On Want

Written by Mike Parish, Illustrated by Dan Tarnowski
On Want

It’s easy to want. It just sort of happens. A signal is triggered in one’s brain telling them they really need something. With some effort, one can get the things they want, but then the cycle just starts all over.

Want propels its own nature; if one gets what they want then either they are happy for a short period of time before a new desire blossoms or they realize quite quickly that they didn’t actually want what they got in the first place. Part of this is due to the fact that life never works out the way we plan it; the other part has to do with where and in what happiness is sought.

For a few months I had been debating with myself about the need for a laptop computer. The desktop computer I have, though seven years old, has been upgraded to many of the same standards of today in terms of speed, reliability, etc. Really, the only thing I would have gained was portability and I had convinced myself that having that would be the end to all of the world’s problems.

But something inside of me refused to agree, made me consider why. Why did I actually want such a device? What did I actually need it for?

My two biggest hobbies, writing and music, were the reason. A laptop makes it possible to go virtually anywhere and do anything, and I had a lot of romantic ideas about sitting in the woods at night and recording songs or of being sprawled out in the middle of a field somewhere under the sun, typing away. But the more I considered this, the stranger it started to seem.

What I actually wanted was not to do these things outside, but to actually just be outside more. Why did I need a laptop to be outside? And why did I need a laptop to write? To make music?

All I really need to pursue my interests is a notebook, a pen and a guitar. Since I already have these things, I can’t want them anymore. I could want nicer notebooks and $200 pens and guitars that Jimi Hendrix threw up on, but this just starts the whole cycle all over again.

With wants, our minds or hearts or both decide it’s time to make a problem for us to solve, the solution to which we believe will make our lives better, even if we already have it good. That is even the problem sometimes: everything is so right with us that we need something to occupy our thoughts.

Wants need to be considered carefully. They can make life a very unhappy and confusing venture if pursued for the wrong reasons. A lot of times, the actual act of wanting is better than the actual act of getting. And no one ever wants a problem, though that is what most wanting begets.

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