17: Wanting Versus Having

17: Wanting Versus Having

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find Your Happiness

Wanting Versus Having

If a man could have half his wishes, he would double his troubles.

~Benjamin Franklin

“Mom, I can’t wait to own a fast Porsche someday and peel out and lay rubber in front of my friends,” announced sixteen-year-old Steve, as he drove our old family car home after he passed his test for a Florida driver’s license. I studied my son’s excited face as he fantasized about his future transportation.

“I hope you get your dream car, but a Porsche is expensive,” I replied. “You’ll have to work hard to earn one.”

Over the next several years Steve excelled. After high school he received a full scholarship to the prestigious Coast Guard Academy and graduated as an Ensign. Later he earned an MBA and a master’s degree in engineering and got a job with a large corporation. The demands of working long hours competed with family obligations to his wife and young son.

One day he called and sounded happy.

“Hey, Mom. I’m inviting you and Dad to spend the weekend with us. Andrew is eager to play with his grandparents and Stephanie wants you to come for dinner on Friday.”

“We’ll be there.”

We arrived to a round of hugs, and then Steve asked me to stand in front of the garage. I noticed a mysterious look on his face.

“I want to show you something, Mom.”

He opened the garage door.

I shrieked and my mouth dropped open. I stared at the silver Porsche convertible, with the top down.

“Oh Steve! What a gorgeous car! It’s your dream come true!”

My son grinned. I noticed tears of happiness in his eyes.

“It’s a used 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, in mint condition, and one of the fastest cars on the road. I got a good deal, for less than half its original cost of a hundred grand. C’mon, let me take you for a ride and show you what this car can do. I’ll take Dad later.”

After I buckled up in the jazzy sports car, I studied my son’s excited face, as I had the day he got his driver’s license and fantasized about this car. Then he started the engine and we sped off. When my head was thrown against the headrest I clutched the door handle for support.

First, we roared from zero to sixty on an open stretch of road. Next, we raced up a steep bridge where I feared we’d go airborne, until Steve downshifted the engine. Finally, we executed a fast 180-degree turn in a deserted parking lot before we headed for home.

“Wow! That was a white knuckle ride!” I gasped, as I climbed out of the bucket seat.

“This car exceeded all my expectations,” Steve said with pride.

Months later, during another visit, I stood next to Steve in his garage and admired his immaculate sports car. I was unprepared for what came next.

“I’ve decided to sell the Porsche,” he said.

“Why?” I asked, in disbelief.

“I don’t have time to enjoy it, and it’s too small for our family.”

Then, after a thoughtful pause, Steve shared an important lesson.

“I have discovered wanting a Porsche… was more fun than having one.”

~Miriam Hill

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