Nobody Asked

by Ray Colon on July 31, 2012 · 15 comments

“Just tell me what you want.”
Compass
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.

I didn’t.

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.

Author Bio:

Ray Colon has written 167 posts on Ray's Blog.

He works with numbers for a living, but don't judge - boring accountants need love too. His blog has no niche (unless writing about things that are important to him is a niche). Some folks cringe when he gets “all political” on them, but he does it anyway when he's in that kind of mood. Sometimes, he writes something nice about someone, but you shouldn't get used to that. His first book, the one he hasn't written yet, is not available on Amazon. Subscribe to Ray's Blog via RSS  or Email.

Send Ray an Email if you have a question. He may even respond.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

elysia fields July 31, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Hey Ray, Prince Charles says that accountants run the world! Do you know what you want?

Reply

Ray Colon July 31, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Hi Elysia,

Did he say that? I hadn’t heard. Well, I hope that he meant it in a good way.

Sorry, no, I don’t know what I want, but thanks for asking! :)

Ray

Reply

elysia fields July 31, 2012 at 11:34 pm

He did. I think you can find it on YouTube “Accounting for Sustainabiility” vid.

Reply

Jean August 1, 2012 at 9:01 am

“So I’ve been married, had children, built a home, worked at many companies, and gone through life in a way that 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?”

People who don’t overly plan their life, are perhaps better equipped to become more flexible and have some strength and creativity to deal with challenges ahead. You are not alone: many of us have not been asked at critical points in life what we really wanted. However don’t you think it’s more of a matter being presented with a fork in the road for:
*Choosing an education path –because let’s face it, it costs money and how do we want that money spent.
*For women, choosing actively whether or not to have children. That afffects choice of life partner. But then, some people wait around and no partner comes along.
*Choosing better health, over etc. and make some lifestyle changes.

No one is around nor should be around to constantly badger us with this eternal question.

What do I really want? Now, it’s more about hoping the people I love will stick around on Earth longer. I wish to have a sister back that we lost. I wish to have stayed in the city of my choice, but I needed to get a job and that’s where I am now.

I do wish to delve more into art on my personal time. Right now blogging, is filling a tiny bit of that hole. :)

But I have been incredibly blessed growing up in a large family (even though we were poor) –a career that did make use of my education and exposed me to an incredible range of people from different walks in life. Travelled and seen some cool stuff (alot of it by bike). I have learned so much and continue to.

Reply

Ray Colon August 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Hi Jean,

What a wonderful response. The situations that you mention and the flexibility or ability to react to those situations are important in navigating our way through life. Thanks for sharing.

This post, like many others that I’ve written, was somewhat tongue in cheek. I do realize that I am not the center of the universe. I attempted to write about some of the absurdities in life — the over-building of confidence in our children to such a degree that there’s an element of entitlement that is not shared by the rest of the world, the me-centric approach to life that follows, and the way that most of us adapt to what life brings without trying to stick to a specific all-or-nothing plan. As anyone who has lived knows, life doesn’t work that way.

Blogging does fill the creative slot for many of us. I know it does for me as it does for you. The writing together with the give and take with readers can be very enriching in that we don’t only present our views, but are also sometimes challenged to reexamine them too. All in all it’s a gratifying endeavor.

If we look closely at the things that matter, as you have, the blessings of family, good friends, and health cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget those things when we are struggling with other issues. I’ve also lost a sibling a few years back, one of my younger brothers, who was one year my junior, so I feel you.

Ray

Reply

Peter Faur
Twitter:
August 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Hi, Ray. My life is not unlike yours. Years ago, I told myself I wanted to be a vice president of corporate communications for a publicly traded company. It took longer than I expected, but I realized that goal. The lesson learned? Be careful what you ask for! Not that it was a bad experience; in fact, it was a great experience. But it had more downsides than I anticipated.

Now, I want a closer family and good things for my kids. Above all, I just want to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with my Lord.

Humility, by the way, doesn’t mean thinking less of yourself. It means not thinking of yourself at all. I’m a long ways from being there, but maybe someday!

Meantime, I like what you’re doing with your blog. Keep it up.

