While I was in the car with my family the other night, my daughter could be heard saying (with her mouth turned in a frown and in her best, most pathetic sounding voice)
“Mom, I NEED a pair of purple gloves”.
My 5 year old son quickly chimed in “You WANT a pair of purple gloves, you don’t NEED them”.
Intrigued that he’d made the distinction, I asked him what the difference was between Need and Want. He said “A need is something you need to survive but something you want is just something that would be nice to have”.
Pretty astute I thought, and it got me thinking about needing and wanting, in terms of my own professional/personal life.
I remember, very clearly, as an early 20-something just starting out on my own and in the workforce, how every so often I’d think to myself “Wow…I NEED a vacation” or “I need a new handbag or a skirt or a stereo” etc. etc. etc. My needs (or so I thought) were many, but my funds were few.
As I’ve gotten older, and life has changed with the addition of more challenging positions at work combined with a Husband and now 2 children, it’s funny how my needs and wants have changed dramatically. What I thought I needed in my 20s, I really just wanted…the vacation, the handbag etc.
As life situations get more complicated, those same things really do become needs. A vacation, just for the sake of getting out of town, is something I aspire to take however these days, my vacation is typically spent catching up on any outstanding errands/appointments/chores that I haven’t gotten to since my last “vacation”. You certainly won’t find a picture of the kids and me waiting on line at the DMV for my registration renewal, to appear on any of the destination brochures you see at the travel agency…and if you do, let me know- they owe me royalties!
You know how “staycations” have become all the rage in this latest economic downturn? Well I’ve been doing staycations for the last 6+ years! Who knew I was a trend-setter?
But at the same time as it seems nearly impossible to take a vacation in the traditional sense of the word, I probably need one now more than ever. I, as I’m certain is the case with most adults, could really use a few days to disconnect from all of the daily goings on, and just sit somewhere…on a beach perhaps, with no responsibilities other than relaxation.
As for handbags….who needs a new one of those (even when you’re schlepping around with a broken strap and missing clasp) when there are Playstations and Pillow Pets, Barbies and bicycles…let alone school tuition, daycare, food and the list goes on and on and on?
For a while, I tried to deny the shift in my reality. In my own mind, I insisted that my wants (the new shoes, highlights for my hair etc) were equally as addressed as those of every other member of my family- clearly that’s not the case yet surprisingly, I’m perfectly ok with that.
It’s the needs…..taking a break just to do nothing, that I’m working on addressing. I think those things or better yet NOT doing those things, will in the long-run sabotage my best-efforts at personal and professional success.
I think that we, as dynamic professionals with dynamic personal lives, can do it all and make it all work…but making it work takes work and that’s a concept that I struggle with each and every day.
How about you?