Okay, I think I’ve got a handle on the wanting/not wanting/Buddhism thing. Thanks, Mr. Markowitz, for the explanation.
If you want stuff, you won’t have serenity, because you will never get everything you want and there is always more wanting and maybe the stuff you want isn’t even good for you. Not that I would know anything about that.
However, if you explicitly don’t want stuff because you know that the wanting of stuff chases away the serenity, you are still out of luck, because you still want something: serenity.
Granted, serenity is probably a better thing to want than things that are not good for you or even things that are okay for you, but you still can’t go around wanting it or you will never get it.
Not only do you have to not want anything, you have to ignore the whole business of wanting/not wanting and just go about your life, working and taking care of your kids, and let the serenity sneak up on you.
Have I got that right, Jeff?
But now, I don’t know, it’s starting to sound a little too sacrificial, like it’s wrong, somehow, to look after you own interests or even notice what your interests might be. And as someone who has now spent 18 years looking after the interests of others and is only beginning to contemplate what my own interests might be, I’m a little resistant to that message.
The other day, after we ate my birthday tiramisu, one of my coworkers asked what I’d wished for. My birthday wishes are always the same: for my kids to be happy and healthy. That will never change. But maybe one of these days I’ll make a wish all my own.