“You can’t always get what you want…..”
Inspired by a post on a beloved blog, “Do Sweat the Small Stuff,” and the writing prompt for Red Writing Hood, I decided to write about a very thought provoking question……..what do I want? What an open-ended question! I ask all of you to think about it–what do you want? Probably lots of stuff pops into your mind right away, mostly material things or things that need to be completed in your life. But what do you really want?
I thought it would be most interesting to think about the things I wanted 18 years ago and compare them to the things I want now. I don’t even know who that person was, let alone what happened to her, but I do remember some of the things that were very important to her. Here’s a list of what she wanted most in the world.
- To be a marine biologist and study humpback whales in both Alaska and Hawaii.
- To study at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.
- To become a world-renowned expert on humpback whales.
- To have a home on a rocky coast somewhere overlooking the Pacific.
- To lead a free, unbound life, on no one else’s terms.
- To possibly never have children, and certainly not until much later in life, and even then most likely adopt them.
- To never, ever, ever, depend on anyone else.
Now, that list just looks like a big pile of crap to me now. Not one thing on there is reality. Here are the things that I want now.
- I want my children to have every possible opportunity and to never be held back by their own fears.
- I also want them to have a top-notch education.
- I never want my own fears to project onto my kids and stop them from doing something they want to do.
- I want them to have as little pain in this world as possible.
- I want to have just one month with a little money left over.
- I want to remember what it’s like not to worry.
- I want someone to invent self-cleaning windows.
- I want my family to be happy.
- I want my daughter to look at me and call me mommy. I’d sell my soul for this one. Believe it.
- I want to be able to find myself again someday.
It’s not hard to see the difference between those two people. You get married and have kids, and things change. Some things change for the good, and some things, well, not so much. Responsibilities and obligations arose, but the truth is, most of the things I didn’t do are simply because I was too afraid to do them. That’s what happens to us all. The things we want, that we really want, we are too afraid to go and get them. We put them off for just a while, then a while longer, and then the next thing you know, your life is so far down some other path that it is unrecognizable.
I don’t ever think I’ll have those things on that first list, but that’s okay. Things are different now. The essence of the dream is that it comes to an end and reality takes over. Sometimes it hurts a little to let them go, but letting go always hurts, even if you are letting go for something better. Sometimes the thing you didn’t even know you wanted turns out to be the best thing ever, and so it’s all okay in the end.
I notice how much simpler the things I want now are. I guess I’m more easily satisfied. My dreams are smaller, but my satisfaction is infinitely greater. My children’s happiness means more to me than my own ever could. All of my hopes and dreams now are wrapped up in them. I’m fine with that. They are both the most beautiful part of my life, and the fact that I didn’t even know that I wanted them until I had them makes it even better. Maybe there’s a lesson there–forget about what you want, and just be content with what you have.
“……but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.” Mick Jagger