You’re the one that I want! For those of you who don’t know (but who doesn’t know that), it’s a song is from the movie, Grease. Danny Zuko loves Sandy: she’s the one that he wants. Ah, young love and all that jazz.
How many times a day do we say: that’s what I want; that’s what I need? Mindless mental riffing on self-gratification either emotional or material leads to more mindless repetition and mindless repetition is a real brain killer. Your brain gets stuck in a loop. What is going on with the other 99% of your brain usage? Come on, humans, let’s do the math on the possibilities of using the full capacity and potential of our brains. We could rock the world instead of stagnating in the world. We could possibility get close to maximizing our human potential.
I’m babysitting two of my grandsons in Las Vegas this weekend. June in Vegas has been record breaking heat, and I’ve been in this city twice this month. I’m hanging in the third rung of hell. Even the pool is 100 degrees. It’s more than a sauna outside at 118 degrees. The mood is enervating. But to the point: the 3 1/2 year old is always saying: “I want. I want. I want.” I want what I want what I want. Dang. I love the kid – he’s tough, resilient, stubborn, all boy, the typical 3 year old narcissist. What the other kid has, what the brother has, what’s on TV, Jude wants, too.Everything in life reflects back to Jude as in “Hey, Jude!”
I know adults with the same narcissistic tendencies. You say something like: “I’m going to take your brother to see Willie Nelson in August at the Hollywood Bowl. Cool, huh? Response: “Really. I want to go see Willy. I always go to see Willie when he’s in Vegas. Well, I’ve got a ticket to something at the Hollywood Bowl…can’t remember right now but it’s a good show.” Dude, if you want to see Willy, go buy a ticket. You know you want to, but you just want to want just because you’re used to hanging out in the mind set of “wanting.” Can Willie still even sing? I hope so.
Ever notice that our wants don’t move our lives forward? Like: I want my old boyfriend back in another incarnation but it’s over and there is no more joy in it; I want the love of my life back to complete our relationship, but he has left the earth and we already fulfilled our destiny together; I want my mother to be here for me and see her beauty shine at 98, but she was ready to leave her life; I want Sundays to be shared with friends, but Sundays alone are often the best moments of my week. I want so many things in life that I could spend a lifetime in the want zone and most of them are not worth wanting. Wanting moves us away from moving forward.
Our culture is all about wanting, needing, self-gratifying pursuits. Is it in our DNA? What’s up with that mind set? It’s driving me crazy lately and my 3 1/2 year old grandson keeps reminding me that it starts in young children and sometimes, oftentimes, never leaves in adulthood.
But what I really want is to not to want. It’s difficult when our consumer culture sucks us in to material and emotional wanting. One thing about aging I’ve discovered is that you want less. People over 65 are invisible because we don’t buy into idealized love or purchase unnecessary material/electronic goods. That’s probably the only plus about aging. I just cleaned out my apartment after 15 years and I wanted less and less of what was in it because my focus and needs have changed. I got rid of more and am living lighter than before. Hey, that rhymes and I’ll probably use it on Twitter. Recycling the good stuff is mindful thinking.
Sometimes I play a game with myself as I walk through a mall looking for nothing in particular and then seeing something I really adore and then examining it and asking if I really want it and why I really need it. Unless it’s the one of a kind thing that will change my life, make me stretch my mind or bring permanent happiness to my life, the wanting goes away. Material things never last; lastingness and legacy come from the heart, from family, from passion and joy.
We all know this in theory but it’s still the mindlessness of the human brain activity that prevails: You’re the one that I want.