There was a time when I lived in tiny, down-trodden little houses, because they were all I could afford. Little houses, right downtown, that someone else owned and I rented. It was my son and me for 20 years, with me fixing them up to meet my artistic sensibilities and to have working lights, sinks without rust running from faucet to drain, doors that closed and locked, and heavy drapes to stave off the cold and hold in the meager heat generated by the gas heaters in the winter. I wished for a bigger house, with central air & heat, a big kitchen and a swimming pool – someday.
I have finally lived in THAT house, having bought it to fix-and-flip…and after 10 years of fixing it up we are ready to sell. A clever friend called it, “a long, slow flip.” Has a sexy ring to it, doesn’t it? For ten years we have been taking care of everything. Absolutely everything. And now we both look forward to down-sizing and renting!
And we are thinking carefully about what we want in the future. Which brought me to the thought today that I am glad that I’ve never been a big consumer. The more you have, the more you have to care for. The more you own, the more it owns you!
We are inundated with ads everywhere we look encouraging us to buy, buy, buy. Spend, spend, spend! Resist, if you can. Buy less. Buy quality. Focus on what’s most important – be it family, friends, learning, or freedom.
What I have learned is that rather than wishing for a big house, with a pool, and a boat, and a vacation home…wish for good friends with those things, in wonderful locales – and go visit them!
How to be a perfect guest?
- Always bring your hosts an elegant gift that you know they’d enjoy.
- Never complain. About anything.
- Always help with the dishes.
- Don’t stay too long. (My dear Mom always said, “Company, even good company, is like garbage. After 3 days it starts to stink.”)
- Ask if you can strip the bed on the day you are leaving. (Some hosts don’t want to deal with a pile of sheets and towels right then.)
- Always send a sincere thank-you note as soon as possible.
So, I am putting you all on notice: as soon as our house sells and we buy our RV, we can come visit you. You know we have learned the art of being good guests…