“What do you want?”
I was on my couch, watching Good Will Hunting and Sean McGuire (Robin Williams) asked Will Hunting (Matt Damon), “What do you want?”
That question stuck with me throughout the remainder of the film as Will tries to find his way– at 20 years old.
I am 42. At 42, I’m on a path. The last few years have thrown good fortune to me and I know that. That has not always been true. Life throws curve balls and I have certainly seen my share. I have swung and missed at many. For many more, I allowed the bat to sit on my shoulder and not take a swing and ended up back in the dugout with nothing to show for it.
The “bat on the shoulder” is not a metaphor I was thinking of when I initially sat down, but it’s the most appropriate. I need to take the bat off my shoulder. I need to get in there and continue swinging at balls as they come in, rather than letting the bat sit on my shoulder while the ball passes me by. I need to continue making opportunities. That’s what I want.
It is far too easy to stay on a path. It’s comfortable. It’s easy. I have been married for ten years. I have two children. I own a small business. I have a home. I’m relatively healthy. Years ago, had I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish, I would be able to check off a good many of those things.
So now at 42, I ask myself: What do I want? I can continue on my path. Or, I can take the bat off my shoulder and take more swings. And leaving the path doesn’t mean blowing up my life. It just means make myself uncomfortable by doing things I don’t (want to) do. Do the things I don’t do. Eat healthier. Work out more than once a month. Write more than once a month. Be more inquisitive. Have questions and force myself to meet people who can answer them. Think more. Continue learning.
What do I want?
I want to take a family vacation. I want my children to experience places other than Chicago.
What I’ve written above sounds like a New Year’s resolution. I
hate abhor New Year’s resolutions. We shouldn’t wait until January 1st to do things that will make us better people. We should resolve to do those things on June 3rd, if that’s when it hits us to be someone better. Alas, in my little world, it was December 29th when Sean McGuire asked Will Hunting what he wanted to do. And that’s when I asked myself (again).
So now, ask yourself: What do you want to do?
Now look in the mirror and answer the question. And realize that the person looking back at you is the only person in your way of making those things happen.