Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Needs vs. Wants

When it comes to NEEDS, it's easy to believe the list is long. Most people I know think we need things like cell phones, computers and flat screen tvs. Think about it - when was the last time you went a day without checking your email, talking on the phone or watching TV? Our perceived needs aren't just limited to technology. We "need" cute clothes, nice cars, scented soaps, appealing food, frosty beverages, etc. The list is endless.

My household recently underwent an enormous reality check. For two weeks, we opened our home  to friends/acquaintances who were homeless and living out of their car. The following week, we hosted guests who live in a $860,000 home complete with a million dollar view. 

For a total of three weeks, we had front row seats to completely contrasting lifestyles. "Group A" lived off of a daily McChicken sandwich and cans of coke. "Group B"enjoyed more variety: fine dining at restaurants, groceries (no expense spared), fresh fruit from farmers' market, bottled water, soda, ginger ale and a liquor stash (Jim Beam, Seagrams 7 Crown). 

Group A's mission was to secure housing, find paying work, maintain running transportation and stay medication compliant. Group B was focused maximizing their vacation: snorkeling, sunning on the beach, hiking and finding the perfect island property for purchase. Talk about yin and yang.

My household tends to fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, but suddenly I'm questioning my values and beliefs. What I once viewed as a necessity (a steaming shower with scented bath gels, exfoliation cloth, pumice stone, followed by a rich body butter) has been boldly bumped into the category of luxury.

In my NECESSITY column, these things remain:

  • Faith in the goodness and kindness of the human spirit
  • Self respect 
  • Love for self and others
  • A stable foundation
  • Warmth (both emotional and physical)
  • Trust in one's self
  • Humility
  • Resilience 
  • HOPE

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