Needs Vs. Wants

or I want what I want.

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How many times did you hear as a child, your wants won’t kill you? I have even caught myself saying it to the children in my life and even to some adults. I have been on a mission to simplify my life, so wants and needs are in thoughts these days. Let go of wants. Focus on just what you need. Clean out and give away what you don’t need. Sounds easy right?

Not so much. I am a sentimental person. I attach feelings and memories to things. Cleaning is a nightmare. I see a thing I haven’t touched in months or years and the conversation goes like this, in my head or if some unfortunate soul there, it is an actual conversation. “I remember when I was given this (bought it, acquired it)….” Then I expand on the story of how this thing is important and tied to a memory. I usually toss it back on the shelf or box where it was found and no cleaning is accomplished. It isn’t always about old things. It is sometimes new and shiny things.

Sure I want things. I have things, too many. Part of my plan to simplify is to not collect more unnecessary things and to rid my self of the unused things. I want to shift focus on real needs. I may WANT a thing that I have no NEED for.

It is at that point that I should do the test. I fail miserably…and end up with the thing more times than I care to admit. Mostly books. Lots and lots of books. Or shinny things like dice and costume jewelry that I never wear. I digress…..the test goes like this.

Sparkly d20 dice from my collection

Do you really need the thing? Yes. (It is always yes at first.)

Do you have a thing that will do all the things this one thing does? No…maybe.

If not, can you get this thing for less money at a thrift store or on Amazon? Maybe.

Do you really need it or is it a want? UGh…I do not want to answer that!

Is there something you truly need that you should spend the X dollars on? Probably…Yes.

Do you really need the thing? sigh…no.

Its not about the thing it is about the wanting. We want for a multitude of reasons. We want to own things to feel accomplished, to be respected by others as successful, to be valued. It is most certainly not about the things.

The results do not satisfy us so we want more things, new things. The things then tend to own us. Cars and houses need maintenance. Cellphones, electronics, and computers are time eaters. Collections on shelves and in boxes need dusting and moving. They take up space that could be used for things that are truly needs not wants.

So, here is what I am doing. Beginning to look at my time and money as valuable things in the light of what I really need. Focus on the necessary not the sparkly new. Taking a honest look at what I have, what I need and what is important. Once I do that inventory,I will begin to get prioritized. Keeping the needs and a few of the sentimental keepsakes. I am still refusing to give up any books or dice.

Will this be fun? No, it will not be fun. It will take time and it will be dirty. I will have to deal with feelings too. In the end it will be better. Money and time will mean more when I see the true value of wants and needs.

Believe in priorities.

~Lori O’Gara

Lori is a novelist and self proclaimed expert on how to be a non traditional, people loving, happy life living Christian. Read more about her here.