Want versus Need

Definitely a recurring theme around here lately – want vs. need.  Just when I think I’ve got the concept figured out, something happens that reminds me that my point of view can be very skewed.

It started with a trip to Target to pick up a few essentials.  And who can go to Target and just get what they need without wandering around for a bit and seeing all kinds of stuff that they need (want).  Youngest and I ended up in the Halloween section.  She’s thinking about her costume and dreaming big dreams – and that in my opinion is the fun part of Halloween.  Forget the candy – Who can I be?  That’s a great question.  Who/what can I dress up as?  What can I imagine?  What can I pretend?  The big night when I can wear a costume and be whoever (or whatever) I want!

She’s perusing the aisles keeping in mind the parameters.  No complete costume that costs $25.00 before accessories.  Have to use your imagination.  If we buy it this early, you can’t get bored and change your mind.

As she’s looking we can’t help but notice some of the other families around us.  Several kids each and a cart full of Halloween.  They sent the kids down the aisles and said “pick out a costume”.   And they did:  the costume, all the accessories, the matching candy bucket, and a few pricey Halloween decorations for good measure.  “Mom, I need this to go with my costume”.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not judging their purchases, decisions or child-rearing practices.  Maybe they have that kind of money.  Maybe they have good credit.  Maybe it’s their once-a-year splurge.  It’s really none of my business.

What I do know, is that my kid picked out fox ears, a fox tail, and a fox nose, said I’ll use a plastic bag for my candy or find something at home, and was done.

Not going to lie…she certainly noticed those other kids shopping.

We had a good, long talk about want and need.

About what happens when you get everything you want as a kid and then grow up.  And find out the world isn’t really all about making you happy.

About kids in this country and certainly elsewhere in the world who will never get that one night of dressing up and getting way too much candy – about the kids who will never know a decent meal, much less a piece of candy.

About this simple truth:  you can’t have it all – no matter how rich you are or how hard you try.

About being careful who you are comparing your life to when figuring out if you have enough or not.

…The people in Target who dropped about $400 for one night of fun or the folks who weren’t in Target getting anything at all?

…The people up the street who have a “nicer” house or the people around the world who don’t have any home at all?

…Our paycheck that doesn’t quite reach until the next payday or the people who don’t have a paycheck at all and would really like to be earning one.  Not to mention the folks who are working two full-time jobs or multiple part-time ones just to keep the roof over their heads.

This was her big life lesson this week.  I know she’s thinking about it.  I hope it helps her to make better and more thoughtful decisions about her wants and needs.

But, I’m afraid its not a lesson you learn once and are done.  That you get it all figured out and don’t need to worry about it any more.  There’s just so much cool “stuff” out there.  So much to want.  So many advertisements skewing our perspective.  The fallacy that “this” will make up happy.  “This” will make our house clean.  “This” will solve that problem.

It seems that I have to revisit the subject of want versus need a lot

After the Target visit,  I was thinking, “It is really time to figure out flooring for this house.  I need to get these floors done.  (Remember, we pulled up the carpet a while back).  A trip to The Home Depot ensues.  Conclusion:  no way in hell these floors are getting done any time soon.  Now I feel sorry for myself because I really need new flooring and we work hard and we should be able to have new flooring and there just isn’t enough money and it really isn’t fair….

And then…

…I’m made aware of a family I know that lost their house to foreclosure
…and am reminded of a friend who has opened up her home to two families that needed some help getting their life together
…and a group of folks that live in tents and live paycheck to paycheck and job to job and help each other out – sharing whatever they have
…and the family I know who need a new floor (not just floor covering) and a new roof and a couple of windows
And I have a good, long talk with myself about want and need.  And I’m thinking about it.  I’m hoping it will help me make better and more thoughtful decisions about want and need.  Until the next time…

minutiae part 1- paper fasteners

IMAG0782Feel free to laugh at me…or with me following the reading of this post.

This pile of paper fasteners (paper clips, binder clips and rubber bands) have been sitting on my desk for over a week – okay, more like 3 weeks. They are the result of the massive paper de-cluttering I have been doing with our old business files.

The shredded paper has gone to recycling along with the boxes.  Dropped off regularly.  Out of the house…out of my life.  Moving on…

But these paper fasteners, along with 3 other zippy bags stuffed full, are still here.  On my desk.  Taking up space.  Falling to the floor.  Kicked all over the place.

Why?  Because I might need them someday?  I’ve had one paper clip in my drawer forever.  I never use it, but keep it just in case.  Why are these decisions so hard for me?  Aargh.

If I ever did find myself in the position to organize hundreds of reams of paper, I could surely get some more for very little money.

What the heck?  They are going today.  Going to the thrift store where someone who does need them can have them.

Going, going, gone!

The Interruptions

[ ìntə rúpshən ]
a pause, break, or temporary halt in an ongoing activity or process
I’ve said this before, but I’m saying it again…and probably again and again…
“Sometimes the interruptions are the work that needs to be done.”
You know that day (or week) when you have a plan to get it all together, and then life happens.  The unplanned for thing(s) that you couldn’t have expected, but probably should have.
Illness, injury,  a forgotten appointment, a friend in need –  you know, the next door neighbor in her 70’s whose roof got seriously damaged during a storm and another storm is on its way.
That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about.  The things you need to do.  The things you want to do.  But, in the back of your mind you’re thinking:  but I have a list.  A list of things I’m going to work on today.  I’m going to do those things and cross them off and everything is going to be all better.
Except that’s not life.  It’s certainly not the life you are trying to get your life together in order to live.
I want to clear my clutter and organize my life so that life’s happenings aren’t seen as interruptions.  So that I can focus on doing what needs to be done without feeling like I don’t have time.
I want to be the person who is there for someone who needs them.  The person who isn’t half-way present.  I don’t want to feel like the work I need to do is an interruption.
Sorry for this hastily written blog.  I’ve only got a minute to jot this down, but I suspect that I’m not the only person who struggles with this.  I hope it doesn’t sound as much like a rant as I suspect it does. it’s meant to be more of a “share”.  I am frustrated – with myself mostly.
I want faster progress.  I want improvement now.  It’s been a busy week – full of life (interruptions).