If Only

by Holly on July 8, 2010

in dinner,happiness,lunch

There is this game I often play with myself. Just myself. Much to Mama Everythingtarian’s chagrin, I’m kind of an expert. I mean, sometimes I don’t even realize I’m playing it – that’s how crazy awesome I am at it.

Do you want to play it with me?


It’s called the “If Only Game.”

Alright, I’ll go first…I am the reigning champion and all.

If only I could lose those last five pounds, then I would be happy.

Do you get it? Perhaps another example would do…

If only I had a boyfriend, then I wouldn’t feel so lonely or unlovable and everything would be so much better in my life.

Tell me you’re catching my drift.

If only I had a picnic basket and had eaten this outside, it would have been the perfect lunch.

Really, this game can be about anything. That’s the true beauty of it.

Whether it’s weight, love lives, children, work, stress, family, food or exercise, the “If Only Game” is truly the only fun one can have where anything and everything is fair game.

If only I had the brains of Christiane Amanpour, the body of Gisele Bundchen, the face of Natalie Portman, the personality of Kristin Wiig, the wallet of Oprah Winfrey and the heart of Wangari Maathai, I would never have to worry about what to eat for lunch because life would be perfect.

The “If Only Game” provides limitless possibilities.

If only Diet Coke and pretzels were food groups, my life would be so much easier.

Sometimes the “If Only Game” can ring true.

I mean, my life WOULD be a lot easier if Diet Coke and pretzels were legitimate food groups.

Many times however, the “if onlies” are blatant falsehoods. Let’s be real, even if I was superhuman mix of Christiane, Gisele, Natalie, Kristin, Oprah and Wangari, my life would not be perfect. People would expect me to be smart, in-shape, pretty, funny, giving and nice all the time.

Quite frankly, I don’t think I could handle that.

If only life were a Justin’s Maple Almond Butter + maple jelly roll-up, it would be tasty all the time.

Okay, that one’s definitely true.

But then again…we wouldn’t appreciate the taste of it as much, would we?


If only someone would offer to pay me to be a full-time writer, I wouldn’t have to worry about what to do with my future, where I am going to go or what I am going to do.

All I would have to worry about is egg scrambles.

Why not?

Egg scrambles are a completely delicious food worthy of such attention.

Olive oil, garlic, spinach, cherry tomatoes, 2 eggs, a pinch of salt + mild white cheddar cheese.

What more could you want?

If only the act of watching movies also simultaneously finished my writing projects for me, then life really would be easy peasy pie.

Losing the last five, finding love, picnic lunches, being superwoman, reorganizing the food pyramid, tastiness, full-time writing, having movies write your projects for you.

If only I lived in a dream world, then maybe life would be that easy.

But it’s not.

And that’s the fun of it.

I promise.


maria @ Chasing the Now July 8, 2010 at 8:32 pm

“If only I had the brains of Christiane Amanpour, the body of Gisele Bundchen, the face of Natalie Portman, the personality of Kristin Wiig, the wallet of Oprah Winfrey and the heart of Wangari Maathai, then I would never have to worry about what to eat for lunch because life would be perfect.”

Then you wouldn’t be human girl. Our flaws make us beautiful. Don’t forget that.

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is July 8, 2010 at 8:34 pm

If only I wasn’t an adult. For real.

Crystal July 8, 2010 at 8:36 pm

I, too, am an expert at this game. I think a lot of people are. If only I never craved sweets, if only I had Megan Fox’s abs, if only I was a little taller, if only I had bigger boobs, if only my parents were rich and I didn’t have to work through school, if only I liked to cook. Yea, it’s exhausting. Admittedly, I’m glad those things aren’t true. As you said, reality is the fun of it all. Can you imagine how boring it would be if we got our way alll the time? There would be nothing to work towards and no goals to make.

And An Education = amazing movie. I loved it.

BroccoliHut July 8, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Oh Holly, I am all too familiar with this game. I “play” it all the time. Mama Broc says I’ll wish my life away by hoping for something more–I often forget the appreciate the gifts that I have due to my fixation on that which I don’t have. I’ve been trying to quit playing this “if only” game in favor of fully enjoying all the happiness in my life…care to join me? :)

Katie July 8, 2010 at 8:37 pm

If only you were my next door neighbor and we could sit around and “if only” the rest of our lives into perfection. :-)

Evan Thomas July 8, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Oh Holly, trust me, you don’t want to “If only” for a guy because we’re pretty damn slobby and disgusting and cause a heck load of drama we just don’t care about unless we’re “the one”. That’s my 2 cents on that.

