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“This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
When the world was younger, and you had everything to lose..”
-Switchfoot “This is your Life”

I want to think about what I want. More specifically, how I come to know what I want and what that knowledge means for me.

Why?

A friend brought this topic to me in relation to his own contemplations. Seeings its relevance for mine, and honestly, everyone’s lives, I thought it deserved some dedicated time and attention. I’ve since written a few separate personal reflections on knowing what I want and have come to several conclusions. I’d like to use this space and this opportunity here to explore some of the ideas I’ve been contemplating.

My goal in writing today’s blog entry is to set the stage for a more thought-out entry on “knowing what you want”. I want to explore different aspects to this question, this complex, interwoven query. My first thought today – can I tell you what you want?

I can only base my conclusions and thoughts on my own life. I can’t speak for the lives and minds of others, excepting what they have truthfully shared with me. This means that I need to focus on my own wants and desires in order to provide the context for my reflections. I am a fairly open person; constantly sharing my own life stories with others. Unlike learned and renowned writers of philosophy, introspection, psychiatry, etc., I can not take a step back and speak in mostly generalities. Without reliable outside information, I can not speak for others on the topic of their wants and motivations. Perhaps in another 30 years I might feel I have the right to speak in general terms for a group I represent and know the interests of, and perhaps I might be called upon to do this much sooner, but within the sphere of this blog, I need to focus on what I alone can know.

I like to think about what others might want. I’m known to try to advise friends, try to understand difficult colleagues, and figure out the other side to most of my arguments with others. I even put words in the mouth’s of animals, wondering whether a polar bear might want shade or a dip in the water at the zoo. I believe its a part of my personality, to want to know what others are thinking or wanting. Perhaps that is something everyone thinks about..

We are all individuals. Unique and different in our particular experiences, wishes, desires, and motivations, we might be able to make educated guesses about a person’s or person’s thoughts, but ultimately we must look within. I look to my own wants and determine how I know what I want, and hope that my own introspection might aid in yours. I believe that we each must look at many experiences and perspectives, taking pieces from each to form our own recipes, our own mixture that works for you, and you alone.

My friend, I come to you from the position of a young, somewhat educated, religiously-raised (and now __?), privileged woman with limited experience gleaned from life events, friends, family, books, and other external sources. This does not invalidate my thoughts, but serves as a disclaimer.

I write this piece for the contemplative, the soul searching, and the worriers. The ones who lose sleep over what the future holds, who wonder, who am I and what will I be? What will I bring to this world, and how does my small part fit into this global, timeless play?

I congratulate those who find their passion, who have their goals, their plans, their challenges figured out, at whatever level that may be. You’ve reached some form of clarity, even within your doubts, and you follow that clarity. Whether you’ve reached it through hours of thought, or a quick decision, or even through the influence of someone you respect or follow, you know what you want.

Can I tell you what you want? Could something that I share from my own wants and desires, my path to finding them, tell you what you want in turn? Perhaps. I only hope that my path to finding my answers will liken what you might find rewarding in turn. I will stumble and fall, look back and question, hopefully unfolding my journey through this blog. I hope to solidify my own mind, whether publicly or in my private writings, as well as improve my writing in turn.

I hope you’ll follow my journey at times, and leave some comments below. I believe its important to not grow in isolation, but to take in the words of others. I look forward to incorporating your responses and the reflections of my friends into next weeks blog and the ones after.

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