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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Need vs. Want: A Lesson in Frugality

I'm struggling with a want lately. A want for something that's really not necessary. It's not really critical to my physical or mental well-being. I suppose that I could rationalize that it is, but it's not. Truthfully. Really. Elizabeth. It's. Not. Necessary.

But, I want it. I want it so bad, I can reach out and almost touch it. I can taste it, visualize it, almost feel it in my hands.

It's a hard lesson learned, but sometimes the needs have to win out over the wants. I strive to teach this to my son on almost a daily basis. And he reacts to it as I'd like to. Sometimes with stony silence. Sometimes with tears. Eventually, though, there is acquiescence.

I'm waiting for that big word to dawn upon me. I want acceptance to draw over me like a warm blanket. You don't need it. You want it. You have other needs that must go before it. There are others without anything that you should help first. You. Have. So. Much.

When I get this way, wanting, wanting, wanting, something, anything that I just don't require, I try to remind myself of how much I really have. Of how lucky I truly am. I try to throw myself into volunteer work, charity. I read about injustices and the lack of very basic things in other countries or right in my own backyard.
I remind myself and try to quiet my desperation with reflection on what is really important.

It's not easy. We're blasted with consumerism everywhere we turn. I think that's why I've unplugged so much. I don't watch much TV anymore. I'm not really interested. And if I do, I TiVo it so I can zoom through the commercials. Recently, I was instructed on the presence of the Snuggie in our world by my son. Who knew one needed a blanket with sleeves and yet there it is. A completely unnecessary item that will soon clutter the shelves of thrift stores every where. Look for them near the S'more Makers and the Billy Bass Singing Fish.

The Internet is a great thing, but shopping on it is like having a Mall in your home 24/7. I've watched people I know consumed by this Mall's proximity. The cardboard boxes piled up like dirty little secrets are a sure giveaway.

I have taken a thankful approach to our struggling economy. I'm seeing more families make wiser decisions with their money and how much they consume. I've watched our neighborhood library and park usage soar. I've taken great pleasure in listening to others talking about breaking out the board games instead of heading to the movies. Connecting instead of passively consuming.

In these "struggling economic times" I still have so much. I still want, but the reminders that need vs want are very different things are all around me. I just have to look for them and keep looking. And when the feeling still doesn't go away, I look again, closer, until it all becomes crystal clear.

1 comment:

  1. the wants the wants, it's hard I know. Treat yourself every now and again, you'll be thankful that you did :)


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