Thursday, May 20, 2010

Needs versus Wants

“You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need” - The Rolling Stones

I had a great conversation with a native Hawaiian today.   Maya works at the hotel and was born on Oahu.  We talked about the best and worst parts of living in Hawaii.   She cited the cost of living as being one of the biggest challenges facing most Hawaiians.   This is something we hear daily in our conversations with the locals.

Maya added a little thought-provoking gem, though; something that I think we all know, but sometimes need to be reminded of : your quality of life on the islands (or anywhere) depends on what you value, and people can have very different ideas about what they need versus what they want.

According to Maya, you only really need a shelter, a few clothes, food and gas to get around.  The car you drive and the clothes you wear don't need to be fancy in Hawaii.   If you focus on what you need - life in Hawaii is not so unaffordable.  The beaches are free, the sunshine is plentiful, the ocean is cheap therapy.

I think that philosophy is one we can easily carry home with us.   Many times Mr Self Care and I do ask ourselves if something is a "want" or a "need", but sometimes we just procure stuff without considering which catagory it falls under.   We live in a society that makes it very easy to get everything that we want immediately.   American Express or Master Card it....90 days interest free and no payments...we will take one of these and one of those too!    

The satisfaction that buying provides is short lived though.  Just time yourself next time you buy something that you absolutely felt you must have!  How long before the excitement of your purchase wears off?  It probably depends on a number of variables:  the item, and how much you spent, how often you use it, how long you waited for it, nostalgia- but invariably no thing you purchase maintains its "awe" factor forever. 

I think this perspective is valuable.   Things clutter our lives and bog us down.  The more you have the harder it is to keep your house cleaned.  Things create stress....things take up valuable space....

So what can you do without?   If you were planning to move to a new life in the islands what would you take with you?   What would you leave behind?   

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