Sometimes I dream of trying out a new city. Sometimes I wish I loved my city as much as my sisters love theirs, or I wish I could figure out how to convince my metropolis-averse husband he wants to live with me in a townhouse on the upper west side in New York City. Then one day, I decided to figure out exactly where I truly wished I could live. I started the sentence, “I want to live,” and knew immediately how to finish it. I want to live wherever Michael is.
I have become convinced most of us don’t really know what we want. Or rather, I think if we would take a moment to specify and define the want, we’d find it’s completely within our grasp.
I want money.
Do I really? I just want piles of dollars and cents to roll around in? I bet that’s not really it. What do I want the money for, and are there other ways to get there?
I want money so I can have the perfect home might actually mean I want beautiful, comfortable surroundings where peace and happiness live. I think we all know: Mansion not required for that goodness. There are entire books and magazines devoted to how we can fill that want with very little moolah.
I want money so I can quit my job. Listen, I get it. Apparently, only 13% of us get through a work shift without dreaming of how we’re going to win the lottery someday and get out. But the real statistic is simply: 87% of us are not in our dream job. You know what we 87’s need to do? We need to make more lists. What do I like about my job? What do I hate about my job? What do I want in a job? And then we need some courage and some initiative and some patience and then some more courage so we can find the best possible version of those lists and be all the heck in that almost-perfect job that fits so many of the things we want and not a single one of the hates. You don’t need the lottery for this; you need a pencil.
I want money so I can give it away. But can you imagine if I was completely out of debt – like, Dave Ramsey out, without even a house payment? And then, if I kept just enough when it came to the clothes in my closet and the dishes on our table, but I kept making money every month, how much could I give away then? Being rich, you may notice, is not the x in that equation. That equation is possible because I owe fewer people money and I spend less. Boom. Another want that’s possible without more money. And these little truths work for things like “I want less money stress” and “I don’t want to work so many hours,” too.
I want to be skinny (or prettier or have abs and biceps). Yep. But I still think the want is something else, and it’s something attainable. I think we want to be relaxed in a room with other people in it. I think we want to feel confident and totally ok with a couple flights of stairs. I think we want to be fully engaged with the other person in the conversation because we’re not wondering if they just glanced at that flaw our clothes won’t hide. There are proven paths to all the wants in this paragraph. Moving a little every day adds so much to that whole confidence thing and facing the stairs. For relaxing in a room, try focusing on those you love and those you are loved by, even when they aren’t in the room. And when it comes to flaws and clothing – learn some clothing tricks (there are tips for that too) but also learn to trust, my precious friend, that you are not alone, and maybe if we all focused on the conversation more (the heart of things) the fear of this would fade.
(I want money and I want to be skinny basically covers it, right?) The point is to list the things you want, and then peel off the cliche. What do you really want? How do you want to feel about that particular area of life, and is there a way to pursue that feeling with all the tools you already have in your hands? Maybe instead of getting more, we need to carry less – to slow down, be awake, and see how near we are to the goodness.