All you have is all you need. What more do you want?

It’s something you hear all your life. What you need differs from what you have. So, segregate the two in your head. And think about it. Look back at your life and you see no life can be retraced to the beginning. Beginning of what? Does life begin at the very beginning? Where is that beginning?

Memory is fickle and as a woman I feel I photoshop memory as I go along. But truthfully, memory is a vain buddy... She loves you stencilling in and changing text. Who likes remembering the bad parts? Sometimes, you remember events with astonishing clarity and other times events are fragmented like peices of the past from an old monument. Now isn’t this a paradox? Even the future is “made up” of the past. Yet we need to move on from the past and let go. Take new roads.

Bear with me: this contradiction exists in what we need and want too. For example, we need food. We need water, without both we could die of hunger and thirst. Now, want is something that makes you happy. We could live without it, but we are never satisfied until we have it. Some want a fancy car or a bigger house. But I am talking about wanting to be a painter, wanting to be a writer, wanting to pursue a dream... When you feel a need for something deep inside you, even if you don’t know what it is, you are constantly searching for it. If you come across it, you might recognise it, but most times we feel a small bit of ourselves missing.

In fact, when you are happy, it’s at that time, at your happiest, you can feel most “wanting”. I have a friend who said, she was lucky to have a fabulous husband, two lovely kids, a big house, a wonderful job and a healthy bank balance. “Then, why am I feeling I am missing something?” I wanted to tell her, you are not alone my friend. Even prime ministers of countries feel this way, its an universal phenomenon.

Sometimes, when you don’t know what you are living for, or what life is about, to mask your depression you do silly things. You might start drinking, start having an affair, do something completely out of character. When you are alone at night, it’s you staring down into the hollowness of yourself. No one can fill that void, but you.

I read a lovely line by John Boorman: “What is passion? Passion is surely the becoming of a person.” It’s when you find whole chunks of yourself in the throes of passion, in the throes of acheivement, in the throes of change — sometimes even when you have been betrayed — that you learn a lot. You learn to seek and seize happiness where you can find it.Out of the darkness comes the dawn.

When I was young, I was warned to look out for what I need and not to mix it up with what I want. Now, many years later and experiences later, I know. I cannot live without one. And I cannot love without the other.

(The writer is a theatre director and novelist)

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