A need or a want: this is the problem!

Our lives change, this is only natural. Our lives change most when there has been a seriously interruptive event in them –  although we can change our lives because we want to do, we do this most efficiently and quickly when we need to.

Have you talked recently to your friends who just had a baby? Did you notice how your fun loving, clubbing and theatre going friends with whom you could discuss current affairs and classical literature have been reduced to semi coherent people for whom discussing nappies (this is the English for diapers) and breast feeding is the pinnacle of intellectualism? Well this is how it goes and, don’t get me wrong, it is well worth it. Problem is that the changes that come with having children persist for a very long time; long after the infant has almost become a teenager.

John and I were not immune to this; although, probably not as affected as others around us. We were lucky – our baby liked eating and sleeping, which meant that we didn’t reach the state of gibbering incoherence. With us it was more about the kind of things we did – instead of going to the theatre we will ‘nip out’ to the cinema; instead of going to a concert we will ‘nip out’ to the cinema…well, too much cinema really.

Last night, after a very long time, we went to a concert again  at the Royal Northern College of Music. It was divine and we loved every minute, every second of it. It was mainly Mozart – symphony No 30 in D major, symphony 35 in D major ‘Haffner’ and the piano concerto in A major.  Mozart’s music is so easy to love, even if one doesn’t understand classical music much, and enjoy although not always easy to perform. It is, I find, very ‘young’ and optimistic music that, if you let it, washes all your worries and troubles away. And then there was Schuman’s cello concerto in A minor that filled my soul with cheerful longing. We were fortunate to listen to two young, award winning soloists, Joris van den Berg and Maya Irgalina, both graduates of the college and the world class Manchester Camerata.  In a word – bliss.

I had forgotten how it feels to go to a concert and how music, and the ritual of listening to it with others, heals one’s soul.

This, I have been thinking, raises a very interesting question: is going to concerts, the opera and the theatre a need or a want? I think that it is a need and this is my logic.

  • We look after our bodies by giving them food, shelter, warmth and clothes. These are needs!
  • We look after our souls by giving them reading, interaction with people, music, dance and generally enjoyment.
  • Our souls need care just like, if not more than, our bodies. Hence, going to concerts, theatre, opera etc. are needs and not wants.

What do you think?

And now, I would like to point to some posts I liked this week; probably in tune with my more contemplative mood these are not about personal finance; or not immediately so.

When I first started this blog I often mentioned Leo Babauta; I have stopped, but I still think that the guy absolutely rocks. This week, there is a post on his site, Zen Habits, that sets out some very simple and easy to do actions that will help you be contented. Please, if you have any sense get off my site this very instant and go read this article; even better click on the link – you won’t regret it and it just may change your life; at least for some time.

Did you hear that Chris Guillebeau at The Art of Non Conformity has a new book out? If you haven’t, note this down: the book is called ‘The $100 Start Up’ and is well worth a very good look; then again, I have always liked Chris and what he does. He is a fellow sociologist (which proves that degrees are about what you do with them) who is on a quest for ‘world domination’; and he is taking many people with him. Last week, Chris published an article about how important it is to realise that we all have many skills and that these are mostly marketable.

And if you want to know how to be happy go to Goodlife Zen and watch the video on Positive Psychology.

Till next time, my friends!

16 thoughts on “A need or a want: this is the problem!”

  1. It’s all relative isn’t it? I think you would find out quickly what your true needs are if you did not have enough money on hand to fund your “need”. What would you be willing to give up in order to meet that need?

    • @Paul: True; and then we will find that some people will give up food for music and others won’t even consider it. It is like I am always surprised to find that there are people who would rather drink more wine than a glass of really good wine. But then again each to their own!

  2. My husband and I were still “cool” after our first child. It was our second – a high-maintenance baby who is developing into a high-maintenance toddler – who really changed us… but it’s all for the better 🙂

    I think giving yourself those moments of “bliss” are necessary, especially for parents. We need time to ourselves, to get away, to destress. We’re better people – and parents – for it. NEED, definitely!

    • @Elizabeth: Ha,ha! We had a very good one (baby this is) and I remember our first post- baby going out. We went to the theater with another couple with a baby and although the play was wonderful and the performance terrific we all fell asleep during it. Sad! Things are getting better though.

  3. Just to add to what you said about Chris Guillebeau. Over at APP Sumo they’re giving away for free, 3 chapters of the $100 Startup.

  4. I think you are referring to my wife and me. I apologize we haven’t stayed in touch much since our clubbing days but Vivian and I are just raising 2 kids. Please know that we love both you and John and maybe one day we will see you in the club again. 😛

    • @Jai: We love you as well and hope we’ll be able to hit the clubs together soon (well, in roughly 10 years for you). And you are not going to believe this one but there is a salsa dancing club 4 miles from our house. Have been nagging John to go for years but he is not too keen. If you and Vivian fancy a trip to Manchester – it is possible…

  5. C and I have been talking a lot lately about what we want for ourselves and future children (being in the middle of the adoption process and all). And that actually includes trips to the ballet and concerts.
    I think it goes with your theory that our intellects and souls have needs just as the body does, and we want to meet those.

    • @Shanendoah: Thanks, and good luck with the adoption. Children put your life in perspective and our son actually wants to come to concerts with us now; but he has always liked classical music – when he was just born the only way for me to do something else (like take a shower) was to put some classical music on; he loved it.

  6. Those are some good suggestions! I had no idea that Chris was a sociologist. That’s interesting. I have heard the name for a couple years but am relatively new to his content. Thanks for some good recommendations!

    With regards to reads versus wants, I agree with Paul.

    • @Roshawn: Chris did sociology at Grad School; he claims that he learned only one thing from all his years of study and I think he may be right. However, this is what has made him what he is now.

  7. What a timely post. My hubby and I have been having lots of conversations lately about this. Where do we want our life to head and what to do want? It is not easy to figure out that is for sure. Like Shanendoah said, we have more than just physical needs.

    • @Miss T: Very difficult decision, I agree. But it was so restorative! I have been getting through so much more with so much more spirit and enthusiasm; well worth it and we’ll repeat the experience soon again.

  8. Great article. I’ve battled with this too. In 2008 and 2009 I felt GUILTY spending on myself as I felt it was overindulgence at the expense of my future self. Since then I’ve come to embrace abundance over scarcity a little more and had richer experiences facilitated by money.

    It’s certainly a balance.

    PS I went to Chris G’s $100 startup party in London -certainly wasn’t cheap to get there but it was fun to attend! 🙂


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