I came across this abandoned post today when I came back to the blog at the request of a friend. I honestly don't know why I didn't publish it when I wrote it. Obviously, something distracted me. That happens a lot, actually. Interestingly, I've had a fairly stressful year or two since writing this up (thus the temporary abandonment of the blog). In spite of that, I find it still rings true for me today ... which was actually very encouraging to discover. So, I'm hitting the publish button. I only added one word ... writing ... plus a comment. Other than that, it remains as originally written. I hope you find some wisdom in it. Or hope. But no typos.
Taking a brief respite from recipes today. I had a thought this morning (while mixing up bread dough, so this isn't completely off track from my other posts). It was interesting enough that I wanted to get it down and maybe even share it because, well, it felt like there was something important in there. So, anyway, it occurred to me (as things often do when I'm cooking) that if I were to make three lists ... Stuff I Want, Stuff I Need and Stuff Missing From My Life ... they would look very, very different.
Take the first one: Stuff I Want. I won't bore you with the entire list. Let's just say it would be huge. I mean, gargantuan. I'm the kind of person who doesn't just have one Amazon Wish List ... I have like 15. Seriously. Stuff for me, stuff for the house, stuff for the shop ... it goes on and on. All stuff I want. (Not even getting into my lists for other people.) Some I want more than others, but it all falls under want for some reason or other. I know. It's embarrassing.
Compare that to my second list: Stuff I Need. Truth is, this one is actually pretty short. For example, I need a new roof on half of my house. We replaced the other half last summer and will take care of the rest this year, but I still need it at the moment. (Note: we finished the roof work since I wrote this, but I left it as is since it properly depicted where I was at the time.) I need a new septic tank. I need to have the fluids changed in my Jeep. And I need someone to make a really, really good coffee ice cream bar without any nuts. (Okay, "need" might be a bit of a stretch on that last one, but not much.) That's pretty much all I can come up with, believe it or not.
Now, let's look at that last list: Stuff Missing From My Life.
*waits a few beats*
I got nothing.
Seriously, even after writing up my "needs" list, I can't come up with anything that is really missing from what I have. For instance, my roof may need replaced, but I have one. Same with the septic tank. My Jeep may need some routine maintenance, but it currently runs fine. And as for the ice cream bars, well, that's a close one but there are some salted caramel ones out there that do almost as well.
I have all the necessities ... food, shelter, clothing, companionship, money to pay my bills. I have lots of luxuries ... computer, tablet, camera, TV ... the list could go on. I have tons of nature ... my garden, greenhouse, tadpoles, birds, snakes, chipmunks. I have entertainment and hobbies ... cooking, writing, gaming, painting, woodworking, reading, hiking, photography, etc. I have challenges ... take random items from any other category mentioned above and you'll find tons of them. Could I add others? Sure. Are they really "missing" ... as in there is a noticeable hole or absence where they should be? Nope, not at all.
Don't misunderstand. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with wanting stuff. Wanting, in my opinion, is a good thing. It motivates us. Gives us things to strive for. Keeps life changing and moving forward. Those are all good things. As, of course, is satisfying all our essential needs. But, to realize ... I mean really, really realize ... that there is nothing truly lacking in the life you are leading, well that is a truly awesome feeling.
So, what does this all mean? I'm honestly not really sure. I guess my point here (assuming I actually have one ... I don't always) is that I think every once in awhile we need to set aside thoughts about what we want or even what we need. Instead, maybe, look for what is missing. Hopefully, like me, you'll discover not much, if anything. But, if you DO find something, I think that is where your focus really needs to be. Fill that void. It's worth it. Contentment could rest just on the other side.