Wanting

“What is it you really want?”

I was asked this question recently. What seemed like a simple request for a simple answer turned into quite the conundrum.

What did I want?

I took some time and thought this one through because I honestly had no idea what it was I wanted at this point in my life. Then it hit me. I didn’t know what I wanted to do or what I wanted to accomplish in the long run. For the first time in my life I had flexibility. I had no expectations. I had some hopes and wishes but nothing concrete.

Chills ran down my spine and I felt sick to my stomach. What the fuck was I doing wrong? How could I not know what I wanted?

I thought over my life and all the times I had stopped and asked myself what I wanted. When I was 7, I wanted to be a teacher. When I was 12, a babysitter. When I was 17, a professor of comparative literature. When I was 21, I wanted to try everything and do everything. When I was 24, I wanted to settle down.

As I sat there, I laughed over how often my mind had changed and how different each phase of my life was. Each time I learned something new or was in a different place, my wants changed. They rarely stayed the same and rarely returned.

That’s when I realized that no person can continue to want the same thing through each stage of their life. We are always in flux. Our thoughts, our feelings, our beliefs are in constant motion. Everything is like a flowing river, bending and flowing past the shore. So to expect me to want the same things now as I did when I was 7 was ridiculous. And to always know what I wanted was just as silly.

Sometimes, you just have to drift a bit and see what is just beyond the next turn. Holding yourself to the expectation that you will always know what you want is unreasonable. Have faith and allow yourself to just feel out what is your path for the moment. And remember, what you want now will change.

As it always has.

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