Me and Diogenes seem to have pretty similar life values and extremely different ways of expressing them.
I’ve been regularly asking myself what I want and what I need.
I want to live well.
I want a clean, simple, fun, light, strong, whole, honest life.
I’m trying to be more intentional with the way I spend my time and treat my body. The good feelings might manifest in smoked salmon, a knitting machine that actually works, or trying zumba for the first time. I listen for cues on how I feel and what I need in order to respond to that feeling. If I’m self aware enough to hear the truth of my needs and satisfy them, I will feel well. Since all I really want is to be well, meeting my needs is enough to meet my wants, too.
We all need food, water, sleep and people.
The way we prioritize our needs makes us who we are, and so does what we consider a need. Through evaluating the contents of my life, I’ve realized that I’m afforded plenty of luxuries that are disguised as needs just because I’m used to them. These extras (a well proportioned fork, shoes that don’t hurt even after walking all day, lights in my bathroom) aren’t wrong, but I do feel a responsibility to acknowledge that my life standard is not synonymous with necessity. Typically, my wants are revealed through their absence. While living in New York City instead of Richmond, Kentucky, I’ve realized how much I love green space and being able to ride in a car whenever I want. My appreciation for cheese, tomatoes and garlic has just greatly increased after eating a week’s worth of salads that felt a little too naked.
From living in different spaces and going without elements that are typically just there, I’m reassured that my needs are few. However, there are plenty of things that are needed in order for me to live the kind of life that I want to live.
I used to think that in order to be a minimalist, your belongings actually had to be limited to, like, twenty things, but I’m letting go of that definition. You can be a minimalist with a house full of books and furniture and food and all of the random things that collect while you live, as long as each of those items lives with you to serve a want, a need, or maybe both.
There is a difference between wants and needs, but for me, they’re not on different sides. I actually need my wants in order to know myself and be that.
My life would be much less delicious without truffle salt, so I’m going to keep wanting it, having it, and living so well with it.