I admit that I did have my tongue in my cheek for some of yesterday’s post, making it sound as if we only have a choice between ‘necessities’ and ‘luxuries’.
One person’s luxury is another’s necessity … what criteria would we all agree on, to decide which is which?
When we went to Romania we had to give away or sell almost everything, as we had no storage, apart from a small spare bedroom kindly offered to us by a friend. So serious choices had to be made. In fact, we’ve moved over 30 times in our 40 years of marriage, so have never had the chance to hoard much, and constant moves force you to decide what you ‘need’ and ‘don’t need’.
But it’s not that simple, is it? If we look at basic needs just to keep someone alive, then we’re looking at food, shelter and clothing. Many people in the world don’t even have these.
I try and act on my principle of ‘living simply, that others may simply live’; but there are things which I own but don’t need, strictly speaking. We like to have them though, because they enhance the quality of life. For example, Hub’s parents’ piano: not a necessity, but the source of much pleasure and relaxation. (No, it wouldn’t go into the friend’s spare bedroom – we lent it to a friend for the duration!)
We did manage 5 years without it, however. And I wonder whether that’s a criterion for deciding what we really ‘need’, and what we ‘don’t need’. Can we do without it? What happens if it’s taken away from us? How much are our lives impoverished … how much does it matter … and how do we decide?