Past the thawing ice cream and semi-inedible steak in the dining halls, past all-nighters pulled desperately in search of some logical sense in a paper accounting for perhaps nil of your future career pursuit, past bumping your temple to the point of bruises on bus windows to catch that 8am of distribution requirement, past promenading in Big-Y as a form of retreat, past triple-direction-windblown hair, past residential sweatshirts and jeans muddied with last week’s storm – The line of distinction between Want and Need is blurred, forgotten, Non-existent in decision making and somehow, everything is always rationalized.
Is dinner off-campus necessary or am I just really sick and tired of campus repetition or am I doing it because half of my friends will do the same anyway? Am I spending this money because I’m obliged to? Am I surfing Ebay because I really NEED another top to my already “over-the-top” drawers? No, I technically don’t NEED it but then YES, I must somehow still have it. The truth, no matter how you want to twist or bend it, is that we all possess an inherent nature of multi-wants, that may or may not make us happy and that is shaped inevitably by desperation/laziness, peers, and media.
Take this campus where desperation is an understatement for some, especially in times of school plus social stress. The want to own a car, and spend 1/2 of your normal budget on gas to escape from the valley becomes one of need. But then you have to fork out the time to work for the gas money, which eventually cuts down on the time to escape. Are you really happy? The want of forking out $20 for a meal 10 miles away while there’s one prepaid for you waiting 5′ away from your dorm becomes one of rational necessity. But then you have no money left when it comes time for vacation, and you’re stuck on campus with the food anyway. Are you really satisfied? Laziness here is a booster to the whole process, just as if Desperation were the pirate pushing you to the edge of the plank, Laziness is the sword, poking you to your ultimate end. Peers, as much as they are everything else great to you, are at some point especially when paired with desperation, a reflection of all that you lack in life. Materialistically, the fact that Susan B wore an amazing pair of boots today, more or less, will likely lengthen Molly A’s procrastinating hours on Zappos searching for a pair. And to top it all off, like frosting on an already-sugar-coated waffle ( and you thought the picture was completely irrelevant), there’s the media. Will owning an object that can slice vegetables 40 ways for only 3 payments of $18.95 actually help me impress the other housewives in the neighborhood or would plastic bags that condense my closets to 1/3 of the size that it is, allow me to buy more and fill up the 2/3 that is left? The important thing, will taking money from my wallet to buy what I think will make me happy, actually make me happy or would it just make me depressed looking back on how foolishly I spent?
So are these the societal constraints- the desperation, the laziness, the peer viewing, the media, are they the reason why we are still the sheep in the consumers’ herd, or is the distinction between want and need too difficult to make, or is it both in a cause and effect tangle? And for some of us, why is it still necessary to follow the trend when the certainty of it making you satisfied is only vaguely if not at all secured? Like right now, why am I just wasting all this energy in powering my computer to write a blog of nonsense questions that is making me frustrated rather than just go to sleep and actually not be a sleep-deprived person tomorrow? Did I want to because I’m lazy, or do I need to because I’m desperate in boredom? Desperate times call for desperate measure, what cliche’d rationalization.