Monday, March 20, 2006

Getting to Know You

Sometimes I wish life were as simple as the media portray it. If they were right, then women everywhere and without exception would want chocolate and jewelry for Valentine's Day, wool or a desk set for the eighth anniversary, and silky lingerie every day of the year.

But life isn't that simple. Any man who gives me chocolate (I'm a butterscotch kind of woman) or jewelry (I'm a seeds-for-the-garden kind of woman) will get a swift kick out of my life for being unwilling to take the time to learn what I really want.

Life gets even more complicated when we consider more important matters than chocolate and jewelry (or butterscotch and seeds). The amorphous "they" tell us we should want something, and yet, deep down inside where we may even be afraid to look, we want something completely different.

Some of what they tell me I should want are things I know they're right about – starting with regular exercise and the recommended five fruits and vegetables a day – so I'm willing to try to want them. I'm even making progress, if you accept my theory that sugar, which comes from a plant, is a vegetable, or at least a fruit.

Other things, though, I'm just never going to want, and I don't even try to rationalize my disinterest. For me, marriage is one of those major goals I've always been told I should want, but I just don't feel it. Companionship, sure. Sex, of course. Love and happy-ever-after, definitely. But marriage? Um, no.

Same with sexual attraction. It doesn't matter if everyone tells us we should want some man who's perfect in their eyes -- he's so nice and successful and good-looking -- if we don't actually feel the attraction.

We want what we want, even when it's not what we're supposed to want. I've resisted this fact for decades, and I continue to be fascinated by the way people struggle to reach a compromise between what they should want and what they stubbornly insist on actually wanting. As an author, I can experience the subject from a variety of viewpoints, tossing my characters into assorted situations and helping them resolve their shoulds with their actual wants.

So, what about you? I'd love to hear some examples of what you feel you should want, but really couldn't care less about.

16 Comments:

Blogger blackroze37 -tami said...

right now
just plain old romance,,, holding hands, cuddle and watching a movie,, snugglin up to his back, for some reason, putting on his shirt was so nice and felt so good,

1:07 AM  
Blogger Bec said...

Great topic Jan!

I know I've discovered a lot of things about myself recently.

You know I was convinced I wanted a peaceful life. To stay home and be a home-maker and settle into quiet domesticity. A lot of people took a lot of time to convince me that I should want that.

Lately though, I've discovered how much I LOVE what I do. Really. Now that I'm back at work, I feel intelligent, valuable and ALIVE.

Oh and I DON'T want to devote my life to my children. Yes I adore my children, yes I think they're great...but they're one part of my life...not all of it. I'm happy with that.

LOL...this could just go on and on couldn't it? I guess I should leave it at that!

4:30 AM  
Blogger snowflake said...

A car (it's a luxury and status symbol here because of high taxes), landed property (another status symbol of having 'arrived' in life). These are things my parents feel I should want. I think there is so much more to life than just the pursuit of material wants.

7:26 AM  
Blogger Tamara said...

I want a place of my own that my mother doesn't know the address or phone number to, and enough money to live comfortably for the rest of my life.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Sherrill Quinn said...

Right now, people (especially my mother!) keep telling me I need to get a job. My oldest niece (almost 24) keeps asking me how it feels to not work. Not work?!? Like all I'm doing is sitting around eating bon bons all day. Writing's damned hard, I tell her, and it's a LOT of work.

My mother also would like to see me married. I'm okay with not being. And a family (i.e., children) was never something I envisioned myself with. Now, at 43, if I got pregnant for the first time... well, just shoot me now.

No, really. I mean it.

Shoot.

Me.

Now.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Jan Darby said...

I'm so there with all you -- the mother thing, the domesticity thing, the day job thing, the pregnancy thing (at 50? I don't think so) and especially the car thing, only in my case it's a matter of needing a car (I live in the boonies with no public transportation), but wishing they'd make an affordable car that's even smaller than my Toyota Echo.

Have you seen the Sparrow car? It's entirely electric, sort of a triangular, enclosed motorcycle! I so want one, even as the auto industry is still telling me I want bigger and more powerful.

