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This is the second part in what I think will be a small series. Today I want to explore what I myself want, and then see where my imaginations take me. I’ve reformulated the following a number of times in the past few weeks and hope it makes some sense now.

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How do I know what I want?

How do I reach a conclusion with certainty, which I can proceed to follow down its path?

I’m not sure, to be honest, if I truly know what I want. I only know that the image in my head, the plan, the dream I’m building together is something that makes me happy. It brings a swing into my limping step, it helps me get out of bed in the morning and face another day at work. The image in my head makes me smile, and yearn for the time when I might get what I (think I might) want.

I imagine a humble little house on the edges of a city or in a suburb-like area, with a bit of a garden and nearby places for the kids to run around. I see a few of my own kids, still fairly young, being their silly, imaginative selves as they create mischief. I’m taking a small break from work: the freelance research I do for the EU/EU-institution/similar group, working from home in a comfortable, sunny office that the kids are NOT allowed to enter unless its very urgent. I work while they’re at school and after they go to sleep, the rest of the day I’m there for the family and for my own hobbies and such. I think I can see someone I care for in this picture. They work a bit further away from the town perhaps, but make sure to be home in the evenings for the family. Or maybe I’m on my own, but living well enough to afford a bit of extra help now and then. I’ve got a big dog and a few other pets. I have a good friend circle. I can understand and use several languages in my work, and possibly live in a country with a language other than my own. I try to exercise and eat well, but probably get too stressed most of the time for real healthy living.
Its a hazy image, maybe a Hallmark card-worthy picture. But its what I want. I know it in my heart.

I think about how I know that this is what I want.

I’ve written privately of late, how I come to my conclusions, my plans. It boils down to the following method (generally completed entirely in within my mind, though I recommend writing it down as well):
– I brainstorm – throw out ideas, ways of life, situations, items, pictures of what my life could look like with different wants and dreams
– I take some time look at what I’ve wanted in the past and why, how it really felt to have something that I had wanted, or think about why I wasn’t able to get something I’d dreamed about. Using this lens, I throw out a number of my brainstormed ideas – some things just don’t suit me or aren’t realistic in the least
– I think about who I am today, and how far I am willing to change myself and my situation – how much time and energy I’m ready to invest, or what suits me right now. Using this lens, I throw out a few more brainstormed ideas.
– I look at the remaining ideas. I listen to my gut a bit, I close my eyes and pick ideas at random, I ask friends what they think, I ask the stars, I look for a sign… etc.
I do whatever I feel like doing at the moment to pick a few ideas to work on for now.
– I explore each idea as thoroughly as I can, to figure out how I could get that want. I think about whether I like the paths those explorations find. Do I want to get that training? Do I want to move with that person to that place? Do I want to have to train a huge, intelligent animal? Do I think I could muster the motivation to maintain that garden?
– Having figured out some element of the path I would need to take for each want, I think of my motivation. Do I feel motivated by any of the ideas in particular?
– I decide for the wants that have passed these steps, and whose images make me smile the most.
– I let myself dream about the less realistic options. I draw fantasies like paint by numbers with the stars.
I wish and dream, think and desire…
Yet ultimately, I know what I want at that moment, having pondered and considered my options.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I don’t want anything too big or crazy. I don’t need nor want a fairytale ending, riches, or perfection. Let those be my dreams and fancies.

I just want a house full of children, a life full of laughter and languages, music filling the air, and enough greenery and stars around to keep me close to nature. I want to earn a living that meets our needs, through a job that connects me to the entirety of a great continent, through which I can research and learn on behalf of my employer. I want to be there for my family and be able to look back at my week with satisfaction.

I can hope that this is something I can obtain in the next 15-20 years. I can hope that I will still want these things when I am older, or that I will not want somethign completely different from what I work hard for.

Now I must think about how I can reach these wants, and use my above method to find the best path for me. It’ll probably involve studying some more, living in other countries, travel, and lots of hard work finding the right employers and positions, as well as bringing myself to the level of knowledge and ability to work the kind of job I think I want.
For now, I continue with my life the way I am, and work on shaping my future, one day at a time.

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