What Makes Wanting Worth It


Even my four-year-old cousin, Jade, knew two hundred bucks was too much to ask for admission into a carnival. It wasn't really that much. My sister just found the magic response to give a child when they see a sign for a carnival and start begging you to go. Turns out children can understand economics too.

It's easy for me to remember when wanting something with all your heart forced you to kick and scream and roll on the floor. Wanting something kept my guts twisted on Christmas Eve night when I was a child, waiting for the earliest acceptable time to wake my parents and go downstairs for presents.

Now wanting something scares me.

We consume so easily. Because we can. Because we want to. There is such an abundance that binge-watching television is a thing. And I don't know about you but there is no average amount of cookies I can eat. If there is a sleeve or a plate available, it's in danger.

There is even an Internet rule for this model of wanting called the 1% Rule. The idea is that in an Internet community only 1% creates content while the other 99% consume it. 

It's just too easy to tip the scale. We forget someone has to create all this stuff and we simply devour. But I think a healthy fear of wanting keeps priorities in order. Then again, I'm no spokesman. I made myself a fearful martyr, cautiously waiting five weeks after moving to Redwood City to buy a boxspring. Before, I was sleeping on a mattress inches from the floor. Perhaps I'd be better suited if a zombie apocalypse required a minimalist lifestyle, but bearing that, what am I doing?

I found comfort in the beginning of Eat, Pray, Love. Liz Gilbert starts to admit her own "baby-step wants" after a long time of suffering through an unfulfilling marriage, and then a terrible divorce. It was so simple it broke my heart. She admitted to herself:

I want to go to a Yoga class.
I want to leave this party early, so I can go home and read a novel.
I want to buy myself a new pencil box.

Our wants reveal something about us. They deserve the time and respect to make them worthy.

Like the great Earl Simmons, better known as the asthmatic gangster DMX, said, "What ya really want?

Sometimes I think, why not stick my hand in the fire?

That's the case when I saw Whole Foods had venus fly traps for sale. I've always wanted one and it was only five dollars. So I bought one. Her name is Aubrey.

And it makes me feel odd, but I want a bicycle. And a motorcycle. And I want to go to the movies. And watch SNL and the Great British Baking Show on Netflix. (Yeah, watch it.) And I want to start a podcast review website because I listen to almost twenty regularly. And build my own business well enough I can travel the world, working remotely. And who doesn't want to find someone awesome to spend their days with?

It only seems right that if we're going to want something, we should offer something too. Yes, something more than the work we do with our days. Because most of the time that's not our work. We're playing games and procrastinating. We can do so much more.

Sometimes that offering is as simple as appreciation. Take a moment and a breath to realize how lucky you are to get what you want. Or to want itself. Because, as Tim Ferriss says about being truly wealthy, "If you don't appreciate what you have now, you'll never appreciate what you get later."

What do you have to offer?