There is a space between wanting, and needing. Each leaves a void in our lives, but obviously not all require attention, or fulfillment.

Wanting: Loosely defined as desiring something that is either attainable, or completely out of reach. Wanting, craving, desiring, all players on the same team, each with their own depth, and urgency. Personally, I believe wanting carries the heaviest weight. It’s a burden of jealousy, a burden of envy, and mostly, a burden of greed. Of course, this is my personal dance with wanting. Most people want freely and never give any thought to how wanting makes them feel other than the empty space of what they are seeking and how it can be filled. I on the other hand battle wanting like a storm cloud on a sunny day.

My experience with wanting often leads to disappointment. The shiny green bag of chips at the mall cafe called to me when I was three. I wanted them. I needed them. I begged for them and instead of crunchy salty snacks, I got a slap on my bum and a raised voice lecture about not throwing tantrums over things I’m not allowed to have.

I couldn’t have a spot in the dance class I wanted because I was “too fat for ballet.” I couldn’t date the boys I wanted in high school because I was too awkward, and too weird.

Wanting as an adult with discretionary income isn’t any easier. In my current life, I don’t have a voice to anything that I could substantially want. A beach vacation? Out of the question because my travel group doesn’t like the idea. Dinner at my favourite restaurant? Not happening because one person doesn’t like the food. Where we live? Not up to me. Home decor? I have no say. There is virtually no point to me wanting anything because when I do, I either settle for disappointment, or if I do get my way, I feel guilty for someone else not being happy.

Obviously, I make decisions for myself for some things. I purchase my own clothes, I select my own foods; I’m not totally under a thumb. I struggle though with wanting. “What do you want for your birthday?” Do I have a list? Absolutely! Will I share my list with anyone who asks? Nope. Why? Why do I hold onto my wants like a child with a lollipop? It’s simple, I don’t want my wants to become someone else’s burden. Why should someone seek out what I am looking for? Why should someone put me above themselves to find me a gift? Why should I have something frivolous? It’s not necessary. If I truly WANT it, I’ll find a way to provide it for myself. If I can’t, then I’ll live without it.

For me, wanting makes me feel greedy. I can’t stand greed. I feel guilty every time I WANT something. I feel guilty having so much when I know people who have so little. I feel guilty knowing that I have what other people dream of, yet wanting makes me feel so ungrateful and so unsatisfied.

I struggle feeling the difference between wanting, and needing. I clearly NEED food to survive, but do I need the fancy, expensive vegan foods that I buy? Maybe? Maybe not? Can I live without the most amazing vegan brie? Probably, but why should I have to? Then again, why shouldn’t I be able to? Why shouldn’t I be able to sacrifice what I want so that someone else can have what they NEED?

I live in a constant paradox of never knowing if I’m doing enough for myself, or too much. I am constantly aware of how much I take, rather than how much I give. I strive for a balance between appreciation, gratitude, and humility in life. I doubt I’ll ever achieve it though. I have long engrained in myself that I don’t deserve to want. Every time I purchase a new outfit, or book, I feel greed. Every time I treat myself to a cart full of delicious food, I feel guilt. I don’t know how to achieve the balance that my life so desperately needs. I don’t know how to want without feeling like a guilty, greedy, brat.

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