Knowing What You Want

Knowing what you want out of life can be an exceedingly difficult thing. It is one thing to know what you want at any given moment, but another thing entirely to know what you want in the long run. I tend to think there are certain things that generally everyone wants out of life such as a good job, a steady income, love (with a partner), a place to call home, stability and independence. These things are bordering on necessities rather than desires; needs more than wants, however.

I think on an individual level, people want more specific, and perhaps deeper things out of life. In one of my classes this year, I had to write a paper that determined what it is that makes life worth living by using the ideas of two philosophers that we had studied. I used Aristotle and St. Augustine’s ideas and determined that it is happiness in or by goodness that makes life worth living. It is being able to rejoice in goodness.

This however, does not explain what people want. Sure, it can keep you going, but I believe that this is actually the bare minimum in terms of what people need to be truly happy. People who believe in God and believe that He is good and rejoice in His goodness can still be otherwise miserable without the other things that I specified above.

The fact of the matter is, every individual wants the basics and something more. Everyone has a yearning for something. Some people want to find their perfect place; a place that is so close to heaven they can taste it. Others want to master something. Still others want to somehow, somewhere, sometime save a life. These are long-term-once-in-a-lifetime goals. Some people meet them sooner than others. I think once people meet their long-term-once-in-a-lifetime goal, they find a sense of peace. I have seen this in people. I think this is why some people seem to be fighting and striving, even when we don’t understand why.

More than anything, I want to save a life. I spend more time fantasizing about this than you’d even believe. The fantasy is always different. Sometimes I save a person from a tragic accident, sometimes from a sickness, and sometimes from deep sadness. For some reason, I strongly believe that there is someone out there who I am eventually going to save. I’ve actually held this belief since I was a child. I don’t remember how old I was when I started fantasizing about this, but I may have been as young as five or six.

When I got older and picked up the guitar, I began to have more musical ambitions. I had dreamed about being a rock star ever since I was eight years old. When I was fifteen I learned to play the guitar and when I was 16 or 17 I started writing songs and performing at open mics. Even though I had far more ambitious goals in my mind, I am perfectly happy with where I am now in terms of music. I have gone as far as I need to, and although I will continue to learn more and become better, I am entirely satisfied with where I am now. Music is my peace. When I play guitar, I am entirely calm; not always happy, but at peace with the world. In the past couple of years, I’ve been picking up other instruments and slowly teaching myself. It is a slow process, but I enjoy it more than anything else. It gives me a sense of accomplishment when I master something new on the drum or learn a new technique on the guitar, or figure out a new chord on the mandolin or adapt a song from one instrument to another. I have reached my musical Nirvana.

 

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