I spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what I want. Who I want to date. What I want to do with my life. Where I want to live. Who I want to be. I’m running out of concise, fragment sentences, but you get the idea. So I was driving in my car the other day trying to figure out what I was going to write about this week. To be honest – minus one 24 hour run-in with the stomach flu – this week has been pretty freaking solid for a myriad of reasons. Pat on the back me! Slash, it’s so much easier to write though when things are, let’s go with, slightly shy of awesome. Such unfun moments require a little more reflection versus merely basking in my newfound streak of kick-buttedness, and thus they promote more profound pieces of eloquence instead of extended periods of smiling into space (which is just sort of creepy – I need to get that business in order.)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not whining. I’m taking this week a running with it! But, back to my car ride. I was driving along and in such a cliché way (don’t judge me) the Rolling Stones came on, and the phrase that snuck into my consciousness through the various layers of levity: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.” Truth. Ok, I promise I’m not going to get carried away with a bunch of metaphorical extrapolations from this song, but as I took a second to step back and look at my 24 year old life, I couldn’t help but think, oh man – good thing I didn’t get exactly what I wanted. Turns out instead, I got a whole lot of what I needed. Touché world – and to the Stones: nicely put gentlemen.
It’s pretty easy to figure out what you want. It’s really just a projection. You don’t need to delve into the depths of your soul. It doesn’t need to be complex. Want – is essentially the articulation of our most basic desires. It is easy to say that I want to be in some adorable relationship, with some adorable man who fits seamlessly into the romantic comedy that is my fantasy life. Ummm – I am a freaking rock star at writing that narrative. But I have in fact dated that man. Multiple times. The one who on paper totally makes sense, and then I am totally steam rolled when it doesn’t work out, because well shit, it seemed to make perfect sense. Said male fit into exactly what I wanted in a partner. If there is one thing that I have realized while being a 24 year old woman: I have no idea what I want, but I am starting to figure out what I need.
Need (as defined by the Rolling Stones) is not a comfortable thing. It is also not a surface level desire. It exits in those layers of ourselves that we often don’t want to approach, or when we do, to do so with caution. It’s the slightly dark indie movie – the plot that sticks in our minds long afterwards, threatening to change us somehow, instead of the counting down the seconds till our fantasy of life begins a la Love Actually. Need is also elusive. And super annoyingly hindsight dependent. It often isn’t tangible until after the fact, until we have the ability to take a step back and realize, balls, I totally needed that. I totally needed that kick in the face, or that leap of faith into the unknown because without it I wouldn’t be here right now. I wouldn’t be who I am right now, and who I am right now surpasses who I ever wanted to be.
Need is the workout you want to run away from upon declaration. The one that you know from the onset you are going to have to commit to like whoa or else you will lose it. Who really wants to elect themselves for that experience? Seriously? We do not actively seek out struggle. But we need to sometimes. We need to complicate our wants – to add the depth, the intrigue that transforms our wants into our needs. Need sometimes appears to be passive, as it can happen without our realizing it. But we can begin to seek it out, to place ourselves in the scenarios that, and in the company of people who, challenge us – the what and the who we need in order to grow. This is a scary task. No doubt. But is it a vital one? For sure. The workouts, the men or the women, the experiences that we simply want – those may add to us, they may confirm what we already know, but the ones that we need, those are the ones that change us, that define us, and that elevate us beyond what we ever could’ve wanted.