Needs and wants are perhaps even more significant a topic at this time of year. Every year I am faced with getting my husband both birthday and Christmas presents. This strains my brain to figure out what he “wants” or “needs”.
Gifts of need or want?
never knowing what to buy
A strain on my brain
Then yesterday I received this comment from a “linkedin” friend:
“You seem like a lady who has everything?
I wonder…what do you want for
At first, I wondered what I had said in a post or comment to give the impression that I had everything?
Then I wondered if I really take the time to think about the distinction between what I need and what I want.
Then I thought about Ida who has to weigh this question daily since she is, out of necessity, forced to survive on the bare minimum.
Susan Gammage wrote an excellent post on the topic. It’s too long to repost but here’s how it starts:“Recently I was listening to a podcast on our relationship to money by my favorite minister, Jeremy McClung of the Muskoka Community Church, which left me asking the question: When is enough, enough? This is an important question to ask especially at this season of excess we call Christmas.” “In his talk, Jeremy handed out index cards and asked us to write “stuff I have” on one side and to write “stuff I want” on the other. We were to make a detailed list of everything we own (land, cars, houses, clothes, electronics, appliances, toys etc)”. “What surprised me was how much was on my “want” side! Even though I have everything I need, and more, the list of what I wanted was longer than the list of what I owned. This was profound! I urge you to take out a sheet of paper right now and do this exercise for yourself.” “My income comes from a small disability pension, supplemented by some paid work, and I live in a small one bedroom apartment in a “geared to income” building. Some people look at my lifestyle and long for me to be better off financially, and sometimes I wonder if they’re right. My well-wishers see the transformative path I’ve been on for the past couple of decades, and how far I’ve come in ridding myself of the anxiety and depression that robbed me of my life, and they think it’s time for me to get back into the “real world” and get paid for all the work I do.
Susan citing the following REALLY got my attention:
If you could fit the entire population of the world into a village consisting of 100 people, maintaining the proportions of all the people living on Earth, that village would consist of:
- 57 Asians
14 Americans (North, Central and South)
- There would be:
52 women and 48 men
30 Caucasians and 70 non-Caucasians
30 Christians and 70 non-Christians
- In addition:
6 people would possess 59% of the wealth and they would all come from the USA
80 would live in poverty
70 would be illiterate
50 would suffer from hunger and malnutrition
1 would be dying
1 would be being born
1 would own a computer
1 (yes, only one) would have a university degree
If we looked at the world in this way, the need for acceptance and understanding would be obvious. But, consider again the following…
- If you have never experienced the horror of war, the solitude of prison, the pain of torture, were not close to death from starvation, then you are better off than 500 million people
- If you can go to your place of worship without fear that someone will assault or kill you, then you are luckier than 3 billion (that’s right) people.
- If you have food in the fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are wealthier than 75% of the world’s population.
- If you currently have money in the bank, in your wallet and a few coins in your purse, you are one of 8 of the privileged few amongst the 100 people in the world.
- If your parents are still alive and still married, you’re a rare individual.
- If you’re reading this message, you’re extremely lucky, because you don’t comprise one of those 2 billion people who still can’t read. (source unknown: http://www.movebeyond.net/417/know-no-limits/quote/lightening-in-a-jar/
Dear Linkedin Friend, Thank you for asking.
My greedy little ego will probably never be satisfied.
My soul tells me I have everything I need.