Wants and Needs

Merriam Webster defines Need as:

“something that a person must have : something that is needed in order to live or succeed or be happy”

It is always funny to me, when my son comes to me and says, ” I NEED this!”  This, of course, being whatever latest toy/Lego he just HAS TO HAVE. He doesn’t just want it, he NEEDS it, and is quite persistent in his announcement. With him though, that NEED can change as quick as the next commercial, or the turn down the next aisle at the store.  For him, NEED versus WANT are equal.

It isn’t always material things people insist they NEED.  Relationships can fall into that category at times. I have listened as people espouse how much they NEED the other person in their life.  That all-consuming, can’t spend a minute apart, what do I do without you, NEED.   It is wonderful to have a partner to share your joys and sorrows, your adventures and boring days, but to place your happiness on their shoulders  becomes smothering and draining. Why would anyone want that?   Isn’t it better to be proud of yourself and your achievements, secure in the knowledge you can take care of yourself and be self-sufficient, bringing all that to a relationship?  Encouraging the other person to be all they can be, not basing your happiness on them?

I would guess most people confuse what they want with what they need. Do we NEED that 3000 square foot home, with a pool? Or that fancy car? No, of course not.  Do we WANT them? I know I do. Do I have them?  No. What I do have is a decent size home, no pool. We have decent cars, no Mercedes or BMW, but decent.  You see, we didn’t go overboard with what we bought. We bought what we could afford, we worked hard and so far we have done pretty well.   We have planned for our wants and made certain our needs were met first.  Now we have the opportunity to purchase a really big want!  A new, well new to us, RV.

Yes it is big, and a bit costly, o.k. really costly.  Do we NEED it? According to Merriam Webster no.  Do we want it? Absolutely.  We had an RV before, and spent 5 years taking cross-country  family vacations.  We had our easy trips where everything went rather smooth.  There were those trips that became “adventures”.  You know the type; where it seems any and all mishaps occur, and during the trip it is all so stressful you think why in the world did we do this?  But, in  hind sight, those adventure trips are the ones you retell, with fondness and laughter, well after the stress has worn off.

Our summer travels will take us to the familiar and the new,  to family and strangers.  We anticipate “adventures” and hope for smooth rides.   Clearly this is not a NEED, according to Merriam Webster.  It is not a must have,  we can live without it, be successful without it and happy without it.  By all means,  it is a want.  So, for our youngest son, who says he “needs to travel” and for us as parents, who find comfort in the adventures, we will embark on new journeys.  We will experience new adventures, and working  together, find what truly brings us joy, as individuals and as a family.


I had a nice visit with a friend recently, something we don’t always get to do.  When I called her, it had been quite some time since we had visited, but we have been friends for so long that it was as if it were only a few days since we had last talked.  On the day we met for lunch, she commented to me, ” when you called and said pick a day next week for lunch,  I was confused and thought I missed something we had planned. But no, it’s just us.  We don’t see each other for a long time, and then when we do it’s like no time has passed!”    I love that about our friendship.

Our lunch was great. We had a long conversation about a multitude of topics. We laughed and reminisced and caught up. We have been friends so long our conversations are easy, and it’s always nice to be able to talk to someone who knows your past .

As I was driving home, my thoughts went to our conversation, and more importantly, to the words left unsaid.  I wouldn’t say she shared secrets, it was more of a sharing of deeper thoughts.  Maybe you have had conversations like that. You are chatting away and realize  the person  has just shared some personal information without actually spelling it out.  A little bit of, read between the lines.

Friendships and relationships can be funny like that. You think you know someone and they share something with you that makes you see them in a new light. I think it is also a measure of comfort between friends.

I don’t believe anyone truly knows everything about another person.  Family members experience  one facet of you, coworkers another. Friends and acquaintances know another side. There is always a little piece missing with each relationship.

Every day life brings us another challenge, and challenges don’t always have to be struggles.  Letting people into our life, sharing in the  secrets we may have, can certainly help us all become better people.  A fresh perspective, an understanding that we are not alone in our thinking, all play a part in our lives.  It may be a little scary to open up and let someone learn a side of you they don’t normally see,  but doing so can be just the affirmation we might need at the time.