A rare and awkward question that many of us don’t hear for decades, especially when we are busy being all things, to all people, raising kids, earning money, and being the wife, daughter and friend we want to be.
But there comes a point around middle age, sometimes sooner, when we may start to feel a bit robotic. Going through the motions, checking the boxes, rolling from one holiday season or life event or kids sporting practice to the next. Then one day we ask ourselves: “Is this what I want?”
The internal dialogue that (hopefully) follows is sometimes torturous, not having focused on our own needs, desires, aspirations for several decades the question is just a tough one. We aren’t used to indulging in such a conversation. But once we begin this self inquiry and ask the question, we feel increasingly compelled to answer.
When presented with this question, most people respond: “I want to be happy” or “I want peace.” This is arbitrary and vague, akin to sitting down at a restaurant (which we all MISS in these COVID times) and putting in a dinner order.
When the waiter asks “What do you want?” We reply “I want to be satiated.” Or “I want to enjoy my meal.” There are so many things on the menu, how could anyone guess what that looks like for you?
The truth is, most of us just don’t know. If you traveling on the long road of self-discovery as I am, you may not know either. But I know this: We are worthy of uncovering this for ourselves and getting clarity on the answer.
It is a process, not an exercise. Next time you have a free mental moment, waive the magic wand (as they say in Optimize.me). Close your eyes and create your best life. What do you see? Who/what is there? How do you spend your days? Where are you geographically? How do you show up?
If you don’t yet have real clarity on your answer(s), try carving out some time to allow your imagination to soar. Take the limits off of what you “think” is possible and ask yourself what you really want. Then write it down. Ask again, then right that down. Repeat daily.
Eventually, when the waiter says “What to you want?” Without pause you answer: A 6 oz. filet cooked medium well, cauliflower rice, a salad with blue cheese crumbles and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. And a glass of Malbec.
Have fun with this!