Friday, November 16, 2007


I began to realize it when Maude and I lived together after college.

We'd known each other since we were born, you know? Well, since I was born. She was born six weeks before me. We were practically siblings. Except that we'd grown up in different families. And much of the time in different countries, actually.

But we had, and still have, the kind of rapport, the kind of closeness, that is often limited to family. The close-as-skin closeness. The you can say anything, and do, and even if they temporarily hate you, they will always love you kind of closeness.

So you get used to knowing close people the way they are. And then you have a sudden epiphany.

"Don't you ever want anything?"

She never wanted. When given a choice between A or B, she could never choose. When asked if she'd prefer something else, well, no, it wasn't that she'd rather something else entirely. She just couldn't make a choice.

"But what do you want?"

She didn't want.

She said I was the first person to point this out. "You never want. How can you never want? Just want something!"

What I didn't realize, what took me years to realize, was that I had plenty of the not wanting as well. It's just easier to see in someone else.

Because, you see, if you don't want, you can't be disappointed. You learn this. If I want and I can't have, it will leave a hole for ache to stretch out in. But if I don't want, it will be OK. I can't get hurt if I don't wish. I can't feel like I'm missing out on something I never hoped to have.

And eventually you stop wanting. You stop preferring X over Y. Either would be fine. If you can't have one over the other, you don't care. In fact, if you wind up with neither, that's fine too. Because you didn't want in the first place.

It's not a charade; it's not martyrdom. You can actually learn to turn off the wanting. And pressed for a choice, you truly don't know what to pick. You don't feel it. In fact, there are a lot of things you don't feel.

Not wanting is not difficult. The hard part is when you turn it back on.

Wanting sets you up for not getting. Wanting is risk. Wanting? Wanting is scary.


  1. 4 Noble Truths of Lemon Gloria:

    1) Life sucks
    2) Wanting makes life suck
    3) There's a way to turn off Wanting
    4) Lemon Gloria is one of the ways for life to stop sucking.

  2. Jordaan's comment is great.

    I find I rarely want anything, except for things to go back to the way they were. It's not living in the past exactly, just wanting as little change as possible.

    Wanting if a form of being out of control. I need to be in control and like to know what's going to happen. All I know for sure is what has happened already in life.

  3. Want want want. The word WANT is starting to look and sound really weird.

    Anyway... Interesting! Recently I wanted something -- a cute purse actually -- but it was at a craft market, I had no cash, and we had to get back on the road. I was really disappointed, but decided to use the opportunity to practice on letting go. It was good exercise.

    Best part: by the time M. gave it to me the next day -- he'd snuck back and got it for me -- I had so thoroughly let go of it in my mind that I was completely surprised.

  4. Great post. I agree, it IS hard to want again after having suppressed the emotion for so long.

  5. That is an excellent description. Also, congrats on the NaBloPoMo halfway point.

  6. The pangs of the wanting wane a bit, once you realize there's a science to it all. For me, invariably what I end up with, whether I actually wanted it or not...ends up being the best. When you can seamlessly make thing A, just as good as thing B, you end not caring what you get. There's limits to this of course but appreciation is the key.

    Theres a bit of real world alchemy involved (as opposed to actual alchemy of course).

    I always use friends and family as an example. You didn't know you wanted or needed them...but you most likely wouldn't dare change them if you got the chance.

  7. Jordaan - I adore you, my friend.

    HKW - You are absolutely right! I didn't realize that, but wanting is being out of control. Which is scary.

    A.S. - Whenever I write or say the word pink too many times it's the same way. Pink pink pink. And glad you got the purse as a present!

    DCB - Thank you. It is, it definitely is.

    Shannon - Thank you! And wow - half way - yay!

    HBMS - Hmm. Interesting to think about it that way.


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