When Am I Going to Get What I Want Out of Life?
He sat on the porch with me, smoking a cigarette, his eyes just glazed over in woe.
“What am I doing here? When am I going to get what I want out of life?”
As he stared out into space, I wondered if these were rhetorical questions…
We’d had this conversation many times, and quite frankly I was getting tired of it. There’s only so many hand-holding, reaffirming, philosophical things you can say — before the harsh reality comes beating down the door — screaming, This Is Life: it’s supposed to be hard, deal with it!
I caught his glance and asked frankly, “Well, what is it you really want?“
He reiterated all his potential business ventures, the countries he wanted to visit, the friends that provided so many opportunities for him… all with a twinge of annoyance as if to question whether or not I had even been listening.
All these if-then statements came tumbling out in a rant, “if I moved here… then I’d feel“, “if I worked there… then I’d make…” blah, blah, blah.
He was losing sight of the daylight, the wind through the trees, and luxury of just sitting having someone listen to you ramble incoherent empty thoughts over coffee.
He had swerved, and I was tempted to sway with him into this over-dramatic self-indulgence presented under the guise of constructive conversation — but I was frustrated, and wanted some resolve.
“But… what do you want?”
In desperation, he threw his hands in the air, yelling, “I Don’t Know What I Want, Jes!“
“If you don’t even know what you want, then maybe you don’t deserve anything — the world doesn’t owe you happiness, you have to make it… find some passion and try contributing to something Bigger Than Yourself.”
It flew out of my mouth as fast as he’d finished speaking… I couldn’t take it back, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to.
I watched his breathing change and eyes narrow.
I thought he might flip the table over… no one had ever spoken to him like that before, and I’m sure it was the last thing he expected to hear from me.
We sat in silence watching the cars go by.
I mulled it over in mind.
Everyday life is the hard part.
Not because it’s necessarily difficult, but because it’s a clear and honest version of you… your choices, your friends, your passion, your contribution to society… and all the reasons you get out of bed in the morning.
The monotony of having to do your own damn laundry, pay bills, drive in traffic, work long hours… there has to be a reason for doing it all. And if you don’t make peace with the humdrum business of living, you might just be out there floundering between fleeting moments.
Looking for quantum leaps, awaiting serendipitous perfection.
Never at all satisfied with yourself.
Scared to be alone with your own thoughts.
When instead, you could be building, growing, and truly savoring the fruits of your daily labor. Finding joy in the everyday miracles that happen upon us.
Because that’s all we really have.
One day at a time.
This life is purposeful. It should be meaningful… to more than just you.
Sitting in silence, my heart was pounding… but then a warm hand moved over mine and squeezed it softly, and in a whisper, I heard, “Touché, sweetheart… you’re right.”
I didn’t want to be right, I wanted him to be happy… but these things take time, and if I’d only listen to my own advice, I’d realize other people’s happiness has never been in my control.
He drove me home in peaceful silence, and as we pulled up to my apartment complex he stuttered, “You know if you ever need anything, I’m here for you, whatever it is, doesn‘t matter.”
Apparently a wave of altruism had come over him.
I didn’t belittle the gesture, I knew he was trying.
We said our goodbyes and he was off.
He’s been all over the world since, and I wonder if in all his wandering he’s found a passion worth pursuing.
And if he’s really happy.
It’s a peculiar thing to be honest with one another… about how we see each other. How we feel underneath the pleasant surface.
In a homily once, I heard the priest say, “It’s a good thing we can’t see each other’s souls… they’re wounded, dark, and aching… wanting so much more. Luckily we have attractive exteriors to hide the fact that we’re all broken people.”
I really liked this counter-idea in opposition to the typical everyone has a beautiful soul bullshit.
The truth is, we need each other. We need to act in love towards one another to make it all worthwhile.
To create beauty within the struggle.
To find a reason for the madness.
To share in the happiness we make.
And with an adamant fervor… to offer something far more than ourselves to this world.