Need, Not Want
Photo by Erica Nicole Jabel
My parents asked me: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Everyone expects from everyone.
That is why, even as children, we were asked this certain question, and we were expected to answer it as if we had already experienced the world.
Young as I once was, I didn’t have the slightest idea of how things worked. At that age, I could say it wasn’t really for me to decide how to play my part in the functionality of our whole system. But then, I’d be lying.
I asked myself: “What can I become?”
Young as we all once were, we already knew what we could become, even unconsciously. We started off by observing the people around us, and before we knew it, we had already implanted desires in ourselves. At this point, we begin to imitate the people we idolize. We are then most inspired to follow in their footsteps.
Then, I asked myself another question: “What do I want?”
Growing up, my parents often lectured me on the difference between a need and a want. Needs, they said, are the things that matter more, the essentials. They must be prioritized. Wants, on the other hand, are the things that you may or may not have. Acquiring these is a choice, and they add up to your responsibility, so be mindful.
In this context, to “want” is something good, for it will help us and guide us to be the person we want to become. It fuels up our desire and keeps our eyes on the prize, never going astray from it. When our hold over our wants is firm, then we are on the right track.
Again, I asked: “Do the things I want now remain the same until I become a grown-up?”
As we experience more of life, we realize that it is unfair and cruel, and things do not exactly do as we will them to. This leaves us dumbstruck sometimes, and the best thing to do is adapt to the situation and not let it get to us. There will always be room for change. If there wasn’t, we would all just be sitting ducks right now, thinking over and over of how the things that we plan should be and not how they could be. Let’s face it: they all change.
My parents asked me again: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
In the kind of world that we have right now, becoming someone is obligatory or else you won’t survive. Wanting to become someone as if it were only a dress-up game is just so easy. We don’t even bother thinking so much about it. But it is hard.
When facing the choice, evaluation of the situation must first be done: is this a need or a want? It might seem easy, but then again, it’s not. Because even these days, the word “want” isn’t even practical anymore, and practicality is what we desperately need at the moment.
Survival these days is hard work, and it means leaving only the fittest to go on. While we are all at it, along the way, we make “grown-up” decisions to better address the situation. We all know that not everything around us cooperates, so we sometimes end up making sacrifices. Are we ready to endure that loss? Well, we should be.
What we need to be matters more now than what we want to be.
I answered, “What I want to be?” I paused. “It doesn’t matter.”