Wednesday, October 27th, 2004 • 5 Comments on Necessities
I’ve been thinking about needs and wants. I’m not talking about basic needs—food, shelter, safety—but rather what one needs in order to maintain a sustainable level of happiness. By my definition, one person’s need could be another person’s idea of luxury. Wants, to my way of thinking, tend to fall into four categories—material, which will presumably make one’s life easier, faster, prettier or in some other way more pleasant; ideal, like a college education or a spouse ; intangible, such as a better sense of humor or an appreciation for art; and unattainable, like wanting to be younger or have a different body.
Obviously, a want could also be a need, depending on the person. I may want my M.A., but someone else may need it as a prequisite for their chosen career (which could be classified as a want or a need, depending on any number of factors).
Follow me so far? Good, because I think I’m lost.
So, needs. I was thinking about what I need to be happy. Here, in no particular order, is what I came up with:
Periods of solitude
Good, deep conversation, whether about relationships, life, politics or books
Frequent touch (sexual and nonsexual)
An average of 7 hours of rest/sleep a night (I’m an insomniac, so 7 hours in bed may only be 5 hours of actual sleep)
To create in ways other than writing (cooking, gardening, photography, etc.)
Chocolate (I’m dead serious)
To nurture others in tangible ways that make a difference to their lives
Acts of innocuous rebellion (taking a sick day when I’m not sick, for instance)
Two or three close, trusted friendships
A home that is a quiet, comfortable haven
I imagine there are others, but those are the things that came to mind first. There were some things, like bubble baths and a computer, that I took off the list because they’re wants rather than needs (though I’m not entirely sure a computer isn’t a need, even if a lesser need). I was going to put something about needing love—to be loved, to be in love, etc.—but I think we all need that, don’t we? I was trying to come up with a list that was specific to me and my happiness.
So, what is it
need to be happy?