“Just tell me what you want.”
No one has ever said that to me — not my mom, my wife, my children, my friends, my brothers, and definitely not my sister. It’s enough to make me wonder if I actually am the center of the universe, as I’ve been led to believe.
Imagine having to go through life in such an arbitrary way.
How did I come to believe this? It started with my mother. She saw great things in my future. Mom has never missed an opportunity to let me know how smart and handsome and wonderful I am. Then there were my early teachers, who fawned over each accomplishment, as if I had just discovered how to distill water into wine, or some equally mystical deed that would comport with my parochial school education.
The culmination of this gushing occurred when they learned that I had been accepted into Xavier High School in NYC. To their knowledge, no one from my school had ever been accepted there.
A ghetto golden boy… Yep, that was me. I could do anything!
Skip ahead a few years and I found myself at an entry level office job. (I had dabbled with college, but wasted that opportunity by going buck wild while embracing my newfound freedom). Rather than complain about my lowly position, I treated it like a great place to start. And it was. My first promotion came quickly. For the sport of it, I tried to complete my menial tasks as quickly as possible. One supervisor interpreted this behavior as initiative, so he gave me the first of many promotions.
Of course he did. It was me, after all.
From there, I stumbled into accounting. I didn’t choose it. It sort of just happened. Since I never felt tortured by math, I took to the tasks easily and later studied accounting when I calmed down and went back to school. Who says that the cart can’t come before the horse?
There have been many other instances where I fell into good situations. Sure, I worked hard at whatever I was doing, but there was no real plan. I just went from one thing to the next, mostly because I could. Everything didn’t always go smoothly, of course, but the drawbacks were few when compared to the positive outcomes.
But nobody ever asked me what I wanted. It could be that they thought that I already knew.
So I’ve been married, had children, built a home, worked at many companies, and gone through life in a way that more closely resembles the board game than a structured, deliberate, and purposeful existence.
Spin the wheel and take what you get.
All of this is not to say that I regret my choices. It just would have been nice if I had been asked what I wanted.
Why hasn’t anyone asked?
But more importantly, why haven’t I asked myself?
So tell me, what do you want?
And just so that we don’t end on a down note, imagine the best.
I dare you.