I’ll be honest. I don’t know what I want.
I’m still trying to figure that out.
I know what to say I want to make others happy, but I don’t know what I truly want. I’ve lived my life to please others. Not that being a people-pleaser is all that bad, but as I approach my twentieth birthday, I think it’s time I started to think about and for myself.
One thing I do know is that I want to write about things that I feel passionate about: random issues in life, great food that I’ve eaten, awesome recipes that I tried, my travel adventures… not about things that I should be writing to gain an audience for my blog, or to attract sponsors.
Lately, my posts have been lacking in substance. I know it, and sometimes I’m embarrassed to even post them, given the standard of my writing. But I still do, because that’s what I’m supposed to do as a blogger. It’s my obligation to the company to review them as agreed. It’s a known fact that to grow in the blogosphere, you have to sell your brand and make yourself appear desirable especially with countless sponsorships. But lately, I’ve been asking myself, is that what I truly want? Is there even meaning chasing this ‘ideal’ if what I spend my time writing about isn’t something that I want to? Isn’t there more to it than writing to gain viewership and sponsors?
I know I do not want to become one of those blogs that become like walking advertorials. I do not want to write for the sake of writing. I do not want to do what all the other blogs are doing, just because it’s what has been proven to be popular and accepted by society. I sound so selfish here, but I really want to hold firm to the fact that my blog is here to give an honest view about food, travels and life, and not what society deems as picture perfect. Life isn’t perfect, and my blog aims to showcase just that. The reality.
But I digress. I actually started this post with the intention to get you thinking about what you want. I just can’t think of a better way than to provoke your thoughts by sharing about my own experiences, and hopefully you’ll be able to identify with my struggles, and choose to do something about it!
There are so many areas in life that I struggle with being caught in a limbo between what I want and what others want from you. Even beyond writing, I feel that I often feel a need to meet the (un)spoken expectations that others have of you, and to do what would make them happy.
In your life, there’ll be a period of time where you search for your identity. You’ll feel lost and helpless and scared. This period could last a few months, a couple of years or even a lifetime. And if I could give you only one piece of advice from my short 19 years (almost 20!) of life, it would be to do what makes you happy!
You don’t have to be the smartest, fastest or most successful. But you should follow your passions, no matter what others tell you. You can challenge the limitations that other people impose on you, intentionally or not. If you doubt your own abilities, then all the more you should do what you’ve always wanted to do, but were too scared to do. After all, as Neale Donald Walsch once said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
There is a fine line between a want and a need. In economics, the difference is that a want is something that you would like to have, but don’t necessarily have to have. A need however, is something that you have to have.
For pretty much my whole life so far, I convinced myself that if I ever wanted anything, I should not go ahead with it, because it wasn’t a necessity and would hence be a waste of resources on myself. But I’ve recently come to realize that wanting isn’t a bad thing. Doing what you want can bring you a sense of satisfaction and joy that creates meaning in your life. Perhaps by fulfilling a want, you ultimately fulfill an intrinsic need for happiness and meaning in life.
Oftentimes we’re afraid to say what we want. Perhaps it’s Asian culture. But this leads to over-commitment and stress on our part, and disappointment for our friends. Maybe it’s time to focus our energies on the areas that we really want, rather than spreading ourselves thin over too many commitments.
In fact, I think knowing what we want even comes down to the people we choose to spend our time with. Are you spending your time with people who genuinely support you and encourage you in achieving your goals, or are you surrounded by people who put you down or are secretly in competition with you to win the never-ending race to ‘success’? (Quotation marks since I don’t believe in a single end point for success.) It is an amazing feeling to be surrounded by passionate individuals who inspire and motivate one another in achieving your common goals.
Spend some time this Sunday reflecting on what you want, and thinking about how you could rearrange your life to align with your goals. We have 24 hours in a day, and only 365 days in a year. Time is too short to be spent on things you don’t feel passionate or happy doing. There’s more to life than that.
Let go of stigmas, let go of expectations, let go of others’ opinions. Choose for yourself, because guess what? It’s your life, and no one else can live it for you. With that in mind, I’m ending this post without a proper conclusion, precisely because it’s your life, so you must come to your own conclusion.
What do you want?