As adults one of the things, hopefully, that we’ve learned rather quickly is that we need to get all the “need to” things done before we do the “want to’s.”  I’m not talking about the “should’s” I’m pointing out that the needs really need to get met like having water on hand (if nothing else than to flush the toilet periodically), have a means to make light when it’s dark and heat when it’s cold, etc. etc.  Once we have that we can start in on the wants.  Which is where things get interesting.  So as adults we’re taught that the “should’s” are needs and not in the category of “wants.”  The shoulds, usually given to us by others as a means of helping us “grow up”, “fit in”, or “get ahead” and etc, also get prioritized over the wants.  And some pretty interesting things get pushed into the “want” category, I find.  Like careers (usually ones that give us a certain amount of money, require a certain amount of education or time/work/apprenticeship, or have ladders which need to be climbed and dues to be paid), living certain lifestyles, living in certain locations, or opening up business for which there is no certainty of success.

It is notable that the above wants are often mutually exclusive from shoulds.  If someone told the person they should do it, they would simply take that as a confirmation of their want, it doesn’t change it to a should other than as a positive affirmation.  Then there are what we think of a pure wants.  We usually think of these things as frivolous.  They don’t have any productive purpose (so we think) but bring us happiness (most of the time, unless they end up being a disappointment, which happens from time to time)  Personally, as you might be able to sense from this, I disagree with these arbitrary categories and how we have arranged things in them.  Shoulds are often the things that are holding people back from being happy in life because they aren’t leading theirs.  By concentrating on shoulds they are living someone else’s expectations and needs and not their own.  I’m including the manacled parents who have somehow decided that the best parenting is done by being an Aztec sacrifice to every need or want your child has.  (This has the effect of teaching them that adults should sacrifice themselves for others, have no personal life, and be miserable like you are.  Just sayin’.)

I often suggest, to myself as well as others, that we change the order of these things around.  Keep the needs as priority #1.  You know, breathing is good.  LOL  But after that, frivolous wants should come next.  What I have found is that paying attention to the frivolous needs creates a frivolous practicality.  People don’t become narcissistic greedy hedonists because of it, which seems to be the fear.  If narcissism shows up, it was there already. Taking a mental health day once in a while didn’t cause it.  😉 But prioritizing these wants allows us to feel validated and fulfilled.  If we get what we need, then we don’t feel like the hungry ghosts constantly trying to get people’s attention so they can get fed.  If we are attending to our own life, our wants and what makes us happy, then we get filled with happiness and that happiness spills over to everyone around us. It’s the opposite of “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”  If you’re happy then others will automatically get the benefits.  As for the wants like careers and such, well those are actually the lives we want to be living, so why wouldn’t we? Why “shouldn’t” we prioritize those over the shoulds?  We should do what we are called to and if a career is calling us, that’s probably a voice we should listen to because usually it’s our soul that actually doing the talking.  So in the end being frivolous makes us practical because it ends the ache, the coping, the making do, and allows us to do what we’re here to do in the first place, be us.