“Needs” Vs “Wants” Of Life

“The person is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, The Writings of Henry David Thoreau … 

Perhaps you have heard the phrase “the more you make, the more you spend” at some point during the course of your life. When we do not have our priorities straight, we often get caught up in the “buy new things” craze. And although this may offer us a momentary happiness, this does not increase our happiness, enjoyment, and pleasure, nor can it ever bring about true and lasting joy in our lives. On the contrary, the less you need to enjoy yourself and seek true pleasure in life, the closer enjoyment and pleasure become, for we do not have to be millionaires to experience the riches of life; even the poorest among us can find great pleasure in the little things that are free or cost hardly anything and thus are vast and easy to attain and enjoy.

Yet not all of us are fortunate enough to stumble upon this truth in our journeys through life, or when we do, we wish we were able to have done so much sooner. Still, we all have the ability to be rich right now–by simply decreasing our wants and increasing our awareness and appreciation of all the riches that lie before us. The beauty of it is that when we let go of our wants and our supposed needs, and start to see just how satisfying the things that are already available to us are, we begin to see that we already possess great wealth, we begin to realize that we do not need to go on a four-thousand dollar luxury vacation to an exotic resort every year to experience the pleasures of life, for there are truly amazing and enjoyable places close to home that we have not seen or experienced yet–lakes to swim in, rivers to canoe or fish in, woods to walk or jog in, meadows to ride bikes or horses through. And expensive restaurants may have great food and a special atmosphere, but so does a home filled with love and laughter.

The older I grow, the easier it is to find riches in the simplistic areas of my life. Experience is teaching me that the things that others wish for me to desire–marketers, advertisers, companies, and others who wish to profit off me–will not make me happier or allow me to enjoy life any more. In fact, the more I chase things that I want the less happy I become. And now that I realize just how much beauty and wonder surround me each day, just opening my eyes, and ears, and nose to all the wonder and beauty each day gives me a great deal of enjoyment. Now, a nice walk or jog in the park can lift my spirits more than a busy evening downtown; and a good pot of beef stew with my loved ones is more satisfying than a five-course gourmet meal.

Some of us make decisions in life that guarantee us to a life without billions of money. But that does not mean that we will not have a life full of riches. Money will not always be there for us. And knowing this allows us to see the importance of how wealthy we already are with that which we already have.

Do not buy anything that you do not need as you go about the day.

Questions to consider:

From where do we get the tendency to equate wealth with money? Is this an accurate perception?

What kinds of wonderful pleasures are there around you right now that do not cost anything at all, from talking to a good friend to seeing a beautiful sunrise or sunset?

How many people with lots of money really are not very rich at all? Why?

For further thought:

“Who is wise? Those who learn from every person. Who is mighty? Those who can master their own passions. Who is rich? Those who rejoice in their portion.” ~ The Talmud

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Filed under Commentary, Food For Thought, Living, Opinion

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