uplifting story right??
The moral of this tale is that sometimes we can become distracted or even mesmerized by the “gold” that may be under a nearby tree, and we become willing to give up everything else for it. But this treasure in the long run might not be worth what we give up for it; and it might not even be treasure at all.
Don’t give up something you want, for something you want right now
Just like those men in the story, we can find some “gold” in our own lives and think that we need it, and need to do whatever we can to have it. In the end, it’s fool’s gold because we end up losing things that really matter to us to obtain it. So was it even worth it?
Fool’s gold is different for everyone; maybe it’s wanting to build a giant new home, lusting after an expensive sports car, or desiring to be in a relationship with a certain person.
I’m not saying any of these examples are necessarily bad, but if we are seeking them out for the wrong reasons, they will become our own pile of treasure under a tree that could potentially make us lose more than we bargained for to obtain it.
To me, the gold that I am seeking has drastically changed over the last few years. There was a mental check-list I had when it came to looking for a significant other, and I thought I had obtained it all with my former marriage.
Well, as I’ve gone over before, it was not what I hoped it would be. And that’s not blaming him entirely, it was also partially because I was so obsessed with this idea I had in my head of what I thought I wanted; because it was what socially around me everyone else had and told me I needed too. And I was willing to do anything to make it happen.
Seeking to take that gold from under the tree for myself, I nearly lost it all just like those men did in the story. And looking back now with clear hindsight, I see where I went wrong. And that’s why now almost 2 years out of it, I have made huge shifts in my life as to what I want to chase after.
The Real Gold
In life there is treasure everywhere, if we choose to really see it. Its just a matter of deciphering which piles of gold are worth our time, and worth our effort. Or, to be honest, which ones we need to just ignore and pass by.
I no longer want to be the idiot chasing fool’s gold that won’t make me any happier, and possibly make me lose more than I’ve already lost.
Last night after returning home, I got out my trusty journal and I wrote out a new list of goals I want to obtain in my life. Some are long term, and some are short.
It was fascinating to see how much my values and ideals have shifted even just in the past 2 years since my divorce. Honestly, I think losing everything and literally starting over on my own with nothing was one of the best things that could have happened to me. Sounds crazy to say, right? But it’s 100% true.
So for those of you even reading this, I challenge you to reevaluate what it is you’re seeking in your lives; what treasure is worth it for you to keep going after, and which ones will end up just being fool’s gold?
Don’t lose a true diamond by chasing glitter