Curing the “should” and “wants to want”

I went to a nice public school in a nice suburb and then went to a Big 12 school and got a job after college. I’m grateful for every bit of it, every opportunity presented to me and every part of it that lead to where I am now.

But…as of late I find myself getting confused by what I actually one versus what it feels like I should want as a result of my familiar, cookie cutter surroundings. I’ve noticed that I’ve made decisions in the past that were not something that I wanted. But instead what I wanted to want (my best example of this is when I’m taking those silly little Buzzfeed quizzes. I often find myself not always choosing the things that actually best describe Me, but instead what I wish I was perceived as).

I want to want to drop everything, move to Europe and be an artist’s muse. I want to want to go to a third world country and volunteer. I want to want to sit inside and write poetry all day. I want to want to tend a garden. I want to want to love cooking. I want to want to run another half marathon. I should be a clean freak. I should have it all together and be perfectly polished each day. (because don’t we all want it to look exactly like it does through the lens of a fashion/lifestyle blogger instagram account?) I should want to live in New York City. I should eat clean and work out 24/7.

But, well..I don’t. I love working and being in a routine and being close to friends and family that I’m familiar with. Although I have been thinking I feel a need to start giving back more, I don’t have the urge to drop everything and volunteer away from the people and life I love. I don’t really like writing poetry or sitting all day. I like to clean, but I’m simply messy. When I get dressed I am my own little tornado and I leave coffee mugs all over my room. I can think of a million things I’d rather do than sit in a garden pulling weeds. I get no satisfaction from cooking. Crossing the finish line of my first (and last) half marathon was great, but I literally hated the training for it and my knees have yet to forgive me. I love nature, I love driving, I love feeling safe, I love a slower life, I love having a dog…none of those things fit into the NYC fast paced lifestyle.

I’m not sure where these should’s and wants to want come from, although it’s easy to blame my addiction to Instagram and other forms of media. Perhaps it’s even a confidence issue. Either way, as of late I’ve been checking in with myself. Making sure that the decisions I make aren’t influenced by outside expectations and perceptions. Ensuring that I’m not doing something just because I want others to see me doing it, but instead checking in that whatever I am doing is bringing me true happiness.

As a result, I don’t cook. I make meals for the week as simple and healthy as humanly possible. I have a few small potted plants – the act of watering them soothes me in a way and I like watching them blossom (except for the two flowers I killed, but I digress). I work out a lot. Not because I want to get fit (okay, that’s a lie. I want abs.), but also because I love to sweat and push myself – it feels good. I also try to eat healthy because I like it. I don’t like writing poetry, but I like to read it and books and I had forgotten how much I truly enjoyed blogging. I quit reading one book because I kept falling asleep every few pages (but Colbert had told me to read it so I was forcing myself to get through it) and instead opted for a memoir by Mary Karr who I am now head over heels for her magnificent ability to wield words.

Sometimes it’s a trial by error process in which I need to try a few things on until I can see what fits best. And I think that’s okay.

Simply put, I want to make sure that the activities, people, things and decisions that I spend my time or resources on are the things that are bringing me the most happiness and not just encouraging an image I want to uphold, are a result of comparing myself to others and are not attempts at making myself a person that I’m simply not nor actually wish to be.

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