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Wishful Thinking


If only:

  • I were smarter
  • You were here
  • I could figure out how to turn off this TV program that I’m groaning about because it’s so freaking wretched
  • I were thinner
  • I were better
  • The lights had been on
  • 2+2 equaled 5 once in a while
  • I was still writing the blog as that pig with the monocle
  • I hadn’t said that
  • I were Taller
  • I were Shorter
  • I were Older
  • I were Younger
  • She’d seen me
  • I were Stronger
  • More honest
  • I were More faithful
  • I were Less honest
  • I were Less gullible
  • I could still make him smile
  • I were more focused
  • I were happy
  • I were rich
  • I were richer
  • Hands could not become fists
  • I were employed
  • I could be a better lover
  • I knew what morality meant
  • I could pronounce steatopygous
  • I could surrender once in a while
  • Better at covering my bruises
  • I were working less
  • I were friendlier
  • I were at peace
  • The judge had ruled in my favor
  • I had reacted better to the pills
  • I were still
  • I were pain free
  • I had 20/20 vision
  • I were Pacing myself
  • I were Less competitive
  • I were More thoughtful
  • I knew where the line was
  • Hadn’t drank so much
  • You knew how I felt
  • I were well-traveled
  • I were making progress
  • I were writing more
  • I knew I was raising him right
  • I hadn’t gotten on that stupid mailing list
  • My feet had more arch
  • I could have been more convincing
  • I hadn’t bought that
  • I could see family more often
  • I were a follower
  • I were a leader
  • I were more disciplined with my eating
  • I were compassionate
  • Courteous
  • I were less of a doormat
  • I were not addicted
  • I were funny
  • I were thrifty
  • I were righteous
  • I were calm
  • I cared for the right reasons
  • I were proactive
  • I could cure insomnia
  • I were organized
  • I were in control
  • I could stop wishing for things

Any of this sound familiar? Most of it sounds familiar to me.

Do you know what you want?  Do you know why you want it?  Is it because you think you’re supposed to want or be something, or because it will get you closer to your potential? Is it because it’s easier to regret things than to march forward?

Always worth thinking about.

Go be whoever you are supposed to be today.  Do not ask “What is the purpose of life?”  Depending on where you stand and what you believe, that question doesn’t mean anything and is poorly worded anyways.

Ask: “What is the purpose of my life today?”  That’s a question you can always answer.


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Photo credit: thitchenson

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Rebecca Rizzuti December 5, 2009, 12:37 am

    Josh, I’ve been meaning to comment for a little while, but I always feel as though I don’t have anything to say. I started really reading a couple of weeks ago, though I’d been popping in occasionally for a few months before that.

    I love your blog because it seems to reach right out and speak to the individual reader. Every post that I’ve read felt as though you were writing it for me, talking directly to me. I like that in a blog. You have a wonderful personal touch.

    I found a few months ago that it benefited me to sit down and create a purpose statement for my life. It took a lot of thought before I finally came up with something, and later on I changed it. But I decided that for me, my purpose in life is to bring a real, genuine smile to the face of at least one person every day.

    I don’t make it every day, but I try to do small acts of kindness for a stranger at least several times a week. Maybe it’s selfish, but these acts make me feel better about who I am as a person, and are one of the things that help me to cope.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 5, 2009, 11:16 am

      that is a fantastic purpose, and I’m thrilled that you finally jumped in to comment. Glad to know you’re out there!

      • Rebecca Rizzuti December 5, 2009, 12:56 pm

        Thank you Josh! You post insanely late at night for me and I’m up to *read* but almost never have the energy to comment! Too much Mountain Dew last night was quite helpful!

        • Josh Hanagarne December 5, 2009, 1:01 pm

          Where are you from, Rebecca? I usually schedule posts for 12:01 AM my time in the states, and they they first on the front page for about 24 hours.

          • Rebecca Rizzuti December 5, 2009, 1:04 pm

            There’s no way! Unless you’re in Hawaii?

            I live in Indiana and am seeing them at three or four in the morning. I’m up because of serious insomnia (which is terrible when you have a kid, as I’m sure you already know), but always about to head off to bed.

            I guess this goes to show how huge our country is, doesn’t it?

          • Rebecca Rizzuti December 5, 2009, 1:05 pm

            I forgot to mention: I’m subscribed, and if I’m up when something comes into Thunderbird, I read it immediately.

  • NomadicNeil December 5, 2009, 2:23 am

    I like that sentiment.

  • Sarge | BeginnerBlogger.com December 5, 2009, 2:49 am

    They all sound like excuses, Josh!

    Take life one day at a time – I like this. Some may have our weekly, monthly, yearly, 5+ yearly goals in mind, but we can only LIVE in the present and if we’re not actively doing something to meet our goals we are wasting our time.

    Every day is a new day, small steps to that bigger piece of the puzzle.

