Wants vs. needs

The frugal thing is working out OK. I got some money for my birthday from my in-laws and have no idea what to do with it. We went out to dinner for my birthday, that was really all the fuss I wanted. I can’t think of anything I want right now – even books – except presents for other people. What a nice predicament to be in!

I decided earlier this year that I had enough. Enough stuff, enough money to live on, and just enough all around. That decision, to see what I already have as enough, has stood me in good stead. It has made me realize that I really don’t need anything else to be perfectly happy. I have a wonderful family, a roof over my head, a collection of well-loved books, enough food to eat, and am training for a field that I hope to be in for the next 25 years or more. What more could I possibly need?

That doesn’t keep me from wanting more money sometimes. Or a new car when I see one that’s particularly cool. Or a new house in a better neighborhood. I want those things, and am working toward a couple of them, but I realized that they are not essential to my happiness. They are wants rather than needs. That sort of thinking is amazing. I am finally content with what I have. I am not always looking at other people’s things with envy; I am looking at my own things with love. I love that we have everything we need. I love the silly decorations that I have, and the Marvel poster in pride of place on the living room wall. Our possessions make me happy, and those that don’t, need to go.

I highly recommend making the decision (and it is a decision) to declare what you have enough. As long as you have the basic needs of life covered and maybe a little extra, declare it enough. That one decision will make your life so much easier. You won’t be constantly unhappy because you don’t have _____. You might want it, but then it’s something that you can work toward getting instead of a point of jealousy and envy. The thing about jealousy and envy is that they aren’t particularly motivating emotions. You sit there and stew about the thing instead of trying to go out and get it.

I’m sure I will figure out something to spend the money on, but in the meantime, it’s kind of nice to not have any ideas.

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