“She always wants more – not in things, but experiences. She was made to learn and grow and that is where many miss her completely. Once she is in their life, they want her to remain the same and, for her, that just isn’t possible.”Jm Storm
I was standing in line at the grocery store a few days ago, and a little kid was doing his best to embarrass the living sh*t out of his parents.
It was the mother of all temper tantrums. He cried. He yelled. He screamed. He scratched his mother’s arm. He slapped his father’s face. He threw the cookie his mother gave him to the floor and stomped on it, as myself and a few other shoppers standing in line, either looked on or looked away. There were a few rolling eyes from some and I-feel-so-sorry-for-you looks from others.
As this continued, for what seemed like eternity, the parents literally put their hands together and begged him to tell them what he wanted.
“What do you want?”, they asked, as eyes continued to roll and silent judgement seemed to spew from every corner of the store.
There is no happy ending to this story… unless you count the fact that I exited the store a few moments later, took in a deep breath, letting the coolness of the air outside fill my lungs as I walked to my car – practically weightless with the knowledge that the responsibility for raising that child does not belong to me.
As I drove myself home, the question the parents had asked their child repeatedly played inside my head: “What do you want? What do you want? WHAT DO YOU WANT?”
I think this is a very valid question that we should all be asking of ourselves. And I found myself a bit surprised by my answer. Because, apart from my classic, but generally very broad, response of “Health, wealth and happiness”, and a few cliches, like “Ten million dollars” and “The ability to travel whenever I want and see the world” or “To run all the miles and never get tired”, I genuinely wasn’t sure exactly what it is that I want.
Despite the past 44 years of my life being lived upon this Earth, the experiences that I’ve had, and the knowledge that I’ve gained – I was no less clueless than that child in the grocery store who had no idea what he wanted. And that’s when it struck me. That kid had no idea what he wanted… but he knew exactly what he did not want – all the things his parents were offering him. I immediately circled back to myself and asked: “What, exactly, do you NOT want?”… the answers came rolling.
I no longer want to waste time with people who don’t really want to spend their time with me. I no longer want to be friends with those who don’t deserve me, or those who don’t choose me. So I let them go, and I choose to move on.
I no longer want to brood over something that cannot be fixed – from lost relationships, to lost love. From unspoken words, to unforgiven actions, or even my undying love of the long run.
I no longer care about society’s definition of success. I no longer measure success with how big someone’s house is, how many cars they might own, or the vacations that they take. I measure it by how happy they are… by how happy I am.
I don’t ever want to be weighed down by the materialistic things of this world or the monetary debts that accompany them. These are the chosen burdens which force a person into the same old – same old, day in and day out, daily grind of life that slowly but surely suffocates the soul.
I no longer want to waste my time, working any job that I hate. I’m lucky to have found myself a job that resonates with me, where I can be myself, alongside people that I love, and actually enjoy the work that we do.
I no longer want to feel bad about doing everything that I want, and nothing that don’t – sitting “here”, but wishing I was “there”. Reclaiming my Life’s time before it runs out is one of the most empowering things that I have ever done!
I no longer want to explain myself to anyone about anything – why I behave a certain way, the things I do or say and, more importantly, the things I don’t. The people who love me, know me and get me. That’s all the understanding that I need.
I no longer want to care what anyone thinks of me. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this yet – but it is, by far, the most transformative life lesson and liberating experience. I give zero f*cks what anyone thinks of me. I am who I am. Take it or leave it. A fraction of those I know take it – and they’ve become my family for life. But many others leave it, and that’s okay by me. The freedom that comes with not caring what others think of you allows you the freedom to live life exactly the way you want. I sincerely challenge you to get to that point.
All in all, I may never know, infinitely and without a doubt, exactly what it is that I want… but I finally know exactly what I don’t want. I don’t ever want forget who I really am!