    Sarge | BeginnerBlogger.com

    • Josh Hanagarne December 5, 2009, 11:17 am

      It has gotten truer for me as I’ve gotten older, too.

  • Mystic December 5, 2009, 3:34 am

    Also, recent experience tells me, be careful what you wish for. Seriously. Sometimes we wish for something, and it happens. It’s only then that you realize the implications. The universe has it’s own ways of answering back.. wait for them.. things might not turn out the way you expect them to.. but they will turn out like thay ave to.. and only for the best.

    Cheers everyone.

  • Laura Cococcia December 5, 2009, 7:29 am

    Love the image Josh – and of course, the message. Interesting that you mentioned that the question was poorly worded. I never thought about that until now and completely agree. I like “today.” My workplace, aka acronym-land, would call it “LPT.”

  • Henri December 5, 2009, 7:32 am

    I just recently started being ruthless about what I want. It lead me on a new interesting path. One day at a time is the only way to live. I find myself wanting to predict the future sometimes to assess if I want to do something, and I think I’m not alone in that.

    However, it’s not healthy, because it kills your mind so completely. But I have to agree (again!), do what feels good today. Whatever you feel passionate about today is your purpose today.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 5, 2009, 11:18 am

      Wow. You sound like the cutthroat pirate of personal development.

  • Lisis December 5, 2009, 9:35 am

    I love it! So much talk about passion and purpose today. I just posted about the Passion Paradox and started some sort of firestorm, it seems! This issue is a biggie.

    I’m all for choosing to be happy TODAY.


    • Josh Hanagarne December 5, 2009, 10:45 am

      Just to be clear, I really do think that, for me at least, some planning is necessary to make progress. But I’ve had to work at finding a balance so that the big picture never destroys the small picture.

  • Tom Bailey December 5, 2009, 12:32 pm

    This reminds me of a quote from Arnolds encylopedia of bodybuilding the first one on the sticky note reminds me of

    “choose the right partners you feed on eachothers energy and you can do things you never dreamed possible” -Arnold

  • Miche - Serenity Hacker December 5, 2009, 1:31 pm

    Hi Josh, I love the “purpose” for today idea. You’re so right, our purposes do change, and that question is poorly worded, really. Thinking about it just for today is so much practical, less weighty, and gives us something we can act on, now.

    Miche 🙂

  • Vanessa December 5, 2009, 2:24 pm

    The purpose of my life today is not to take anything seriously.


    You reminded of this stupid song from high school, but its making me laugh so thanks 🙂 Listen, maybe you’ll laugh too. Then perhaps you can think about (please) making a video reading your list(s) to this music.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 5, 2009, 4:27 pm

      Oh boy, how did I write this without thinking of Skee-Lo? Very Sophomore year.

  • Jared Yellin December 5, 2009, 10:52 pm

    Great post Josh….

    I think that one of the most important components to our lives is clearly defining our purpose, but for some, this could be a daunting task that actually forces them to travel on a path that is completely incongruent with the “who they are.” The root to this challenge lies in the stress associated with “writing the story of your life.” But like in any book, the author tends to write chapter by chapter, and at the end will determine the most effective order of these passages. Our life is no different and if we take the time each day to clearly define and OWN our purpose for that day, then we will be able to complete a chapter and publish it in our “book of life.”

    Thank you for sharing this because it has inspired me to write about this concept on my blog!

  • Boris Bachmann December 5, 2009, 11:11 pm

    “If” is a great way to waste a lot of “now”.

    Good post Josh!

  • andy December 6, 2009, 2:35 am

    you’re right… it is a poorly worded question!

    (what’s the meaning of life?)

    I’m not feeling especially articulate today, but I just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading your blog. You make me laugh at just the right times… when I need it the most.

    rock on!

  • Robby G December 6, 2009, 7:49 am

    Great to read this on a Sunday, after the weekend has come and gone. Now it’s time to sit down and get some work done. This is good, thanks. This is a nice push in the right direction. Cheers Josh!

  • Randy December 6, 2009, 8:52 am

    Most of don’t know what we want…our wants are either vague pie in the sky wishes or a superficial desires that disguise deeper, more fundamental wants.I learned some years ago that asking and answering the question “What do I want?” is really an expression of self respect and self worth. I’m talking about the deep, authentic wants that really make up who you are. How do you tell the difference? An authentic want is sufficient unto itself it: it doesn’t need a reason to be. Satisfying it is thus an act of self expression.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 6, 2009, 12:29 pm

      Randy, I’m only good at pseudo-knowledge. When you actually show up and say smart things, my teeth start chattering because I know I’m on the brink of being exposed.

  • Beth L. Gainer December 7, 2009, 8:29 am

    Nice posting. Yeah, all those should haves and wish-I-were thoughts are toxic to our self-esteem and pride. Let’s tell Websters to ban the woulds “should” and “would have.”

  • Kevin December 8, 2009, 12:25 am

    Amen brother.