I Just Want...
I've learned a lot about my wants over the past few years.
Typically, when I'm immersed in city life on either coast, I just want some time in nature... a snowy Canadian day with no priorities, a cabin in the woods, a beach day, a seat next to the fire under the stars.
When I'm on tour, I just want a kitchen of my own. A table to put flowers on, a thick cutting board and a good knife for cutting up fruit, or chopping salsa ingredients. I just want plants to water and the same bed every night with my warm, sleepy lover. I want to pour my own coffee in an oversized clay mug and relax in a room full of my own art and memories.
When I'm working 4-6 days/week in restaurants, I just want a break. A performance contract that will take me away from the dross of rolling silverware and tapping POS screens, or a trip somewhere new.
When I'm stuck in traffic, I just want a sidewalk table with a coffee and a book, maybe a cookie or a burrito with homemade pico. Or I want a lightweight bicycle and a breeze on my face. I want to skip the search for parking and just U-lock my trusty frame and wheel to a metal signpost.
When I'm on a cramped subway at 7am, I just want the open road: my own playlists and podcasts and my own private space to work out my songs and lines and feelings.
When I'm scrolling through social media, I just want everything to be easier: having fun and showing off my craft without fueling an addiction to my device, getting people I know and don't know to care about social issues and their fellow human beings, avoiding crappy ads, feeling generally inspired and uplifted rather than hopeless, overwhelmed, and less-than. I also want to delete all my apps and leave my emails to rot. I want to write paper letters and print photos.
In the lulls between jobs, I just want to be busy: bouncing from project to project and endlessly creating/executing new visions. I want efficient routines and that feeling of true accomplishment when I finally collapse into bed. I want that breath of relief that comes with knowing the bills will definitely get paid, all year long, maybe even sign up for health insurance one of these days.
On busy days, when every half hour is blocked off for work and emails and appointments, when sleep takes a backseat to writing and editing and self tape deadlines, I just want to stop and water the marigolds. I want to cook a feast and sit across from Bae, riffing off of memes and puns and quizzing each other on old memories. I want to lose track of time in a Koreatown spa, and all but relinquish my self and my punishing schedule.
When I'm stuck at home in COVID-19 lockdowns, I just want gatherings and travel to be safe again. I want to wander the outdoor kiosks at Smorgasburg, trying individually priced morsels ranging from yogic health consciousness to salty, crispy grease. I want sushi bars and artisanal cocktails in live music speakeasy's. I want to flip cheesy steamed pork buns at the summer night market in Arcadia all day, breaking every so often to nosh on a vegan bun and sip a cold Sapporo. I just want any excuse to plan a trip across the world: Italy or Greece, Taiwan, New Zealand, a road trip out of London or Ireland or Wales. I want to haggle with internet flight prices and coordinate potential work opportunities or friends who might have me abroad. And I want to cross that damned Canadian border to be with my family. I don't care if it's mosquitoey or 40 below or that misty grey phase between warm and frigid. No weather could stop me from nuzzling the cat, going through my mom's closet or my brother's record collection, or sipping Prosecco and slowly beating everyone at Hearts until the sun comes up. It's just what I want.
I don't know if you've noticed, but I've been using the wrong phrase.
There is no 'just' when it comes to wanting things. There is only 'also'.
The 'just' in 'I just want" is BOTH an excuse to avoid gratitude, and a placeholder for limited worthiness. "If I'm worthy of one thing, I want it to be: __________. This thinking makes very little sense. We are endlessly worthy of and allowed to want many things. Everything we do and see and experience creates new desires in us. Why limit them? Just because they probably won't manifest instantly doesn't mean those desires aren't important, useful, and delicious.
Living in "I just want" places us either in perfectionist mode (everything would finally be perfect if blah!) or suffering mode (everything is probably going to be awful unless blah!)
It probably won't happen right away, but I'm phasing out 'I just want' from my every day lexicon. I want a lot of beautiful, achievable things, and I also think that what I have is infinitely, indescribably special. I am thankful, and I also want more, in a cyclical dance that, I think, is meant to be more satisfying than torturous.
I *also want you to have a wonderful evening. :)