The Case for Being Selfish

“What do you want to do?”

It’s a simple question.

We ask each other it all the time. Then we lie about it.

This year I was looking for a Jerry Maguire moment, and it was as simple

as being a kid again. The more I thought about it, the more I became

convinced that all of us actually know what we want to do, and that we

know it all the time. Right now, I want a beer and a couch. Maybe a movie.

Maybe talk to you. Maybe not.

Maybe I don’t really need to explain myself.

What I want sometimes has very little to do with anything or anyone around me, and that

is perfectly okay. I was trying to track when exactly it was that I was supposed to start

caring about everything except for me, and I can’t remember when that particular

programming started–that’s how good it was.

Parts of it went like this:

You can’t just do what you want.

That’s insensitive.

That’s selfish.

What are you doing for others?

Let me suggest a new direction: let’s actually do what we want.

Think back to when you were a kid. You had a thousand ideas a day for what you were going to do

when you were older.

Did you do all of them?

I didn’t.

I sure as hell have done a lot of them this year, though.

And I don’t care about anyone’s opinion about it.

The way I figure it, I spent an awful lot of time in my twenties and thirties

thinking about how to please others. I’m not sure why I did that.

I like helping people. I like certain causes, and I find it exciting to be involved in something bigger

than me.

However, I want to do what I want. And I want to do so whenever I want to. And I don’t know why it

took so long to come to this realization. It’s like it’s 1988 again. I should be riding my bike to play

Golden Axe in the convenience store next to Pool #2, with half a box of Lemonheads in my mouth.

I don’t really care what you’re into, and it’s fine if you aren’t into what I like. I don’t expect to convert

you. I don’t actually know why you’d want to convert me. Think about the thousands of days that

went into the creation of what you like, or what you’re about. Do you think that translates to me?

I doubt it.

You know what? That’s okay. Do what you want, man. It’ll make you happy. Then you can go right

back to worrying about what other people think.

I doubt very few of us are doing what we want to do. I hope we start asking the question more

frequently, though. Let’s answer it honestly.

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