In February, I could not bear dark inks in my fountain pens. I wanted violet, spring green, and soft pink to write and draw with. I wanted coral and turquoise; I wanted bright and lively. I emptied and flushed all my pens, then refilled them with the spring colors I craved in the world.
At the time, I thought, I will never want to change these colors. They are perfect. They are bright and cheerful and fill me with joy. I love summer and I want it to be summer forever. Therefore I will always want to surround myself with these lovely hues.
Then September arrived. And though the trees hadn’t started changing yet, I found myself passing over the pens with bright cheery inks when I sat down to write. I wanted the pumpkin orange, the garnet, the sepia. I dumped all my pens again and filled them with a deep ivy green, a plum purple, a midnight blue.
I recently read something or listened to a podcast, I can’t remember which, that talked about how what we want ten years from now will likely be different from what we want right now. To illustrate this point, they invited the reader/listener to think back to where they were in their lives ten years ago.
At first, I couldn’t even remember where I lived ten years ago. I checked my LinkedIn profile and saw that ten years ago, I was just re-entering the workforce after staying home with our kids for eight years. I didn’t even have my blog yet. We lived in Minnesota and I had a part-time job at Barnes & Noble. Our time in Minnesota was temporary, and we had spent our whole married lives moving from place to place: Georgia to Maryland to Florida to Maine to Minnesota.
Ten years ago, I thought I wanted to settle down somewhere; wherever we went from Minnesota, I wanted it to be our forever home. I was tired of moving, and I wanted to put down roots. Ten years ago, I had a part-time job running a cash register at a book store and had no idea what I wanted from a career. Ten years ago, my world was small, and it didn’t occur to me to want it to be bigger.
Now, we’ve lived in Blacksburg for nine years — the longest we’ve ever lived in one place — and I no longer want roots and permanence. When the kids move out, I’m ready to pull up stakes and travel. A lot, and for long periods of time. Now, I have a deeply satisfying career, and I know I want to keep doing work that fulfills my personal mission. Now my world is big — on a daily basis, I share laughter and meaningful conversations online with friends and colleagues in time zones across the world — and I want to keep it that way.
What I want now has changed from what I wanted ten years ago, and will likely change again ten years from now. This feels liberating: we don’t have to be static. We can change our minds, we can change what we want. What a stifling bore life would be if we could not.
One thought on “What we want can change”
Yes, I can so relate. My life is so different now than it was ten years ago. These days having roots and wanting permanence seems a thing of the past. I love that we’re travelling and it feels like life is just as it’s meant to be. Warmest wishes to you Andrea.
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