Day: May 15, 2008

Should or Want?

Lately I have been thinking a lot about my motivations in life. Being in between jobs means that most of the activities I participate in are by my own choice. What I mean by that is I don’t have a boss or authority figure telling me how I must use my time. It has caused me to wonder about the following question- how much of my life is dictated by what I want and how much by what I should want. For example, a woman may not want a family but feels that she should want a family; therefore, she forces herself to want a family.

I suppose there is another facet to this question- there are some choices that are based on needs and not wants. For instance, I will eventually have to get a job because I need money but what type of job I get could depend on what impulse I follow more- the wants or the “shoulds”.

There are so many things that I feel like I should want but in reality I have at best mixed emotions on. I should want a family. I’m 27 and Mormon, which means this should be my main desire. In reality, I am content either way. Singleness does not cause the hole in my heart that it does for some girls. I don’t know why. It’s just the way I am. I also should want to be married more than anything else, but in reality I am happy with my life. I am a fiercely independent creature and have yet to find a man that I feel is worthy of sacrificing pieces of that independence. Once I meet such a person I will get married and enjoy that part of life. In the meantime, I am happy.

It also seems like I should be unhappy not working. Shouldn’t I be at home watching soap operas and eating fudge? In reality my job was a great unhappiness in my life for years, and I am now just beginning to recover from the experience. Being unemployed has actually been quite liberating for me. For the first time in a long time I have done something different, something bold, something where I can tell the world that its standards are not going to apply to me and my life. I knew that quiting my job was the right thing to do and nobody will ever convince me otherwise. There is something empowering about that.

There are many other things I feel I should do or be but don’t really want to do or be such as dieting, budgeting, organizing, exercising, driving, dancing, mingling etc. It has made me think- how often do I participate in such activities because I want to do them, or do I feel I should be doing them? Do I feel I should have an organized room (one I clearly don’t follow as my room is super messy) or do I want to have an organized room? Do I feel I should be skinny or do I actually want to be so? Do I feel I should be a career woman or do I want a career? Do I feel I should enjoy dancing, camping, hiking, and running (to name a few) so I vainly try and participate in such activities? Why do I feel I should enjoy such things? I honestly have no idea because I sure don’t enjoy them.

It even comes into my reading. There are definitely books I have read because they are books “every reader should read…”. How stupid is it of me to read something because some person or list thinks I should when it isn’t even a book that I want to read. Granted occasionally such “shoulds” have introduced me to new books that I would not have wanted to read on my own, but still the fact that I am reading to please some imaginary ideal is kind of sad.

Now there are some “shoulds” that are dictated by the Lord such as “I should be morally clean, keep the word of wisdom, read my scriptures etc”. However, hopefully my testimony is strong enough that these choices are my wants as well as the Lord’s. In any case, my Savior is the only person I should be listening to and altering my wants around his directions. The world should not be dictating my choices.

I don’t know if this makes any sense but it has really got me thinking about my choices. As an independent thinker I want to live my life in a fashion dictated by my own thoughts and desires. I don’t want to finish things here on earth having only satisfied a bunch of “shoulds” that probably don’t exist any way. I want to live the life that I uniquely can live- not the life I should live or the one I am supposed to live. Such a life is destined for disappointment because there is no end to the “shoulds” a girl can create. Why we do that instead of just accepting ourselves and our individual choices I don’t know. For me, I am officially through with the “shoulds” and onto achieving the “Rachel’s true passions”. Only then will my life be my success, my journey and my choices.