And I hear ya on the “if only” about being a writer. Wouldn’t it be awesome if blogging went somewhere in life? Sometimes I think “If only I didn’t choose Classics as a major, which offers no future except maybe a .001% chance that I’ll get to work on a show like Rome telling them how the set should look”. But then I remember that I love Classics, and that that .001% chance is still a chance

Erica July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Ms. thang- you are fabulous. No if only required. Oh Justin’s nut butters. If only you were sold in full sized jars at my WFs vs. only the packets. Egg scrambles amazing. And I want that cupcake. Get in my belly.

mammaeverythingtarian July 8, 2010 at 8:52 pm

how utterly creative are you!!! i do believe that life would be perfect if diet coke and pretzel were a food group also.

Abby July 8, 2010 at 8:53 pm

I would just like to weigh in and say that the “if only” about being a “professional” writer really isn’t all is cracked up to be, but if only it was, I would be set ;) Like everything, it’s all at matter of perspective. Let’s see…

If only I could actually hang out with all the fabulous blogging chicas that actually “get me,” as no one around here does…
If only I could gain 30 lbs…
If only Joel McHale would realize that he’s in love with me…
If only I could work for a MLB team…
If only Holly could realize how brilliant she is and how everything works out how and when it’s supposed to :)

*Andrea* July 8, 2010 at 9:03 pm

amazing post! my thoughts are often IF ONLY and instead i wanna play a game of acceptance. so hard though :/

katie July 8, 2010 at 9:12 pm

i LOVE THIS POST!!! I have learned to let go of the “if onlys” and know that God makes everything happen for a reason, it feels so good! BUT AGREED ABOUT DIET COKE AND PRETZELS! haha!!

Jenna July 8, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Love your game!!

Run Sarah July 8, 2010 at 9:58 pm

I am definitely guilty of the If Only syndrome…but I have to agree, Diet Coke + pretzels are amazing.

Katharina July 8, 2010 at 10:25 pm

I LOVE this post, Holly! I think finding contentment with one’s own life and self is a hard thing to do, and for some it takes a lifetime. But I think being able to reflect on the reality of things helps so much. You can take those realities, you goals, and put them together to somehow… make it work. I’ve been trying to do this thing where atleast once a week I take my ideas of where I want to go in life.. just to get them outside of my head. Then I come up with ways or discuss them with someone on what I can do to get me closer. It’s been such a help and has given more hope because it’s not just a bunch of wishful thoughts jumbling around my brain. It can get overwhelming sometimes. But hang in there m’lady. You do have so much inside of you that I believe that you can get what you want in life. Although sometimes some things have to wait because we can’t control everything, but in time.. I think these opportunities will make their ways into your life.

XOXO I love you!

Autumn @ Good Eats Girl July 8, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Love this post. I have definitely been guilty of playing the “if only” game!

Madeline - Greens and Jeans July 8, 2010 at 11:30 pm

If only you and I could just run away to Argentina together and forget the fact that we don’t know what is up next in our lives…. Hot Argentine men could definitely fill that boyfriend roll…

Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete July 9, 2010 at 12:55 am

If only we lived closer and had a million dollars to travel together. ;) Love this post. So true. If only…

but life goes on. ;)

Heather (Perspective Is Everything) July 9, 2010 at 6:41 am

Ah-you are a brave woman! That is a very dangerous game to play! ;)
We are the type of creatures,that even if we had all we wanted, we’d find a way to screw it up or still be discontent and unappreciative.
You should definitely shoot for the stars and try to achieve your goals, but accept those things that are beyond your control and embrace everything you already DO have! You are already living SOMEONE’s dream ;)

Naomi(onefitfoodie) July 9, 2010 at 7:53 am

i have been CRAVING diet coke so so much this summer, I dont knwo what it is about the heat that makes me want it so bad!!

ahh if only…yes of course i have that syndrome :)

Jennifer (take the day off) July 9, 2010 at 8:56 am

Great movie! At least, I thought so!

Mackenzie @ Whatever, Gatsby July 9, 2010 at 9:20 am

Oh man, besides playing politically incorrect games of “Apples to Apples”, this is the game I’m best at. And by best, I mean worst! ‘Cause it’s the game you can seriously never win, F’REALZ!

If only I lived in Chicago, I could perform at Second City and Lorne Michaels would discover me, put me on SNL and Kristen Wiig and I would be BFFs!

If only I didn’t have my jeans, I could actually fit into my JEANS! Fie on you, Filson thighs!

