I’m not trying to brag, but last week was a pretty big milestone in my Millennial life-journey.
At 38 years old, I moved back in with my parents!! Finally! I’m now living the life every Millennial dreamed – a life devoid of rent, responsibility, and accountability!
Well, that’s not exactly the case.
A few months ago, my wife and I decided to try something a little unordinary. We decided to sell our home and start the process of touring the country with our daughters. The goal is to hit all 48 states, document our travels, and experience the journey through the eyes of young children. If you’re interested, you can follow along at thehavensfamily.com.
As part of the process, we knew we’d need some temporary housing before our vehicle was ready. We also didn’t want to take the kids out of school mid-semester, so the idea of bunking up with my parents for 2 months seemed like the logical move. Luckily, our parents didn’t mind the extra company around the upcoming holidays.
Now you might be asking – what does my freeloading, house-crashing experience have to do with you? As we went through the process of selling our home – and all of the belongings which couldn’t fit in a POD storage container – I constantly had to ask:
What do you really need?
4 homes and 2 kids later, my wife and I had accumulated enough “stuff” to occupy 3,500 square feet of space. Our next living space is a whopping 125 square feet! As we’re debating what to keep, what to sell, and what to throw away, the questions we continually had to ask were questions of necessity.
Do we really need it?
The simple answer is we’re surrounded every day by things and stuff we don’t need. Of course you don’t need an Alexa, or an Apple Watch, or an electric sock warmer (that’s a real thing by the way). These are all things we might want, but don’t need.
But applied more broadly, the more difficult answer to the question about necessity pertains to life.
What do you need to be happy?
Post-pandemic, there are a lot of people asking that question more seriously. The news is littered with talk of the Great Resignation happening in America right now and one of the biggest driving factors behind the workforce exodus is not remote working, or company perks, but instead happiness. Millions of employees have been unhappy for too long. Their needs aren’t being met. I predict as more and more people ask themselves the same question, the Great Resignation will continue for longer than some would like to admit.
That’s not intended to be a doomsday prediction for employers. Plenty of organizations and leaders are recognizing this misalignment and are taking action. They will be the ones who thrive in the coming years and it won’t be because they raised salaries by 5% or added extra days of PTO. It will be because they listened to their people. They took the question seriously and they asked. They listened. And their workforce will respond in kind.
As I pondered that question last week, sitting on the patio one final time, staring at what used to be my home and reliving some of the great memories made over the years, I realized I have everything I need. I don’t have everything I WANT, like a billion dollars or that electric sock warmer thing. But I have everything I NEED. And that distinction makes all the difference.
So I would challenge you to spend similar time in thought and figure out what you really need. Then do whatever you can to go out and get it. Because when we stop trying to exclusively pursue the things we want and focus on the things we need, sometimes we’ll realize it was all right there in front of us the whole time.