My earliest memories are of wanting. A toy, a sweet, for my mother not to leave for work, a pebble from the gutter—want colored my world as it only can for someone who is powerless. Want was a spike pinning each day to the next. Want would overwhelm reason and accountability in an instant, leaving me shaking, sick and in tears. The lack of my object of desire was as the death of millions; ghastly, intolerable, shattering. I had absolutely no coping mechanism, no armor, nothing that would shield me from the rending effects of want left unsatisfied.
And yet, somehow I survived. Slowly, over the course of years, of decades, I learned to manage my wants, to minimize them, to trivialize them down to a level where they were always easily satisfied. A cup of coffee, a cigarette, a book. Just the act of lighting a cigarette can be, for me, a deeply satisfying experience. It's like magic: I snap my fingers and flame appears, as if by magic, burning away the specter of want. Instant gratification. It has so little to do with the physical addiction, and so much to do with the emotional one.
Everybody wants. Everybody has said or felt or thought, 'If I don't get ____, I will surely die." It is, as they always say without actually thinking about what it means, human nature. We are the ape that wants, and will go to extraordinary lengths to have. We are the creature that will desire the fruit from the highest branch, when there are plenty of edible bits lying right there on the ground, unnoticed as we trample them underfoot in our rush to climb the tree.
I still don't know which is worse: wanting too little, or wanting too much. The want, however, is inescapable.