I have no doubt that you're right, but it'd be nice to have the agency to confirm that for myself instead of simply assuming. As well, when you're hard-pressed for experience, even disappointment can be preferable over apathy or nothingness. The list is too long. Most of it is cherry-picked from memories. There are also uniquely generational things which can't be replaced by similar or different experiences; pretty much anyone from my peer group in a certain locale will know "the Zellers experience," for example. Boiled down to its barest essentials, most of the want comes in the form of family and intimacy. That's what it usually ends up being tied to in some way, either directly or indirectly. Otherwise, they're snapshots of a feeling or visual, a moment in time carried forward. I have a visceral recollection of sitting by the ferris wheel on Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls, drinking an Iced Capp, people-watching during a summer night. I can hear the arcade a hundred meters away, the distant roar of the Falls, the tourists all around me laughing and having a good time. There's a very specific smell to the place at this time, a very specific feeling in your chest. One other aspect is that, regardless of whatever bogus tomfoolery my parents had been getting up to until that point, if we were on that bench in that place at that time, it meant they weren't being cruel and I got to pretend for just one moment that life wasn't so bad. We'd only be there if they weren't ignoring me, or telling me I was a traitor to God, or holding some other imagined transgression against me. But it's the smell, the calm, the feeling, that I miss, that I want to replicate, that I want to experience for myself when I have agency instead of simply being along for the ride. I want to feel the best I've felt, the potential I saw in these experiences. I remember that bench fondly, but what if I had been able to walk across the street and go into that haunted house? What if I went into the club for a drink? What if I went on the ferris wheel, or into the arcade? What if I sat on a different bench? What if I had a family that I didn't have to trick myself into thinking was something real? What if I could share in this experience with another human being without any pretense or fabrication? See, that's the memory of a thing that happened several times over several years. Usually at least a couple times each year. I know at least some aspect of the feeling being yearned for. And going on vacation each year? Well hell, on the face of it that sounds great, although it ignores the context of the threats behind it, the lack of agency, and the fact that my savings were raided to pay for it each time. But I always managed to pluck positive memories out from the bad, like what I shared above. Who cares that hours earlier my dad left me at the motel because I played with someone else in the pool and therefore I betrayed him, and thus didn't deserve dinner? He wasn't mad right then. I could pretend he was my dad, so long as we stayed on that bench. I couldn't stray from that bench. There was a very set way things needed to be done, even on vacation. But the bench wasn't so bad. But let's circle back to Zellers. It's so very mundane, isn't it? A retail store! How bad could one's life be that not partaking in the ritual of retail shopping is such a bitterness? I grew up in a tiny rural town and we would go to "the city" a couple times a year. This city had less than 20,000 people at the time. It was a city insofar as it had 18,000 more people than where I lived. There was a Zellers here, and everyone in my town loved it. They loved the big bar stools at the restaurant. They loved hiding in the clothing racks. They loved being able to walk outside the store and be in a small mall with quirky stores that sold Native souvenirs and weird jewelry. I always had to go with my parents when they went to the city, but they were void of any sense of present. They didn't want to linger or do things. They wanted to get what they needed and then go home; they saw the city as a frivolous affair, something to be avoided at all cost. So we'd walk into Zellers and I'd be ordered to follow close behind. Don't dilly-dally, don't ask questions, don't do a thing except follow. Every time we'd pass the restaurant, I'd look in and think to myself, "I wish I could sit on those big bar stools. I wish I could find out why everyone liked this place so much." But instead I'd follow, five or ten minutes would pass, and we'd be back in the car going home. Children and adults alike would wax poetic about this place. The food was great, the stock was expansive, the experience was heads and shoulders above the likes of Walmart (which was another establishment I knew nothing of, only that it was Bad with a capital B). And that restaurant... ohhh, that restaurant. Gourmet food, if you asked anyone then. I asked, once, if we could eat there. The response was definitive: "That's never going to happen." So I always said to myself that I'd go to that restaurant one day and finally find out whether or not there was anything to it. Maybe it'd suck, but hell, at least I'd have experienced it once. But I never did.