A couple of months ago, in my post “The Grass is Green enough Here, wherever Here is,” I introduced the idea that a whole generation of my friends, including myself, belonged to “the Ariel Generation”, “Ariel referring to the name of The Little Mermaid in Disney’s film of the same name, and the word “generation” acknowledging the fact that all of us were born in the 70s, and would have grown up having seen The Little Mermaid in our early to late teens – our formative years, so to speak.
My, or OUR theme tune, rather, was and continues to be Ariel’s number – “Part of Your World,” in which she sings of her collection of “gadgets and gizmos a-plenty”; of how she wants to be “walking around on those…what do you call ‘em? Oh – feet!”
A generation of us, including myself, felt our hearts stir listening to that song; and our hearts – my heart, anyway – still do today. Particularly when she sings that line, “I want more!!!!!”
Because we do. Because I do. I want more.
I want more than this. This day-to-day-ness of life. The mundane. The routine. The boring-ness of it all. I want adventure. I want romance. I want to experience things that blow my mind. I want so much more than everything I have now. I always have. It’s part of how my generation thinks. It’s in my DNA.
As I’ve grown older, what used to seem to me a zero-sum game, has become far more complicated.
I used to think that “WANTING MORE” meant giving everything that I had up, moving far, far away from where I was at the moment, and trying to do something completely new; completely different. In my mind, it was an either-or scenario. I couldn’t possibly have the “more” I wanted while still being where I was. Which, as it so happens, typically meant Singapore.
I now understand and know that that is false; that you CAN have MORE being exactly where you are. The trick is in first identifying what exactly it is you want “more” of. In my case, it was travel, writing, cooking, culture.
And then you have to figure out what you need to do in order to get more of the “more” that you want. In my case, it was getting a job that I am basically OK with – I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it because I know how and where I’m contributing – and which, more importantly, pays me enough for me to achieve that “more” which I want.
Which has manifested itself in this multi-year Grand Tour travel, writing and culture project that I’ve always wanted to do. (And which is due to culminate in a BOOK – something I’m still so thrilled and excited about!!!)
It’s like I realised that I’m not just ONE THING, or ONE PERSON. I’m many. I CAN have a goal for FAMILY; a different goal for my CAREER; and another different goal for the CREATIVE side of me. I’m a complex entity; I’m human.
ALL OF THESE are still very much me – who I am. And NONE of these require a Prince Eric to achieve. I can do it all myself – as long as I’m clear that that’s how it’s got to be done.
Therein lies the myth that I’m debunking: firstly, that “I want more” means changing one’s circumstance drastically and entirely. You will fail if you think that the solution is in moving countries – i.e. in seeking answers in EXTERNAL CIRCUMSTANCE, rather than within ONE’S SELF. Unless, of course, “more” is, intrinsically and truthfully, to be in another country.
And secondly, that “I want more” means just one thing. It could mean a whole bunch of things. “More” means MORE, after all, not LESS. Nor is “more” about exchanging one thing for something else. MORE is about ADDING ON – adding richness, complexity (good or bad) and fullness to life.
What “I want more” means is to add to one’s experiences, while appreciating how what one has and what one is going through is really part of the process by which one adds to one’s experiences. It means to be innovative about how to achieve one’s goals – cos there’s not only one – within the constraints of circumstance (because there are always constraints, wherever one is).
A.K.A… It’s about choosing to stay in the sea, but also finding creative ways to experience the land, while still being ultimately anchored in the sea.
Tricky… but satisfying.
And so “Part Of Your World” will continue being my theme tune, and I will continue to experience a frisson of excitement and longing in equal parts whenever I sing the line “I want more!!!”
I know now that I don’t need some Prince Eric to give me “more.”
I can go get it myself.
I just have to clear what it is, and that its not just one thing.