Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Needs vs. Wants

I think that's what this post is about.  There are a lot of posts about this scattered around blogland, particularly on the frugal or sustainability or frugal sustainability blogs.  Do we really need a new sweater or do we just want one?  Do we need to replace our stained stove or does it work just fine?  Do we need electricity or could we find ways to do things more manually?  (I need electricity, but that's perhaps just because I've had it all of my life and it would take a major lifestyle change and knowledge to change that).

I find that when friends come to visit, the conversation often turns to what's new in our lives.  New stuff usually.   I have a newly painted bedroom, a quilt started, a bunch of things in progress for our sale in April, but really no new stuff. 

When I hear conversation like that, my tendency is to want new stuff.  Is that just me?  It's pretty immature and the jealousy fades quickly.   I hope my kids don't feel that way all the time.  I hope that we're raising them to just work harder for things and to question whether they need it at all.  I could be justifying our lifestyle choices here, but I don't want our children to grow up feeling deprived.  I've chosen not to work for these years when they are young for many reasons and I'm having a fairly good time.  Are they?  Or would they rather we had a bit of disposable income? 

Wants or desires shouldn't be totally forgotten though either.  The other conversation that comes up is travel.  Partly because those are the big things that take place when we're all apart from each other.  I used to be more jealous of that too.  We can't travel to exotic places.  We can't afford it, and it's not the same travel experience to do it with children anyway.

I still really enjoy the travel that we can afford.  We drive around our province camping and seeing new things. 

I missed my annual trip to the Okanagan this year and I should have gone.  It's my only travel without the family and it's a retreat that my brain and body need (or just want?).  Time for adult conversation, silliness, no set bedtimes or wakeup calls, we eat when we're hungry, walk when we're restless, swim when the water beckons. 

The garden was much slower to mature this year, so in early September I was still in the middle of canning and processing and felt a bit like it really couldn't be abandoned for the luxury of this trip. 

I won't let that happen again.  I didn't feel like I needed the holiday at the time, but now I'm feeling it. It's not a luxury, it's Therapy.  And that's an awesome vineyard, by the way, Therapy Vineyards.

 And if my fellow travellers are reading this post, thanks for the postcard!  I'll be joining you this year for sure and adding to our chocolatey, cheesey, winey memories. 

Yvon and I haven't been away together without kids since Beth was born almost 13 years ago.  But we are going now!  In two weeks we'll get five days in the mountains with no children.  I'm mostly looking forward to the train ride, but the whole experience should be awesome.  Our kids aren't tough to be with, but it's just different to be alone with your spouse.  Hopefully we'll get sun and exercise and relaxation and come home ready to jump back into life as we know it. 

So, is travel a want or a need?  And is alone-time a want or a need?  Maybe it depends on each individual or on our life situation.  Right now I'd just call it a strong desire for me.  And postcards written in the heat of Okanagan just intensify it.  :-)

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