Our Noble Pursuits

Living the good life. And writing about it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wants and Needs

I’ve been finding myself thinking a lot lately about the differences between wants and needs.  It's sort of been the recurring theme in various places I have been and conversations I have had or listened to.  Confession time for a second – I sometimes confuse the two in my head.  I think many of us do in one way or the other.  And it seems the confusion, at least for me, is isolated to one specific facet of my life.  For instance, I understand the difference between needing food - needing to be nourished, needing it for energy, needing it to sustain me physically – and wanting a certain meal from a certain place.  I get that, and I never have a problem seeing the difference between my need to eat something to satisfy my hunger and my desire for that something to be a nice meal in a cozy restaurant enjoyed with my husband or my friends.  The same is true of many other pieces of my life – I know the difference between what David, Annie, and I truly need as a family and what I just want us to have.  What’s the hang up, you ask?  What’s that facet of life that leaves me not so good at discerning the difference?   Take a guess…

Yep, my house.  That’s my Achilles heel when it comes to being a pro at knowing the difference between my needs and my wants.  While on an intellectual level I understand that all I really need is a warm place to sleep at night, a roof over my head, and the size, quality, and cabinet space (ha!) of that place are of no real importance, I have been having a really hard time convincing myself of that lately.  You see, I’m sort of a Negative Nelly when it comes to our house, and I have been for some time now.  Don’t get me wrong, it is a wonderful house…I mean that, I’m not just saying that in case someone reading this may want to buy it one day.  It’s just a small, one-bathroom, strangely arranged kitchen kind of house.  And I sometimes have a hard time identifying my wants in that house instead of my needs.

In my head, I convince myself that I need a second bathroom.  I need a third bedroom.  I need a kitchen with enough counter space for David and I to both be able to fix our breakfast in the morning without running into each other and enough cabinet space for us to store all of our dishes and serving bowls in one place instead of in three or four mismatched cabinet pieces.  Then I get really out of whack and start thinking that we need a playroom for Annie.  And it needs to be within eyesight of the kitchen so I can watch her play while I make four-course meals that I serve at the table of the eat in kitchen that we, quite undeniably, need.  And I think we need an area in our kitchen where Annie can sit in a year or so and help me bake cookies and fix dinner using the stainless steel appliances that we obviously need, all within sight of the beautiful tiled backsplash I need for my husband to put in our shiny, spotless kitchen, like the ones his clients have thanks to his talent and handiwork.  Oh, and let’s not forget how we need a driveway that is big enough for my car and David’s truck to sit side-by-side. And we need a front walk that isn’t cracked and bumpy.  And we need a front porch floor that doesn’t resist paint like nobody’s business.  And we need…well, you get my point.

But I’m turning over a new leaf here, and I’m starting to see how trivial that list of needs is.  What I have thus far honestly thought of as deficiencies in our home – things that are lacking, and things that we need – are really just my wants.  And as you can see, I want a lot.  And I’m trying to get better.  Every time I roll my eyes at the size of our bathroom, I am trying to replace that thought with one of the many many positive aspects of our home.  Aspects like our sweeping front porch that is was the perfect place for our daughter to be rocked to sleep in the first weeks of her life.  Or the warm and cozy bedroom where Annie has slept almost every night of her life, safe and secure.  Or the closets my husband built with his own two hands when it became clear that the tiny doorways of 1920s closets were not enough for our twenty-first century assortment of clothes.  Or the deck where we have entertained friends and celebrated many of special occasion, including our daughter’s first birthday.  Or the neighborhood where we have spent time with some of our dearest friends and where Annie has played with children we hope will be her friends for life.

While I’m not saying I want to stay in this house forever, and I am still very much hoping we find the perfect buyer for it in the next few months, I am saying that I have everything I really need in our little bungalow…and then some.
A new favorite past time: buckling buckles.

"Hiding" from Daddy.

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