Working out what you want…

What a weighted title! How on earth do you work out what you want in life?

Experiences I guess is the most obvious way. You do something, you determine if you like it or not and that shapes the decisions in the future about whether or not to do that thing again, or something like it, or something completely opposite to it.

For example, I didn’t think I liked exercise. I started out small with the plan of getting fit – luckily I had a beautiful track to start walking on. Then I started jogging. Then I started running. I now love to run, the more I run, the more I love to run. I felt the same with cycling, with hiking, with camping. I learnt that I love being active and I love being outdoors seeing new things, so I seek more of those experiences now, I want more of those experiences in my life.

… But that’s not really what I mean by what you want from life, that’s a deep question, a harder question to answer.

Am I just making it harder than it really is though?

Trying to look at it simplistically, trying to break it down to the core wants and build up from there…

I want to be happy.

I want to be a good friend to my friends.

I want to be a good partner to my partner.

I want to be a good member of my family.

I want to leave everything a little better than I found it, whether it’s a place I visit or person.

I want experiences.

I want to be challenged.

I want to be constantly learning.

I want to always improve.

I want to be out of my comfort zone and feel comfortable.

I want to contribute.

I want to give back.

Ants in Schools – a project I started this year that allows me to at least get out and give back to communities in some small way…

In essence, I want to be happy, I want to be challenged, I want to be good.

Is that too much to want? Now I know the kinds of things I want at my core, but building up from there, how the heck do I get these things? Where do I start?

I remember hearing a podcast from ABC Radio Nationals Health program about Cancer of Unknown Primary¬†and listening to the words of Jane, who died from her cancer, it really shook me. I want the same legacy she wanted, to be good and to help others. She questioned why people put off doing the things they want to do and it makes me wonder the exact same thing. If I want to travel the world and experience the different cultures and people and lives, what’s stopping me? If I want to stick it to the standard and not have a house and mortgage and be married with 2.3 fat kids, what’s stopping me? If I want to love hard and fall even harder, what’s stopping me?

What is stopping me!?


Do I make those decisions where I’m not certain of the outcome? Do I take those leaps that lead me somewhere I’ve never been, that push my boundaries and make me feel uncomfortable? Do I risk hurting others, losing people I love?

Fearing the unknown is a powerful thing, but I almost feel it’s ridiculous. We don’t know the future, we can have a pretty good guess at some outcomes, but nothing ever works out the way you plan – and what’s so wrong with that? I’ve always thought a bit of drama, of things going wrong, helps to build character, helps to teach you important lessons hopefully, and always makes for a good story – and if there is one thing I love, it’s a good story!

So what do I do? How do I figure out what I want?

A lot of thinking, well, a lot more thinking. Some talking probably helps, some advice, some ideas from others… Then hopefully decide, and do it…

Any suggestions? I’m pretty sure some of you have been through some life changing decisions in the past, what got you through? How did you decide what to do and have you learnt from it?

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2 thoughts on “Working out what you want…

  1. we don’t have religions and traditions to fall back on now, which makes the future even more unclear (but even more exciting!).
    well i guess my sufferings from my previous relationship brought great strength to myself. it still haunts me to this day, but the greatest lesson learnt would be to treasure what the relationship went through and apologizing, because the relationship meant much more than just the ego itself :)

  2. Make a list of the things you want to do, why you want to do them and what the good and bad possible consequences of doing these things be. Then make a list of what it would take to get to do those things. Now think about how much do you want to do these things and are you willing to do the steps to get there?
    I find it an interesting exercise in what I want and what it would take to get where I want to be. What would I have to give up to get something. Would I be willing to do the things necessary to achieve that? What if I failed, what would I lose, and would that be so awful? I don’t always know if I will succeed in what I try to do but I have always learned something.

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