I’ve struggled my whole life to know the difference between “wants” and “needs”. Three financial setbacks have left us playing “Rob-from-Peter-to-pay-Paul” for so long that out of necessity I think I’ve gotten used to shoving everything into the “want” category — whether it is or isn’t. But finally at 64 I’m beginning to question the wisdom of always dong that.
Sometimes I’ve put purchases off thinking, “I CAN get by with that a little longer if I have to.” Like my glasses. Seven years old and the tint is flaking off. Can I still see through them? Yeah, but it’s like looking through a cloud of frog fuzz, as my dad used to say. I have long since given up trying to read the titles on the books on the bottom shelves at Barnes & Noble. But they’re still usable. Right?
I reckon the problem is I was born on the cusp of the disposable “ME” generation that wants everything it sees (and right this second to boot!) and the depression generation that believes if it isn’t broken it’s good enough (like not trading up on new phones); or if it can be fixed, don’t throw it away. Our house is full of “fixed” things.
In fact, Lord Drollery surprised the heck out of me yesterday with a FOURTH fix on a chair. It’s a wing back. Very Victorian. You can’t find them any more unless you buy an antique (though I suspect that style will come back around in due time, it always does). Three times we’ve had the springs in the seat replaced on that sucker. I was under the impression that a new chair was now out of the “want” column and into the “needs.” So out we went and bought one which was delivered Saturday.
I hate it. It doesn’t fit the decor. It’s huge and boxy, takes up way too much room. The only redeeming thing about it is it was cheap! (I know, I know. You get what you pay for. Especially with furniture, appliances, and shoes… ) Then I noticed yesterday the broken chair was missing. Much to my surprise his lordship informed me last night he’d taken it to be fixed AGAIN. Not just the springs this time, but he’s having it recovered. He picked out the fabric himself. Says we’ll have a whole new chair. (I can’t even get my head around what it’s costing us!) So WHY did we go buy a new one? Obviously HE doesn’t have things divided up in columns in his head like I do.
So last night I was pondering on which of the items on that list WERE actually “needs” not “wants”, things that would improve our quality of life or at least give us a little bit of enjoyment. My glasses for sure! And I’m toying with the idea of getting TWO pair just for the heck of it! A CD player for the car (this one took care of itself when our 17-year-old Sable died a couple months ago and we had to buy a newer one — I think his lordship is afraid one of these days I’ll get in the car with my CD’s and not come back! Tempting!). Central air conditioning. I’m SO bloomin’ sick of having to dust every other day. The evaporative cooler on our roof sucks in EVERYTHING, and since Bran has asthma, it’s always been a health concern. At 64 these things are now “iffy” in my mind.
After all that pondering, I decided the true “wants” are seldom things that cost a lot. And truthfully I’m beginning to question why I never allow myself the joy of having some of these things. An example? In 2006 when our daughter got married we moved our bedroom from our spider-ridden basement bedroom (which is the only reason I could make the transition from killing them to the more Zen attitude of “catch and release“) to Stef’s room upstairs. When we redecorated it I bought this lovely, tall basket in the shape of an urn (waited months for it to go on sale for half price at JoAnn’s) to put seasonal flowers in. The bedroom is very Zen, too.
Thing is, I’ve only ever bought Autumn and Spring silk flowers because every time I’ve thought about Summer or Winter (wanted little twinkly lights in them) I’ve been in a place financially where they got shoved into that “wants” column. Well enough is enough! If we can recover and refit a 25-year-old chair, I can buy myself some silk flowers. After all, I’m NOT getting any younger.
I think I really did this post to help convince myself it truly IS ok to go buy some Summer flowers. Especially now when they’re probably all on clearance any way. But just out of idle curiosity, is there anything on YOUR want list that you’ve been putting off getting, even though it’s something that might not cost an arm and a leg? If so, share it with us, just for kicks!