If only I wasn’t so independent/weird/quirky , then I’d have a gentleman caller/man-friend/boyfraand. But then again if I were any of those things I don’t think I could stand myself!

And anyways, if you were all those things, things would come too easy and that’s just BOORAAAANG!
Love this post! :)

Maura @ theMOHdiaries July 9, 2010 at 10:23 am

If only…Diet Coke didn’t have aspartame and then I could have it…
If only…money grew on trees and I could afford my Sbux, travel, & shopping addictions
If only…it was 4 PM and it would be the weekend…
If only…I could stop playing the “if only” game, but I don’t really wanna stop….

Oh and AMEN, to the if only I had a bf thang….yah If only to that!

Rosey Rebecca July 9, 2010 at 10:23 am

I can totally relate to the netflix/writing project one. Love this post and I want to eat that cupcake.

samantha July 9, 2010 at 11:11 am

i have so many things to say about this post, but i’m too ADD and too busy at work, so i’ll just leave you with an “I LIKE IT!” like joey from friends says about the trifle, and let you know i agree with you. like a lot.

Mimi (Damn the Freshman 15) July 9, 2010 at 11:50 am

If only my parents had gotten me into sports at a young age, if only I hated the taste of Ben & Jerry’s, if only I relished any chance to hop on the elliptical. Bah, if my parents had made me sporty, I’d be totally bamboozled about weight gain when I got to college. If I hated Ben & Jerry’s, there would be a void in my soul. And if I lived for the ellitpical, I could be far less creative in getting my heart rate up.

I know what you mean. A big thing I’m trying to work on is living in the present, not in dreams. Not for the future I want, but for the time I’m in now. It’s hard, but it’s made me more mindful.

Your posts are also always so mindful–it’s one thing I love about your blog!

Laura July 9, 2010 at 2:06 pm

i play this game WAY too much….i think it actually makes me lose my sense of reality! sometimes escaping from reality is what we all need. but we are how we are, and life is how it is! if it was meant to be different, it would be:) xx

crunchy granola gal July 9, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Dear Holly,
you have touched upon something so true and so sad. Why, as young women (more so than guys our age, on average) constantly doubt the qualities and things and wonderful people that we DO have? Why aren’t we ever enough? I can’t say I haven’t been a victim to this distorted mindset. It’s great that self-doubt can lead to hard work and doggedness, but when will we just let ourselves BE, as we are? Or should we even allow this sense of comfort? Is comfort in ourselves equivalent to apathy? Is this the society we have constructed?

Too many questions for a friday night! I’m going home, taking a nap, getting a margarita and mexican food and dancing my worries away. You in? :)

enjoy your weekend!


sophia July 9, 2010 at 7:49 pm

I play this game a lot, too…but I think it can trip us up instead, making us unable to appreciate and enjoy what we already have…which I’ll bet is a lot! I’m also betting that many people will think “If only xxx” and that xxx is precisely what WE already have! :-)

Claire July 10, 2010 at 7:24 am

Thank you for your great post and have a nice weekend!!!

amanda July 10, 2010 at 11:17 am

as much as dig my life, because well, it’s the only life i’ve got, i am a pro at this game. i maybe never lost, in fact.

i agree with so many of your, “if only’s.” such as….the boyfriend, the body, the pounds, the writing job, the money. like come on, something’s gotta give, right? oprah has some cash flow to spare….i’m sure of it.

but your mindset is in the right place. a perfect life would be boring. easier, yes, but boring.

Megan @ The Oatmeal Diaries July 10, 2010 at 2:59 pm

The “if only” game is a tricky little guy! I try not to have those thoughts, but of course I do. Particularly the “if life were maple almond butter” one. And pretzels + diet coke = best thing everr!

Diana @ frontyardfoodie July 10, 2010 at 4:00 pm

haha I play that game with myself sometimes. It never makes me feel good though.

Oh and you’re a super hott, super funny, super fun and definitely know how to have a good time. So you already are what you want to be. Isn’t that mind blowing?!

Andrea@WellnessNotes July 11, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Great post! I think we are all pretty good at the “What if” game… :) Great reminder!

Faith July 11, 2010 at 6:22 pm

How funny! When I was a kid I used to torture my mom with a game I called “what if”…I’d give her these crazy random scenarios and ask her what she thought would happen. (My mom is a saint, lol!)

Kate July 11, 2010 at 8:10 pm

another big amen sister! as i’ve gotten older, i’ve come to realize that everyone has their own sack of shitty issue and struggles that they deal with. i try and embrace mine as they make me. might has well own and try to work it, right?!

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