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If you just buy a stapler, your life will be perfect.
With a stapler on your desk, the discordant bits of old paper piled from the last six months will forever be soldered together into an even neater stack, allowing you a modicum of control over your messy, ragged little life in that cubicle or bedroom office. As it binds your life's disarray into compartmentalized mounds of recycled tree fiber, your stapler will also bind you together.
Photo: Getty Images
If you just buy a whole wheat bagel, your life will be perfect.
It's true that this is a bagel, and you've been trying to cut back on gluten because you get a cold every time you eat dinner and a compassionate stranger on Yahoo! Answers suggested that could be a cause (also for pants-related reasons). But this is a whole wheat bagel, so it almost doesn't count as a bagel. And maybe, if this whole wheat bagel doesn't really count, neither does the rest of the garbage things you shoved into your body this weekend, nor all the garbage things you said to other people this weekend. A whole wheat bagel subverts the archetype of a bagel, and maybe you'll become a healthier version of yourself, too.
Photo: Ski-II Essence Spray
If you just buy a facial essence spray, your life will be perfect.
Dewier, more luminous skin will convey the youthfulness that you know you still biologically possess, but haven't ever seemed able to tap into. Unlike your peers with their shiny-not-greasy faces, you're not making stupid decisions in public fueled by alcohol or joie de vivre. You worry constantly about repercussions and do deeply uncool things when you're alone, like eat takeout sushi with a fork. If only your face were a little wetter, you'd keep your chin up and get out there.
If you just buy a newer iPhone, your will life be perfect.
Your phone may work fairly well now, blighted by only a few unremarkable dings and scratches, but an entirely new phone will give you something to marvel at. With a lighter-than-air new mobile device (maybe in rose gold), gone will be the boredom that mars your days, that forces you to take a walk outside after work or read seventeen pages of a critically acclaimed creative non-fiction on your commute home. A new iPhone is a better model of what you already have, and what you already have has disappointed you after a few weeks. Cling to the wild hope that this time, it will be different, and for good, even if a higher quality version will unleash itself in a matter of months.
Photo: Sunshine Shoppe Supply
If you just buy elastic hair ties, your life will be perfect.
You already have a deluge of ponytail holders around your house—under your bed, around shampoo bottles in the shower, in your backpack, already on your wrist—but a newer kind, made with a thin elastic ribbon and tied on the ends, promises less irritation. Above all, you value the elimination of discomfort, both physical and social. Now, a small, expensive loop of elastic could eradicate the very uneasiness that keeps you housebound with a single ponytail.
Photo: Motivation Yoga
If you just buy a foam yoga block, your life will be perfect.
You often don't go to yoga class, even though you claim it's "my sport," writing it off with a simple, "I'll practice at home." But you rarely practice at home, because your home is filled with other tests of mental and physical discipline, like rearranging the clothes on your garment rack by color or lugging a bag of laundry to the basement. You still claim it's because you don't have the right props. With a foam yoga block, you have the power to tap into mindfulness and spirituality in the confines of your own home, never having to leave your bedroom again to be enlightened.
Photo: Hammer and Brush
If you just buy a potted succulent, your life will be perfect.
You're far too tired every night to get a dog, but a small cactus will do just fine. You will place it on your dresser next to the mirror and you can look at it every morning as you inspect your pores and the blemishes that sprouted up on your cheek from your unwashed pillowcase. You wish to be low-maintenance and singular and bone-dry, and looking at your potted succulent, resplendent in its independence, will transfix you for minutes longer than it should. You will end up running out of time to shower, realizing you don't need water either.
Photo: Touch of Modern
If you just buy a framed print of your home city, your life will be perfect.
You didn't grow up in this city, but in a near suburb. Still, when friends from college came to visit on breaks, they expected you to understand the exit signs on the highway. You didn't love going to school in this city-adjacent, but you found yourself experiencing homesickness for a skyline you only visited every other Sunday with your parents for dinner.
You will find this vintage replica print at some flea market in the city you live in now, and looking at it doesn't make you miss your parents, or the Mobil station next to the train tracks, or the soccer fields near the school. It will just make you think you need more artwork in your place, and you will consider that maturity.
If you just buy a heather grey cashmere sweater, your life will be perfect.
You're always overdressed in a way that makes you seem stiff, scared, and unable to read the cues that govern a social or professional situation. A deconstructed, loose sweater made of a high-end material will hopefully hide the fact that you devote a considerable amount of energy to what you look like, as in more energy than you spend picking out ethically sourced meat at the grocery store or who you're going to vote for in the primaries. You have too many clothes, but buying just one more heather grey cashmere pullover sweater will simplify your life.