On wanting

There’s a question I’ve been wrestling with for the last few months and I can’t for the heck of me figure out the answer. I could use some help, or at least some strong opinions.

I’ve stopped wanting things.

I don’t know whether that’s a good thing – some kind of enlightenment, or a bad thing – a state of mild depression.

I used to want things so badly. Wanting’s been the fuel that powered my engine. It’s done amazing things for me.

When I was a miserable, scared teenager in some god-forsaken village who dropped out of high school I ached for a very different life. I ached to lo live in London or New York City, to have friends, to have a cool apartment – I wanted it so badly. When I was lonely and poor, I wanted to not be lonely and poor anymore.  I wanted to find another human being to whom I could open up to. I wanted to be able to talk to people without feeling deeply scared or ashamed. I wanted to go to a great university. I wanted to study art and have my work in galleries. I wanted to quit working for other people and be in charge of my own life. Work whenever I want for whoever I want. Take time off, and do things I love.

Want, want, want.

Much of it seemed impossible at the time, but I wanted it all so freakin’ badly, I made it happen, every single last bit of it.

And now, I’ve stopped wanting things. And I’m not sure if I like it.

I got a great life. A lovely husband, and a strange marvel of a kid. I try and make the world around me a little better – I volunteer for a couple of causes, and also help out in other informal ways. I’m ridiculously grateful for the big things and the little things. Music, art, nature, walking, talking, food.

And yet.

That existential ache for something you don’t have is such good kryptonite. It makes you jump out of bed in the morning. It gives you energy. It forces you to do things you’re scared of. It gives direction. It makes emotions more extreme.

I miss it.

I don’t know what happened.

Is not wanting anything anymore good (some kind of nirvana)? Or is it bad (some kind of anhedonia)?

redon, grand palais, le noyé


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