Needs and Wants

The kitties had all been fed and I stood there on the driveway, looking up into the dark sky. It was still an hour and a half to sunrise, but I could see enough to let me know that there must be heavy cloud … all the stars were hidden from view.

I thought about staying home, but in truth, my decision to go was made last night before I even went to bed.

You see, today is the third anniversary of my mom’s death and I needed to go and say hi.

Lake Parker is one of the three places where I spread her ashes. She and Dad had their ashes spread here and also in Lettuce Lake and in Lake Hancock.

In my list of wants as I looked up to the sky, the notion of a somewhat clear sky was by far my preference, but from what I could see (and confirmed by the app on my phone), Lakeland was smothered in cloud.

It wasn’t really intended to be a photo moment anyway, so I wasn’t too upset. I gathered three little candles and a book of matches and headed off to the lake’s shore.

I wanted to be able to light the three candles (one for each year) and sing her favorite song to her, but the breeze made a mockery of any attempts to light the candles. The longest they stayed lit was for less than two seconds.

And as for the singing, well, I wanted it to be a nice quiet visit but immediately I got there, the place was descended upon by boaters. Eight boats launched while I was there and the level of noise and clatter was distracting to say the least. I got a verse out before I left but I doubt if she heard it over the roar of the outboard motors.

When I left, I drove down the lake side and found a quiet spot where it was just the two of us and I got to finally let her know that I miss her. I don’t appreciate being left an orphan. Not cool!

Anyway, I include a few pics at the end of the blog from the morning and I hope you enjoy.

Meanwhile as I drove home, I mulled over how few of my wants were taken care of this morning. And yet how I still found a quiet moment somewhere, I still got the candles lit (even just for a couple of seconds), and I still got to sing a few lines of “My Way”. And Mother Nature even obliged with a lovely red and golden spot to shine through in between the layers of cloud.

So essentially, each of my needs were met so I have no complaints.

I know that we all know the relevance of wants versus needs and while we often focus on the former, the latter is far more important.

And sometime what we want is diametrically opposed to what we need. For example, if I had gotten the solitude for the morning, I wouldn’t have gotten my favorite shot of the morning, which is picture number four below of the distant boat in the water.

Focusing on wants is very natural, particularly when our needs are mostly met in life. Maslows Hierarchy of Needs defines beautifully how us humans react to life when we are at different levels of comfort. For most of us in the western world, our physiological needs are met inasmuch as we have enough to eat, a place to sleep, and air to breathe.

Most of us also have our safety needs met inasmuch as we have our health, income of some sort, and are not living under personal threat.

And so we begin to develop our wants beyond what these basic needs are.

We reach for the stars and want success, want a real feeling of worth, want to be loved and to love, and so on.

But take away one of our lower level needs and immediately we couldn’t give a rats ass about our wants. For instance, the moment we lose our health, our lives revolve around getting it back or at the very least restoring what we can of it.

There have been times in my life when all my needs and many of my wants have been met and life has been good. It has allowed me to reach into a mode of self-actualization, where my goals in life revolve around becoming the best person I can be.

In recent times life has undermined me on a couple of needs and more primitive wants, to where I have abandoned that notion for the moment.

I am sure that this happens to almost all of us and it behooves us in times like this to be able to strip away the veneer from something in order to be able to identify if it really is a need or simply a want.

This requires us to examine our motivations in doing things and to make sure we are not distracted away from something essential, all because of glitter and sparkle.

We can follow that sparkle when everything is going well, no doubt. But when things aren’t, we have to be very selective on what we are chasing and why.

That is one of the reasons why I often self-reflect. I ask myself routinely why I am doing something and what I hope to achieve from it. I examine the motivations regularly and there are times when I have spotted motivations that were wrong or at the very least poor.

No one holds us accountable for our lives, at least not to the extent that we should. We should be our own biggest critic and regulate our actions and interactions accordingly.

Because for everybody there will come a moment, when some of life’s needs will be taken away and we can’t be off chasing windmills when that happens.

While some who are privileged might follow their own silver-spoon lives and not have to care about their most essential needs, the rest of us need to keep a watchful eye on the realities of our lives.

I firmly believe in setting goals and living a planned life. I understand that things happen along the way that takes certain elements of that out of my hands. But by sorting out wants from needs, I can make sure that successful or not, at least my efforts will be in the areas in life that they need to be.

Life will pursue its own plans regardless of what my intentions and efforts might be. And that’s when it is most important that I am able to identify wants versus needs.

Even for the richest and most powerful of us, at the end of the day life comes and takes away the most important of all our needs … breathing.

… just a thought.