Reply

Ray Colon August 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Hi Peter,

That’s an interesting twist, having stuck to a plan through to its conclusion, only to find that the goal, although good, was not entirely what was expected once attained. Congrats on your sticktoitiveness.

Your current goals are things to which we should all aspire.

Thanks. For now, I do feel that I want to pay more attention to this blog. Let’s see how it goes.

Ray

Reply

Val
Twitter:
August 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Good to see you posting again, Ray.
I’ve not sailed into anything meaningful in my life, apart from maybe getting married. Everything seems to have been an emotional struggle pretty much from childhood up. But then my life has been about as different from other people’s as a life could be. So now I tend to just take each day as it comes and see what happens and not really think about what I want. Things either will work out or they won’t. And for those times that they don’t, there is invariably an end to them and a beginning to something else. It’s interesting to see how things turn out.

Reply

Ray Colon August 1, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Hi Val,

Thank you. It’s good to be back.

Not an easy road, huh? I’m sorry for that. Are you generally an emotional person who attaches your emotions to situations that others may approach more straightforwardly? I ask because I’ve known people who take virtually everything to heart, which makes it difficult for them to view any situation dispassionately. There’s no value judgement here, it’s just a different approach that I’ve observed some people use to make things work for them.

Yes, things work or they don’t, when you get down to it, but that discounts all of the efforts that go into the journey. However, I agree that the things that don’t work out do eventually come to an end to make way for a new beginning.

Ray

Reply

Val
Twitter:
August 2, 2012 at 9:04 am

I used to be very emotional but it’s mostly that I have had bad health since childhood that has affected everything I’ve done. And when people respond negatively to ones physical health and one doesn’t have the energy to fight back it tends to come out as an emotional reaction. One step forward, two steps back most of the way through this life of mine.

For me, people have either asked me ‘what do you want’ and not listened to my answer as they’ve had preconceived ideas of what they think I should have had, or they’ve not asked as they’ve thought I didn’t have the same needs as anyone else. It’s been terribly frustrating a lot of the time.

And these days, ‘what do you want’ no longer even comes into it as I take things day by day now.

Reply

Renee Schuls-Jacobson August 4, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Hi Ray.

I always say that schools do a really bad job of asking kids what they want to do. Our kids are set on a track, and there are few opportunities for self-reflection. I’m glad you are thinking about what you want. I know that I DID express what I wanted and I was met with scrutiny and criticism.

So I took the expected path.

But.

I have always wondered, and now I parent differently. I try to ask my son what he wants all the time! I want him to feel like he is in control of his destiny. I’m here to guide him, but I want him to know he has options. ;-)
Renee Schuls-Jacobson recently posted..Mo-Mo-Mo. Hawk-Hawk-Hawk.My Profile

Reply

Ray Colon August 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Hi Renee,

As a teacher, you’re input in this area is appreciated. My oldest daughter is in college and she has definite designs on what she wants to do when she graduates. Rough courses cause her to waver from time to time, but overall, she has remained steadfast in taking the steps to achieve her goals. At her age, I had ideas, but my determination to stay on course was not there.

I think we all probably parent somewhat differently than our parents did because we had the added insight of how we responded to the direction we received as children.

Reply

Renee Schuls-Jacobson
Twitter:
August 4, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Oops! Now I signed it properly!
Renee Schuls-Jacobson recently posted..Mo-Mo-Mo. Hawk-Hawk-Hawk.My Profile

Reply

Alicia August 15, 2012 at 11:38 am

I’ve been thinking about this post for the last two weeks, coming back to it in my heart and head. I asked and answered the same question a few years ago, and my response hasn’t really changed.

http://penthaslist.blogspot.com/2008/05/what-do-you-want.html

I’m no longer looking for a white picket fence, but oh, to have the gift of peace and repentance!

Reply

Ray Colon August 16, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Hi Alicia,

When you posted that link I wondered if I had read that post and stored it in the back of my head only to have it surface in this post, but I now see that it was posted before I knew of your blog.

The much maligned white picket fence wish is one that still resonates with me. If not the fence itself, but everything that it represents, including peace. In that regard, I can envision it once again becoming your reality. And mine.

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: