Blogging · Me myself and I · Thoughts

Just thinking…

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Amanda, from Something to Ponder About gave me food for thoughts with her latest post Sunday Sayings – Needs.

It is funny, because my response to her post probably isn’t exactly what she expected from readers, but what can I say? So here it is…

I think that there are some words that we use a bit loosely. Love and hate are two examples. We often don’t think twice and say we love something or someone when we really just like them a lot, or that we hate this or that, when we just don’t appreciate them.

The same goes with need. It seems to me that the more comfortable a person’s life becomes, the more they forget the true meaning of “needing”. Try to pay attention, just for a day, to see how many times you’ll hear people (and yourself) mention how they need that new laptop computer… How they need to change cars, or how they need to travel to Italy.

What we really mean is that we want these things. Sometimes really bad, but still, no one will die because they don’t have a computer, a car, or can’t travel. They might be less happy, their life more complicated, but still…

And I was thinking about that just a couple of days ago. I was sitting on my bed, looking at some of my stuff, and thinking, if I had to get rid of most of my things for some reason, and just save what I really really need, what would I let go? And truth is, a lot of it. Many of my clothes, and other stuff could be taken away without any problem. I would probably feel bad for getting rid of some things like gifts, that have something emotional about them… But I bet I’d soon be fine too. And all that was left in the end was enough furniture to be comfortable in my apartment, enough clothes for all four seasons, and maybe the occasional special event. Food in the fridge and cabinet, and all my real important memories; Pictures, letters…

I noticed that I had already worked on the need vs want  dilemma, while traveling abroad. Since my first trip to Denmark, three years ago, I decided that I would no longer travel with a suitcase, to save some money. I only take a backpack with me in the plane, and it can’t weigh more than twenty five pounds. For my first trip, I packed my bag with everything that would fit in, and I was just under the twenty five pound limit. But I found out that many of the things I had brought, I had not even used during my trip. On my second trip, I had cut on space and weight, and it was during winter (meaning warmer clothes) so I knew I had done a much better job choosing needed items. The same happened on my third trip to Vikingland, and when I went to Paris last fall.

I am getting better at knowing what I need to have with me, and what I want to bring.

I kept thinking, and I thought that maybe I was playing with words a bit. Or maybe this is very clear to me because of my years in Africa, when I was deprived of most of my North American luxuries. During these five years, I learnt that as long as I had food, water, somewhere I felt safe and clothes fitting the climate where I lived, life was good.

Maybe there is a graduation of what human beings want in their life. Going from primary needs (food, water, shelter…) to unimportant things (switching from a working white fridge, to a stainless fridge, because it looks better). And, let’s say we scale it from one to ten, with “one” being absolute need, and “ten” merely whims. And we all have our personal view of where “needs” switch to “wants”.

If I am right about that, it just seems logical that the closer that point is to level one on the scale, the simpler life is. Having less and less needs makes it easier to fill all your actual needs. And it is a lot less irritating not to have what we just want, because we know they are luxuries….

And just like my backpack example… It is a lot easier to travel light.

Well this is a lot of blabbering… I wonder if it only makes sense? If not, file your complaints to Amanda, it is her fault I jumped on the keyboard tonight… Mouahahahaha! But if you do get what I mean, please leave me your own thoughts about it. Who knows, an interesting conversation might come out of it!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21 thoughts on “Just thinking…

  1. Great piece. You are very good to be able to cut down everything like that to travel as is this other blogger w/ ah excellent name 🙂 . I’m not sure I could cut that much; although, I go through my closet, things, etc. A couple times of year & find enough to donate or sell. I have had times where i really have had to watch my $, so I do know when it comes down to it, saving an extra $5 or $10 can help — that means buying less of everything or waiting. I’m getting an apartment alone in April/May, & what I’m deciding as I slowly buy a few things for my kitchen, & have saved & for rent/deposit is that I’m thinking about things like a decent couch or seating, a vacuum, microwave etc. But I don’t know until I move & find a good place, what will I really use & require? My old house had all these so, What will I have space for? What’s affordable rent wise, along w/ all other bills? What do I learn to live w/o or downsize now? What do I need to keep that I’ll regret later if I don’t?

    Sometimes I think “things” are a safety net, they’re a fashion statement, being with it, especially if you care about that. But I have thought about what you wrote, going through e/t, getting it down to minimum, maybe just paying for storage & travelling for a few months. One day it’s sonething I’d like to try. Then again, it’s nice to have a warm familiar place to come home too.

    Great writing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree about that “safety net” point… I knew two sisters in my early twenties that had had a terrible childhood. Their parents were very poor and they abused both girls on top of it. When they grew up and started to have enough money to get around, they started stocking on things as if they could wake up poor the next day. It was very sad to see the obvious impact their parents had on their adulthood. Of course, we don’t all gather “stuff” because of past abuse, but I think that we just want to be sure not to lack this or that when we need it again.

      It must be quite something to prepare that move… I hope things go just perfect, and that you’ll find a home that fits you just fine! And I wouldn’t worry too much about not having everything you might need in your apartment right away. It just forces you to be creative until you have everything again 🙂 (just the other day, I had decided to make cheese fondue, and I didn’t have that fondue pot… I ended up using a mini slow-cooker I have. It did the job just fine :P)

      I had that idea of storing all I have and leaving for a couple of months before… But I didn’t have enough money to leave for that long, and then I moved in with Chéri, and he isn’t as much a traveler as I am, so… But if I lived alone, I would probably do it 🙂

      Thanks for the good words, and all the best with your new nest hunt!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank so much Cyranny. And you’re right often we can improvise with what we have. Maybe Cheri likes a few small vacations at least? Take care.

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      1. Dear Cyranny, It’s been crazy times but I’m a survivor. Yes, I’ve become active again and settling in to the platform. Thank you for always reaching out. Have a wonderful week. 🙂 🙂

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  2. I agree. Living alone, in a small space cuts back on a lot of things you used to have and enjoy. Financially, the needs have to fit what you need and can afford. Wants are passed up, in what some might say are necessities, but of course they’re not, really. We’re just used to it if we’re lucky and get spoiled. But when you can’t have them, you find you are okay without them. The most things I miss in my life are trees and green and flowers, birds.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing this, Cheryl… We are spoiled in North America. Not all of us, of course, I am not generalizing, but as a society. And it must be difficult to have to cut back on things you enjoy not by choice, but because you just can’t have them anymore. And you bring a good point here. Nature is by all means no luxury at all, but it is free and out there for everybody to enjoy… Many of us don’t even see it, while people like you can’t enjoy it like you’d want. :/

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  3. Excellent post, Cyranny! I am not at all sorry that I prompted this post. Bring on the complainants!
    The distinction between love and need is significant. I ever hear parents saying to their children, ” You need to sit down,” and perhaps they do for safety reasons, but the parents WANT them to sit down to make their lives easier. Just another example. I am also reminded of my son when he was a young 8 year old.X. It was in the Pokemon craze era and his friend was going on a big trip to American and Disneyland and presumably would see the Pokemon exhibit. He said he needed to go to Disneyland. I gently explained to him that he didn’t NEED to go and that I understood that he wanted to go, but soon enough, he and his friends would lose interest with Pokemon and find another craze to indulge in, and his response to this was, ” Well Mum, that is why I Have GOT to GO there NOW! [Before I lose interest!!] ” It was a simple enough equation for him, but I hope he learnt a lesson about needs/wants. He never did get to Disneyland!
    I love your backpack example – and I am really committed to reducing all my ‘stuff’ – have done so a lot already and I feel lighter for it. There seems to be a whole cut down on the materialist stuff movement. Just cutting down to essentials not only helps our planet, but also helps when it is time to move homes, to the next stage of our journey…. someone close to us isn’t left to deal with a whole lot of accumulated stuff.
    Thanks so much from a great and timely post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Amanda 🙂

      Oh wow, that Pokemon example is EXCELLENT! 🙂

      Some people would probably say that I am fussing around with the “want” vs “need” thing, but I read more than once that our brain really reacts to what we hear… Wether it comes from someone else or from our own mouth. And I do believe that to be true to a certain extent. Saying that we “need” this and that all the time probably conditions us to think that we do, indeed, ”need” all of that.

      Thanks for your thought provoking post 😉 I’ll check it out next week to see if I get as inspired by it!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If we repeat something often enough, it seems to become a truth. So I think there is some merit to what you are saying. That herd mentality puts more pressure and reinforcement into the equation. “Everyone has one now. ” I resisted the pressure to get a mobile phone for years, but in the end realized it could make my life easier in many respects. Have a wonderful week.

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  4. George and I started “downsizing” when we had plans to move to Guatemala a few years ago. We would have been living in a one room house..about 400 square feet…and so tons of stuff just had to go. It took about three weeks to come to the realization that we were actually burdened by the things we owned…it became so much easier after that to rid ourselves of most of it. The fact that we moved to Oklahoma instead hasn’t changed our minds about “stuff” either. We have what we need…actually he has far more than what he “needs”..but that is on George. lol. The last couple of times I traveled anywhere (Israel, Egypt, Guatemala) I took an oversized purse. that was it. I can’t do backpacks..bad back and ancient bones do not a backpack encourage. But I managed quite easily with the stuff I could pack in this bag. George took a overnighter suitcase and didn’t use 1/10th of the stuff he took along. I no longer have any “needs” other than warmth and food. Everything else is just fluff.

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    1. Oh my, LOL!! Reminds me of when Chéri and I spent a week in Cuba… Chéri wanted to pack 10 pairs of wool socks. (TEN, I kid you not!) I was tempted to let him go ahead, but I thought it was just too absurd when 1) we were going to be there for only seven days, and 2) most of the time, we’d be walking either barefoot, or wearing flip-flops!

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      1. I have this theory that men are equally as organized and street smart as women until they find a mate. Once they are part of a couple, *poof* it’s gone, and they suddenly rely on us for survival… LOL

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    1. We do… both mentally and physically. Decluttering is not easy, but I am sure it makes quite the difference.

      I’m doing ok, days are getting longer and longer, I’m hoping for an early spring, which would make everything so much easier 😉 Hope you are also doing well, Simon! xx

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