And Bec, are you and your loved ones okay? I haven't read the details of the storm, and my geography is the pits (I should want to know more about geography, but I'm hopeless at it), so I just figured I'd shout out to you.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Y. said...

Hmm...maybe a car...or an immaculate or perfectly decorated house. I couldn't care less about cleaning or scrubbing my bathroom or kitchen until it shines like the commercials. They are clean and that is all that matters. I also know nothing about decorating, but love the lived-in feel of my house with its mismatched furniture and decor. LOL.

12:34 PM  
Anonymous blythespirit said...

We're supposed to focus on having lots of money. I have nothing against it, money is necessary to live, but certainly not the main thing. A loving family, good friends and work that is fulfilling are the keys to happiness.

1:42 PM  
Blogger snowflake said...

Jan, I hear you about the car. Why should everyone want a higher-end, luxury-make, petrol-guzzling car with frills you may not need? Unfortunately, environmental friendly electric cars have still not taken off.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Bec said...

Jan,

Thankyou for asking. Yes we're fine. The cyclone happened further north from where we live and while it was the strongest ever experienced in our state, the eye of it was rather small (only fifty or sixty kilometers). Interestingly there is another following on it's tail!

So far all we've gotten is a little rain and a lovely fresh breeze, which is good for us as we've been drought stricken and on water restrictions for months and months now.

While my garden has been almost dancing in the rain, the devastation in Cairns and that area has been devastating. A large portion of that area is banana and sugar cane crops which attract backpackers(tourist industry) who are in need of a little extra cash. The entire crop of bananas and a lot of sugar cane has been demolished and hundreds and hundreds of people have lost houses as well as cyclones.

Fortunately, the tropics are used to such things and the government has great strategies for getting the citizens back on their feet as quickly as possible. So if you're planning on holidaying there, you still should!

Hehehe, I sound like and advertisement don't I????

3:55 PM  
Blogger Pink Pen said...

Hey Jan, Have you seen the Smart Car? It's about half the size of the Echo... and supposedly much better on gas mileage. They seat 2 people and that's it. You don't have room for much else. Tho they're really small, I drive by them in my Echo Hatchback (LOVE IT) on the highway and think I'd be afraid to drive something that small on the highway. :)

4:25 PM  
Blogger Pamk said...

I wouldn't want to be a stay at home mom. I love my job. And If I won the lottery I believe I could come up with enough hobbies so I wouldn't have to stay at home.

7:49 PM  
Blogger LSB Author, Darragha Foster said...

I'd like my mother to get over the fact that she and my father divorced 30 years ago. She continues to "get hurt" if I spend any time with my father. And I'm 45 years old! It's not like there's a parenting plan...

Both parents are remarried...so it's not like my mother is sitting a dark room all alone...

Shonjir! I cast this into the void and pray the void will protect me!

8:14 PM  
Blogger Jan Darby said...

I haven't seen the Smart Car, and I'm planning to keep my Echo forever (although I wish I'd had access to a hatchback version when I bought my non-hatchback), but if that changes I'll check out the Smart Car. And the Sparrow.

Thanks for visiting, everyone!

10:10 PM  
Blogger Caffey said...

Jan, you really picked up on a good topic that I had to nod in agreement with some of yours you felt and too trying to think of what I felt about things in life that I don't want. Some want to go out, go socialize and all, but for me, I love the comforts of my home, the peace there. Too I know many love movies and some popular TV shows, but I could never get myself into them. Yeah I often say its because I cant hear so I don't go to the theatre, but thats part of it but too because some may find them to be the same joys I find with reading. Those are two I can think of now, but i'm sure there is more. I guess its what makes us feel comfort, and safety with who we are when we can just follow our own feelings.
Cathie

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me, the thing that many others want and think that I should want is a large home. Don't get me wrong, I want a place that has enough room for me and my books. But to me, a large home is just more spaces I have to clean and tidy.

Little Lamb Lost

3:41 AM  

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