A new book I picked up, The Reasons of Love (same author as On Bullshit, now one of my favorite current philosophers), has so far been very informative and clever, helping sort out exactly what it is about wanting and caring for things that is so complicated.
He separates things out into at least three layers: the object (say, an ice cream cone), the desire for that object (mmm... i love ice cream!), and the desire for that desire (i love loving ice cream!). The second two layers in particular are fun to think about. It's an interesting chart to make... things you both like, and like liking (sushi, live shows, a soft bed), things you like but don't necessarily like liking (drunkenness, porn, one night stands), things you don't like, but want to like (salads, exercise, volunteering), and things you both don't like and don't want to like (SUVs, sports, war). This little chart, and the unique differences between your chart and other people's charts, might actually go a long way to capturing personality. We are oftentimes defined by the things we like, and the things we like to like, and the things we don't like, and the things we don't like to like.
In any case, this book talks about how you can be said to "care" for something if you both desire it and want to desire it. And to act on that emotion is something that brings out happiness. I haven't gotten very far yet, but I'm guessing it's going to take this a few more steps further and say that we often find ourselves manufacturing new things to care about in our lives as previous cares are no longer as actionable. We all care about surviving, and if we had to spend a significant portion of our lives fighting for survival, and succeeding at the challenge, that might be a very satisfactory life indeed. But the truth is that we don't have to fight for that care anymore (as much) and therefore generate new cares like "finding the perfect rug for the living room" and striving for that in turn works as a substitute for the other cares that are already taken "care" of... haha. Anyway, here's a play on a saying by Confucius that I can't think of the end for:
To want what you want to want, and not to want what you do not want, that is true..."
True what? The Confucius quote ends in true knowledge, but this is something different. True awesomeness?