Is It Necessary to Want Something?

The other day I told a friend about the feeling of expectation that accompanied my grief and how empty I felt when nothing wonderful happened to me.  She said we have to make wonderful things happen, we can’t just wait. Then she started quizzing me on things I wanted to do. I couldn’t come up with anything. I’ve never really wanted much, never had big dreams or wild fancies. I do want to want something, though. It would give me a goal, a reason to be hopeful, an investment in the future.

But here’s the conundrum:

We’re told that we have to want something, have to try to reach beyond our comfort zone so that perhaps wonderful things will happen to us. At the same time, we’re told that all things come to those who wait.

We’re told that dreams are important, that we need to have something to live for. At the same time, we’re told to be grateful for what we have, to live for the day.

We live in a society with an economy that is built on the principal of wanting. The more we want, the more we buy, the more we use, the more we help the economy. At the same time we’re told to be frugal, not to waste, but more trash automatically accompanies more goods. I had to get rid of so much of our stuff when I moved out of our house, that it makes no sense to buy more stuff. So, where does wanting to want something fit in with that situation? I sure don’t want more stuff to eventually have to get rid of!

And then, there’s the Zen philosophy that we should neither want nor not want.

So what is the answer? Wanting? Or not wanting? Going after something or waiting till it comes to you? Having dreams, or being satisfied with what you have?

(After the conversation with my friend, I did think of something I wanted. I always wanted to make a gingerbread house, so I made a little one. I don’t want to eat it, though. But still, I can cross it off my list.)

14 Responses to “Is It Necessary to Want Something?”

  1. Jen Says:

    I think bucket lists are important. The things we want don’t necessarily need to be things we physically acquire. It could be something as simple as seeing the Grand Canyon at sunset or Vermont in the fall. Maybe it’s watching your granddaughter’s first ballet recital, or hearing a baby’s first cry. Life is all around us to be enjoyed. The important things we take with us when we leave this world are not the ones we buy, rather they are the ones that touch our hearts and our senses as well. This holds true for the things we leave behind that touch others, like our laughter, the way we care for others when they’re sick, or our writings.

    I want a lot of things, but few of them are tangible. I want families to get along. I want child abuse to disappear. I want people to respect each other, love each other, be kind to each other. I want to live to see each of my children married with children of their own. I want them and everyone to be happy. Imagine how rich our lives would be and how much better this world would be if all of these wants came true. We can always be happy with what we have, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting more, especially if our wants are from the heart and soul and not the wallet.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Thanks for your comment, Jen. You have a good point about there being nothing wrong with wanting more, especially if our wants are from the heart and soul.

      • Jen Says:

        Just want to say I love your blog. I’ve been following it for a long time. You are an amazing person with such incredible strength and perseverance. Your life partner is very proud of you and I am certain he walks beside you and with you every day. Draw from his love and strength. Go and do all those things you both dreamed of doing together. Take his picture along.

        Short funny story for you: I had a friend “Dee” who was so distraught over her mom’s death that she carried her mom’s dentures with her wherever she went. It made Dee feel better knowing Mim’s teeth were with her. One day, Dee took Mim’s teeth with her to Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga and while searching for something in her bag, she accidentally knocked Mim’s teeth over the side of the mountain. Dee was devastated until she sat down for lunch and remembered one of her mom’s biggest wishes was to go skydiving. Dee laughed a good hearty belly laugh at that moment knowing she’d given mom what she always wanted to do. She just never imagined it would only be her teeth that took the plunge. 🙂

        I’m going to bed now. Good night and God bless.

        • Pat Bertram Says:

          Thank you, Jen. It’s always great to meet one of my blog followers, and especially great when you say such wonderful things.

          I’m still smiling over your story. Wonderful things do happen in strange ways, don’t they? I’ll remember this — it’s a great parable.

  2. joylene Says:

    Your Gingerbread House is adorable. I’ve never made one either. Hmm…

  3. Jenny Says:

    Good luck, joylene. I made one once and when I was done, it looked like it had been through a mudslide. LOL!! Pat’s is picture perfect.

  4. Kaitlin Says:

    Thanks for being so open and honest on this blog. I do think that wanting something is good, but it doesn’t have to be a tangible or even nameable something – just wanting to live is good enough.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Kaitlin, that’s a very good point — sometimes wanting to live is good enough. It’s taken me a long time to get to that point.

      Thank you for the compliment. I try to be honest, especially with myself. That’s the hard part.

      • Rod Marsden Says:

        You’ve got the right ticket Pat. And if you keep your eyes open on a walk through a wilderness you never know what you’ll find in way of wildlife. Discovery can add to the walk.

  5. Rod Marsden Says:

    It seems to me that wanting is the thing that gets a lot of us out of bed of a morning and to work. Wanting gets us working on our computers hoping for that inspiration that will inspire others. After a bad time I find that if I reward myself with a little something like a DVD I have wanted for a long time then I do get a sense of accomplishment even if the work that earned the DVD wasn’t terribly exciting or important to the world at large. I can understand the Zen point of view. There is no point in becoming a turtle with an increasingly large shell to carry around. Mind you, when I am broke and need a little pick me up from work recently done then a walk on a beach is fair enough. Since I don’t have to carry the beach around on my back I suppose then that such a reward would be okay with a Zen master.

    • Jen Says:

      I hear you, Rod. I am blessed with the beautiful green waters of the Gulf of Mexico in my back yard. The salt air, the rush of the waves on the shore, the cry of the seagulls, the discovery of a beautiful sea shell do more for this soul than I could ever put into words.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I’ve never been fond of the desert, but the vicissitudes of life have thrown me into the high desert. I am within walking distance of a small bit of wilderness, and though it doesn’t have the same nuance as a walk on the beach, walking in the desert brings me peace. For now, that is enough.

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