I had someone tell me a few days ago that they understood what I need. My immediate gut, and somewhat flippant, response was, “How interesting…I don’t even know that, perhaps they can enlighten me!” But then, I thought about it some more, and realized that it was really just semantics. For a lot of us privileged folks, wants and needs seem to be interchangeable in our minds. But they really are 2 different things.
I have everything I need, and then some. I have a nice home, a gimpy but playful dog, and 2 kids that I adore. My friends and family rock my world, and there is no shortage of touch. I have no debt, I have work that is meaningful and fun, and toys and the time to play with them. I will soon have 2 kids in college, and it is affordable. I have the skills to repair things that break, and enough money to hire out that which I cannot or choose not to do. There is always plenty to eat, I sleep in a soft bed or on my cot under the stars at night, and fresh clean water flows out of my tap. I am also blessed with good health, all my body parts still work, and my sense of adventure did not die with Jim.
What I want….now, that is another story. My challenge for this next bit of life is to slow down, and listen, really listen to that small still voice within….and figure that out. It is easy for me to figure out what I don’t want. That voice screams at me when my brain takes over and says, “this will be good for you”, but my heart and soul feel otherwise.
I know that I don’t want to be a caretaker right now. I’m coming off of 1.5 years of caring for someone with brain cancer, followed by 2 years of parenting 2 kids that lost their dad. That was preceded by 18 years of trying to be the best parent I could be with a husband that was often AWOL building trails or adventuring. I know that I have aging parents. I hope that I will someday be a grandma. But for right now, I just wanna be the parent of 2 college kids….kids that don’t need dinner cooked every night and endless gallons of milk in the fridge.
I know that I don’t want to be the “person to pity”. This summer has been wonderful. Very few people ask me, “How ARE you?”, with that look in their eye. There has been enough time, there has been enough other heart-break in this community. The focus is not on me and my grief anymore. I get to be just Kathie….it is great. It is no longer weird that I dance, that I laugh…even at morbid humor. My kids, and my mom, get annoyed with me for normal things. And they are not afraid to tell me so. I don’t like being an object of pity.
I don’t want to leave Idaho. The Salmon River country holds my heart, and there are still so many places I would like to explore. I still need to get to Upper Priest Lake, and I could spend multiple summers exploring half of what Emerald got to see this summer. It would be incredible to do a volunteer trip such as Jasper is embarking on to rebuild the Indian Creek boat ramp. I have friends of over 25 years here, and my mom (even when she is annoyed with me) lives just down the street. I want my kids to have a home base….and this is better than any I can think of.
So what do I want? I’m learning that wants change. They change with age. They change with grief. They change with transitions such as an empty nest. I’m learning that what I wanted in my 20’s, what I wanted when Jim was dying, what I wanted even 6 months ago….is not what I want now. So…if wants are so transitory, if they can change based on experience, the transition from summer to fall, perhaps even how much sleep I got the night before…can they be trusted? I have what I need. I trust that the universe will provide what I want. It is enough.