What exactly do we all need to live? Is it 4 televisions, 3 cars, a 4,000 square foot house? Multiple yearly vacations to far away lands? Piles of cheap plastic doo-dads from China? As the earth slowly heats up because of our emissions and our the stops coming out of the ground, people are starting to think about what they actually need rather than what they just want, and I think it is great that we will be able to participate in this life-changing redefinition of need vs. want.
I really enjoy my things, don’t get me wrong. And I used to have much more of them and like them even more! But over the last couple of years I have stopped seeing any real importance in most of it, instead trying to focus more on our lifestyle and what we do in our spare time. I have now gone without a car for 1.5 years, which is something I never thought I would do. Sure, it’s a pain sometimes – but not as much of a pain as having another car payment, another insurance payment, another thing to maintain. I am sure I will have to get one someday soon when we move out of the center of town, but for now I am OK with being carless, even in this rural area. Not many people think they can live without a car, but it is easier than you think it is – especially in a big city. But this is just one example of choosing need over want…I would love to have a nice new car. But I don’t need one, so I go without.
I used to think I needed to make a ton of money to be happy, but have slowly changed my thinking so that money is not what is important – it’s what I do with what I have that is important. I don’t care to make a million dollars a year as all it will do is buy me more stuff. I just want to be comfortable; that is all. I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food in my pantry, a car to ride around in, my health (now, finally), a loving wife, 1 television, 1 DVD player, a computer to do my work on, and enough money in the bank to live a comfortable (but not extravagant) life. What more does one really need? Not much really – and that’s the difference between need and want. There are lots of things I could convince myself that I want, but very few of them are actual needs. It took me a while to get to this point, and I am still not 100% innocent of “wanting” things I don’t need. But I think more and more people will start thinking like this as concern for our surroundings grows, and that’s a good thing.
What do you go without even if you have the means to have it? What choices have you made in your life that have redefined need vs. want?
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