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are you chasing the unicorn

I have a friend who works at a local defense contractor.  Theoretically, all the employees have every other Friday off.  Theoretically.  In reality, many of them find themselves working on their “off” Fridays.

He calls this “chasing the unicorn.”  Unicorns, you might remember, are legendary animals — resembling a horse with a horn on its head.  Everyone has heard about them but no one has ever seen one.

What unicorns are you chasing?

  • Are you chasing a life that is one hundred percent trouble free?
  • Are you chasing a career that is all about upward mobility?
  • Are you chasing a husband that will be “Mr. Right”?
  • Are you chasing the perfect child?
  • Are you chasing a life like one in the movies?
  • Are you chasing a God who responds to every prayer request like a cosmic ATM?

The idea of a unicorn is cute and compelling.  It’s also not true.

How much of our time do we spend chasing unicorns?  My guess?  Too much.  Our unicorns often manifest themselves in the form of misguided expectations or assumptions.  Perhaps the unicorn shows up dressed like an entitlement — it’s what we think we deserve.

I’ve never met an actual unicorn but if I had, I imagine I would have been disappointed.  Really?  It’s just a horse with a horn.  (This reminds me of the time when my wife and I, along with my parents, had our picture taken in Tijuana, Mexico, with a “real” zebra.  It was a donkey painted with stripes.  Still costed us five bucks!).

If you find yourself chasing a unicorn, ask yourself why.  What are you hoping to find?  And then stop.  Buy a picture, put it on the refrigerator, and stop.

Life is too short to chase what doesn’t exist.