The Better. A Sunday Series
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I Don’t Think I Want That by Paula G Akinwole
Yesterday, I had a whole day to myself. Originally, I had planned to be on vacation or doing something birthday related but since I had done that already, I woke up with absolutely no concrete plans. I made breakfast for my family because I knew I wanted to do that. I folded up the clean clothes cause I knew I wanted to do that. I had a dance party with Khaleef and Kamau cause I knew I wanted to do that but after that… nothing.
I ended up in Richmond dropping off some books. I arrived and thought, “Maybe I’ll hang out at this event,” but decided I didn’t really wanna do that either. So I left and sat in my car and drove around for maybe about an hour trying to figure out what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be. I ended up at the cemetery. I drove around for a while until I found the spot where my son was buried, an unmarked patch of grass where dozens of premature babies lay. I stood there a while, struggling to find conversation. Eventually, after realizing why I was there, I left. I called up a friend and offered to buy them lunch. Then we hung out for a bit watching tv and catching up. Before going home, I stopped at a bookstore and spent an hour chatting before finally picking out a book. I got home, sat in front of the tv, and went through it all again. What do I want to do? Where do I want to be? I ended up taking a trip to Walmart before settling in for the night.
I learned pretty early on that knowing what you don’t want is an even better tool than knowing what you do. I know, sounds odd but I think “dislike” and “anger” can sometimes be an even more reliable emotion than “like.” Why? Because we’re often guessing at the things we like and want while being adamant about the things we don’t like and don’t want. We have had some taste of what angers or annoys us and want to avoid those things where the things we like are an ever growing spectrum. We may even quickly know what we don’t want before we do and can narrow that list down.
In relationships, careers, friendships, and even dinner time, knowing what you don’t want and will not accept helps us to quickly and even bravely create boundaries for ourselves that protect us. While there may be space to be pleasantly surprised, it will only be with your permission.
As I drove around yesterday trying to find exactly what to do with a whole free Saturday, I found myself exactly where I needed to be. “I don’t want to sit still so no poetry, plays, or movies. I don’t wanna be around crowds so no festivals or markets. I don’t want to go home yet. I don’t want housework or chores. So what does that offer me… outdoors, quiet, simple conversation”
I encourage you, as I always do, to get to know yourself in that sort of pure and passionate way where you trust your heart and spirit to guide you. And if you ever find yourself having one of those situations where you just can’t figure out what to do, use this method to narrow down the list… I don’t want… so what does that offer me