The things we want aren’t fixed – they change over time based upon environmental influences. For me the biggest influence is who I’m around. The social part of my brain kicks in and seeks acceptance through wanting or having the same things. Too many times in my life that has meant chasing material possessions. The kids I hung out with after high school wanted fast import cars so I put myself into debt trying to fit in.

Of course this social influence means it is really difficult for me to figure out what I want and at a certain point there is no way to tell the difference between what I want and what my environment has programmed me to want. I have no way of knowing what I’d “truly” want without those influences.

If you’re unhappy with the current state of your life it is probably valuable to figure out what you want. That may mean staying away from friends for a bit to let their influence wear off. It may mean stopping contact with those friends until you’ve got yourself firmly planted where you want to be. Then you may find you don’t have much in common with them anyway.