Need versus Want

“What do you need?” – Was the question my friend asked me as I half-jokingly begged her to talk sense to me, fearing a shopping fever on our way to the dive expo last weekend. I had been there the day before to check out on the offers and had made a long wish list.

A backplate system, was my answer, and a torch. And a knife. Being modest, as my wishlist also included pink fins, new pink dive computer and pink rash guards. Pretty much anything that is made in pink. You see the pattern here. It’s pink, it makes it on my wishlist. Truthfully, “nothing” would have been the correct answer as I do have a full set of gear that is perfectly functional. Just not pink.

I ended up with the backplate system, and a few small fun stuffs but dropped the expensive but pink additionals. But the shopping spree had me thinking of this whole “I want” culture. Because in reality we need very little, but want a lot.

I’m reading a book telling a story of a poor Indian country-boy who becomes a successful business man. At the stage of still being poor, he is wondering about how the dreams of the rich and the dreams of the poor never overlap. “The poor dream all their lives of getting enough to eat and looking like the rich. And what do the rich dream of? Losing weight and looking like the poor.”

Do we really confuse the need and the want or is that just a way of speaking? Few of us actually need new shoes, a phone or a backplate system for diving. It’s an easier justification for the purchase than the honest “wanting”, but in a way just an abuse of language. Want and need are not a matter of perspective only.

Why are we so reluctant to admitting just wanting something? Why do we need to hide it behind the need? If you can afford it, and your want is not harming anybody, why not be up-front with the wanting.

I could have continued with my jacket-model BCD but wanted the backplate for an improved dive experience and convenience. I want it to be pink because pink is my happy color. I want pretty much all my accessories to be pink, because pink is a color that makes me smile. I don’t need to be happy or smiling – but I do want to be.



Published by

Outi Annala

A sustainability-enthusiast with a master's degree in social sciences and experienced working for public and private sectors and for an international Non-profit organization. Writing about life and all that matters in living a life to the fullest. Passionate about engaging the private sector to the development work, promoting partnerships between companies and non-profit organizations and initiating discussion and debates. Excited about life and living it to the fullest.

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