You Can’t Always Get What You Want…

but if you try sometimes, you’ll find you get what you need.

Good philosophy from the Rolling Stones, proving once again that rock and roll is more than just noise and distraction.

When I was a little girl, I nearly always got what I wanted – at least in terms of things.  Because I was an only child (and an only grandchild), and because my parents were fairly well off  at least in terms of the working class neighborhood where we lived, my wishes were generally granted.  I had every Barbie doll made, with the latest outfits to go with.  I got a new bike every couple of years, the latest and greatest model (I had not one, not two, but three different Sting-Ray bikes with banana seats – a royal blue, a deep purple, and metallic lime green with sparkles.)

There was a brand new car sitting in the driveway with my name on it months before I had the license to drive it.

I know – it sounds like I was the proverbial spoiled little rich kid, doesn’t it?

But I think I was kind and generous with my friends, and I hope I never shoved my good fortune in their faces.  Most of my friends came from large families, where money was, if not an issue, at least an object that had to be very carefully considered, and most of them had to work to get the kinds of gifts that were always freely given to me.

Parents are cautioned against giving their children everything they want in life, because then they aren’t prepared for the realities of the cruel world where in fact, you can’t -and don’t and won’t –  always get what you want.  Certainly in the course of my life over the past 50 years, there have been times when I didn’t get what I wanted.  But I believe that most often, I got what I needed.

I needed to marry young, in order to establish myself in a life away from my parents who were generous but overprotective.  It was the only acceptable way I knew at that time to pry myself loose from a grasp that was loving but too tight.

I needed to have a child, to teach me that my wishes weren’t the only ones that mattered, that when you’re responsible for the life of another human being you have to sublimate your own desires a great deal of the time.

I needed that child to leave home when he was young, to remind me not to hang on too tight to the people you love, to encourage me to make a life of my own, perhaps for the first time.

I needed both of the “careers” that I’ve had, one to prove to me that I have talent and shouldn’t be so afraid to use it, and to show me how wonderful it is to have friends, to have a real live social network that pulls you out of your introverted shell and pushes you into the world.  The other to show me how the “professional” world works and convince me I have the ability to operate within it.

At this moment, I stand at something of a crossroads.  I feel ready to move on in many areas of my life, yet circumstances seem to keep me rooted in one place.  In the past few years, there have been lots of things I wanted that I didn’t get, probably more than at any other time in my life.  People died that I wanted to live, jobs didn’t come through that I wanted to get, my family got scattered even farther away.  Sometimes I’ve felt as if I were walking through a wasteland filled with the remnants of broken dreams.

I’m not yet far enough away from all this to see if I find anything in the wreckage that resembles something I need.

But I’m trying to believe that there is.

After all, who am I to argue with the Rolling Stones?

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8 thoughts on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want…

  1. This post resonates deeply with me. It touches so many important truths about life… the clarity we receive in time, and the things we may never know.

  2. Ah, how true…the crossroads. The looking around and the wonder and wondering…I think a great deal of it is ‘built in.’ Many things have been accomplished and there are many more to come – what?
    Maybe you’ll move into composing music. Maybe you’ll have a music shop of some kind. Maybe you’ll create an instrument. Maybe you’ll live off the grid.
    Writing, I think,keeps moving a person forward in so many ways, surely towards clarity. This is a great thing you’ve shared, the Surety, the Wonder, and the Wondering.

  3. Your reference to the Stones tickles me. I’ve always found a touchstone in the words of that great philosopher, Janis Joplin: “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose…” 😉

  4. First of all, what is it about these drugged out, really young rockers that they could write with the widsom that could resonate with those of us who are 50-somethings all these years later. I see it in the Beatles, the Stones, Dylan, the folkies whose work as young artists has maintained a freshness to our generation and to others. Sure, I liked “I’m Henry the Eighth I Am,” but in terms of sticking with me as anything more than an earworm, it lacks. Yet in terms of maintaining a social or personal relevance? Not so good.

    I think we had much the same childhood. Only children who were given what they needed, even wanted, and who didn’t flaunt it. Even had to work for it — but we knew we could get it. I have to confess that the thing that shocked me most after my dad’s death (and I was 42) was the realization I had no safety net. Even though I didn’t borrow money from him, I always knew if I had a problem he could help bail me out. I stayed in my town because he needed me, often passing up job opportunities. Yet now I could go if I wanted. Did I really want to? Was I too old? Too scared? Too settled?

    I still ponder those things. My overprotective parents didn’t do me any favors in that arena, and I have often seen this play itself out with Rick’s boys and their mom. I fear one will never grow up because she continually bails him out. I fear that in some ways he will never reach his potential or fully follow his dream, much as I did not. Some things we have no control over.

    I have to believe (because I am an optimist and that always pisses people off) that eventually something will come from the sadness/loss/turmoil and rearrangement of your life over the past few years. Something good. I’m not sure you’ll know it till it has happened, and maybe that’s part of the adventure. It’s the creepy part. But I can see how very much inner strength, persistence and talent you have. Some folks don’t start out with half of that.

    The waiting is the hard part; wondering what to do to take you on the right path. But I am confident — it will happen for you. You will get what you need.

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