by Victoria L. Cagle
“The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself.” – Oscar Wilde
Oscar has a point. Desire will never go away by simply ignoring it, so we should all go after what we want (as long as what we desire is not damaging to us or other people, of course).
But what do we do when we desire too many things? The song from the Hamilton musical soundtrack that hits me the hardest is ‘Satisfied’, where Alexander Hamilton notices the same qualities in Angelica Schuyler that he has himself: neither of them will ever be satisfied and will always want more, more, more.
Like Alexander Hamilton (is it too presumptuous to compare myself to a Founding Father? I’ve stopped caring at this point), I want too many things out of life. That may be selling myself too short, but realistically there aren’t enough hours in a lifetime for me to accomplish everything. I want to travel the world. Get an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction. Get a PhD in Southern American Literature. Do research for a behavioural neuroscience lab. Work for a publishing company. Adopt as many dogs as legally possible. Write a book. Live in a big city. Live in the countryside. Live by the water. Live in the mountains. Go to Mars (which isn’t even a pipe dream anymore; this could actually happen in my lifetime). Live in India. And Italy. And Australia. Watch as many sunsets as physically possible. Write another book. Become a foster mom and eventually adopt 3–4 kids. Write a regular column for a widely circulated publication. Watch Fleetwood Mac perform. Have enough income to regularly donate to all of the foundations I want to support. This is just scraping the superficial surface of everything I want out of life, but that won’t stop me from going after everything I want and more.
Sometimes I’ll lie in bed and dream about everything I want. It can be a fun little daydream, but oftentimes it leads me to a debilitating panic. How in the world can I accomplish EVERYTHING? On top of doing all that I mentioned above, I need to read the 400 books on my to-be-read list! There’s just not enough time in a single lifetime. But then I put everything into perspective.
Female desire, whether sexual, financial or emotional, has been repressed for centuries. I descend from a long line of housewives. Not that being a housewife isn’t a respectable occupation, but it was often the only option for most of the women in my family. The fact that I’m here publicly declaring what I want out of life and actually having the option to go after what I desire just wasn’t available to the generations before me. We can’t have everything in life, there’s simply not enough time – but we owe it to ourselves to try.
Victoria is a writer from Virginia. Her goal in life is to write and travel, preferably at the same time. You can read more of her work on her blog.