“What do you want?”
It can be a difficult question to answer. Sure, sometimes it’s easy. If it’s a pizza restaurant asking, then the answer is Margarita. A tea shop? Chai with soy, please.
But what if it’s Life asking? Because stop for a minute and ask yourself, What do you want? What do you really really want?
I suspect for some people, it’s still easy, just there on the tips of their tongues, because they’ve been craving a particular thing for much of their lives, but various circumstances (time, money, other Life bits) have prevented them from obtaining their goal. It’s just there, beyond the glass. Once the glass is broken, they’d lunge for it with all their might.
For me there is no glass. I have no children, only a dwindling and aging family remains (one sister with no kids of her own; parents deceased). I’ve saved enough money to allow for some freedom of choice. All of which should make the question easier, but it hasn’t. Not for me, anyway.
So I’ve decided to start small. Stop thinking in terms of what I want out of Life, but instead merely what do I want for dinner? Or, what do I want to do today? Just today. Not tomorrow. Not five years from now. Just today.
I’m learning to tune into that little thrill. You know that thrill. It’s the same feeling you get when the waiter tells you the dinner special features your favorite ingredients, when you stop looking at the menu in front of you and tell him, “Yes, please, I’ll have that.”
I think there are hints of that thrill everywhere we look. Things that give each of us, in our own way, a little bump up, a little rise on a small crest of a happiness wave. For that moment, we see a little farther, breathe a little easier, feel a little bit weightless.
For me, this morning, as I was scrolling down my FB page, I spotted an ad for some sort of guided museum tour in a small town a couple hours away. I’d forgotten about that town, had heard it was nice and had meant to visit. But Life got in the way and before long I’d settled into my new home and forgotten some of those far-reaching adventures in lieu of the omnipresent drudgeries of chores and errands. You know, the things that eat up your day with nothing to show for them. Unmemorable. Easily forgotten. Another day slid past with no recollection of a single thing that happened in those twenty-four hours.
But when I saw the ad, for a moment I felt a little flutter, a little thrill. Ooh, THAT town! I’d forgotten about that town! And though the specific tour conflicted with my work schedule, I still found the little bump up to be the more important part. It was a reminder to keep looking up and out for things that inspire me.
It’s easy to create a rut anywhere, wherever you land. The same quotidian demands are present everywhere. We must still clothe ourselves, feed ourselves, keep our dwelling tidy. If we have pets, they still demand to be fed and (if dogs) walked. Bills to pay, birthdays to remember. Email.
But those are all blinkers, shutters on our eyes to keep our heads down, starting at our own shoes.
The world is bigger than that and yet it’s so easy to lose track of that simple fact. Look up, look outward. Find the things that give you a little thrill, a happy little “Oooh!” Make note of them, certainly, but more importantly chase them down.
You can’t see the next thing if you don’t move from where you’re standing.