What Do You Want?

We think we know what we want. We go through life thinking everything will be just fine once we have this. Once we have that. Once we have the other. We may even acquire this, that and the other, but there is always something more that we want. It all seems so clear.

In our quest for all that we want, sometimes we lose sight of what we really want. I have many things in life I am actively working towards; career goals, personal goals, relationship goals, fitness and health goals, all of which are progressing well, most of the time, usually, for the most part. A few are shaky, here or there, now and then. And I had a really bizarre experience regarding those goals and all that I want while on the phone with the love of my life. Having been a little unsettled about one or more of those goals, those wants, he asked, quite simply, “what do you want?”

I was speechless.

If I could go to the wish factory and grab anything and everything I wanted, what would I grab? If I could go to the wish factory and grab four items, what would they be? Two items? One item? What is the one thing I want more than anything else? What is the one thing I’d choose at the exclusion of all the rest?

I have no idea. Really. When it comes down to it, I really don’t know what I want. I go through life writing down my goals, clarifying my goals, I write down my affirmations every morning. You would think these are things I “want”. And they are, but to put them into an intelligible sentence, expressed out loud, in response to the question “what do you want?’ wouldn’t make sense. So I sat, silently, speechless. I have no idea. My goals seem so abstract, so unreal.

I know what I want as in I know I want good health, I want general happiness, I want good relationships with family, friends and my lover, I want fulfillment in my career, I want self confidence, I want a high level of physical fitness. Yes, I want all that, but, what do I want in a more tangible, tactile sense. I don’t have a house, I don’t really want a house. I drive a car, make payments on a car, but, really, the bank owns the car for quite a period of time more, and I don’t really want it, anyway. Some things I “want” just don’t seem real, they could happen, they are possibilities, but they are so ethereal at this point, I barely dare express my desire for them for fear they will evaporate like mist.

I spent so much of my life wanting stuff; a horse as a child, a car, a boyfriend, a different boyfriend, a husband, a different car, another horse, a house, a ranch. All tangible, all material, for the most part. Of all of those things, and I got them all, ask me how many I have now. None. And I’m still me and I’m fine and I’m happier now than I ever was in possession of any of those things. I am grateful for those “things”, but they left me still wanting.

For the past several years, I have focused only on wanting what I could provide for myself, only wanting qualities, traits, characteristics, achievements, goals. Nothing tangible, not anyone, not anything. Oh, sure, there are secret, unspoken desires, but I dare not express them in response to “what do you want?” First, they don’t qualify as something I can provide myself, a quality, a characteristic or trait and wanting them, if they happen, is never guarantee or promise that they will last and certainly not a requirement for happiness. Often, the contrary.

So, what do I want? What do you want? If you could go to the great big wish factory, what’s there for you? Do you ever feel like you’re walking somewhere, really fast, urgently, but when asked, you don’t know where? You’re just walking and walking and walking. This is perplexing to me, this walking without direction, without purpose. When this happens, or when we realize it has happened in spite of our efforts to focus, to identify our purpose and our goals, it means something has changed and it is time to re-examine those goals, that purpose. In those four little words, “what do you want?” I discovered that I want to sit down, again, and redefine my purpose and my goals so I know where it is I am walking so very urgently.

We can’t just dutifully sit down and scrawl out a goal or two and consider it crossed off of our to-do list. Goals are ever changing, evolving, as we do. As our life progresses towards or away from our goals, we need to repeat the exercise. Change is part of life, change is good and is a catalyst for growth and evolution. Change is also the impetus for us to re-examine, clarify, and focus our goals.

Ask yourself, now, what do you want. If you don’t have a clear idea, if you can’t readily express what it is you are urgently walking towards, take some time, today preferably, as I am, and figure it out.

That’s what I want.

What do I want? to see the world, to have experiences that shape my life and make me feel alive.
What do I want? To see the world, to have experiences that shape my life and make me feel alive.

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