Robert Williams

On Wanting

17 December 2023

I suspect that getting what you want is generally not satisfying, and that's because we don't know what is good for us. I spend a lot of time wondering what I want, worrying about it, and pursuing it. Specifically, I tend to focus on finding a partner, advancing my career, recreating, relaxing, and buying things. It's exhausting to keep track of what I want, and to pursue it. And the cycle generally doesn't make me happy. Some of the best things in my life were not things that I wanted, but happy accidents. They include: skiing, canyoneering, Susan, literature, ultimate frisbee, climbing, and being in a rock band. All of these things came to me through other people--I didn't seek them out. In the case of climbing and canyoneering, I was actively against them, but my friends/family made me try. Yet I love all these things. A notable exception to the list is programming, which I feel that I found on my own. Yet embedded programming is surprisingly fun, and I merely stumbled onto it in college. My takeaway from these experiences is that I have virtually no idea what I'll like and what is good for me, so I should try many things with an open mind, rather than focusing on things I think I'll enjoy. Wanting is for suckers.