Monday, January 29, 2018

Life is easy again

My friend Joe Hagy recently posted an entry on his blog (you can read it here), the gest being that things that might have interested you when you were younger no longer seemed important when you got older.  Your grand plans when you were 25 become just meh when you're 65.

Joe, being a few years older than me, and therefore probably a few years wiser, really nailed it.  It's probably just human nature to aspire to have "more better" stuff.  First you buy a "starter" home, then a "move-up" home, and eventually a "luxury" home.  You buy your first new car, lets say a Chevy or Ford, then you move up to something with a more impressive nameplate (Caddy, etc) and finally to a Lexus or Mercedes or such.  Your Seiko might work just fine, but you have your eye on a Rolex or an Omega.  Then, speaking for myself, and apparently Joe, too, you reach an age where you realize all that is pretty much meaningless.

I had my first home when I was 23.  It was larger than I needed and had a HUGE yard.  I was suddenly a member of the landed gentry!  Then later, with a family of five, we moved into a larger, nicer home, on par with what our friends also had.  (Ahhh...the joys of peer pressure.)  Eventually I had an even larger home, still on a BIG city lot, but now just for the new Mrs and I.  (Have I mentioned how much I hate yard work?)  Eventually I hit that inflection point in my life when that big home seemed more a liability than an asset.  By then I didn't care about impressing anyone, I just knew I was tired of messing with it, so I sold it.  Now we have a small but comfortable maintenance-free apartment.  Life is easy again.

I once wanted a fancy sports car so much I lost sleep thinking about it.  A Porsche 911 to be specific.  I almost bought a new one in 1972 ($9,500 back then), but chickened out when I learned how much it cost to maintain.  Later, with three kiddlettes, I moved on to fancy American land yachts.  Now that I might (?) be able to afford the kind of car I dreamed of as a young man, I don't want one.  I couldn't enjoy going out for dinner or popping into Target for a few things without worrying what a$$hole was parking his klunker next to me and was right then banging his car door into mine.  *the horror!* Now I just drive my modest little Mazda to the car shows and take pictures of all those exotic cars other people are having to pamper and worry over.  Life is easy again.

I once wanted an expensive watch.  I worked my way up through Bulova's and Seiko's and got as far as a TAG Heuer when I learned a dirty little secret about luxury watches:  They don't keep very good time.  They make a great "statement", but they don't keep very good time.  Mine were always needing adjustment every few weeks because they had lost a few minutes.  To a punctual-aholic like me, that was tantamount to a Cardinal Sin.  And, as with my cars, I was always paranoid about bumping into something and scratching my precious "statement".  "Screw it" I finally said.  I still have that TAG in a drawer somewhere, but now I wear a cheap, solar powered Casio that receives a magic signal every day from an atomic clock in Colorado and is guaranteed accurate to within .00001 seconds per century*.  I can live with that.  *wink*  Life is easy again.

At some point in your life, if you're like me at least, you might realize that living easy is more important than living large.  If people aren't impressed with me, living in an apartment, driving a Mazda, showing up on time thanks to my cheap Casio watch, dressed in my retirement wardrobe (jeans and a T-shirt), then I don't need 'em.  My dog seems to like our lifestyle just fine, and he's more important to me than those people are anyway.  :)


*slight exaggeration


  1. Some expensive watches are all but useless for telling time. There was one I got from Amazon probably worth over $200 and it didn't even have hands; there were just a couple of tiny windows or something to show the time. It's one of those where style was more important than function. I know someone who has to get the latest, greatest electronics all the time, which always seems pointless to me. 720p, 1080p, 4K it all pretty much looks the same to me.

  2. Hooray for having the same feelings about material things in this life. I have seen many very happy in life people with very little and likewise several who have taken their lives when they owned the best money could buy. Great Post. I hope someone shares it with their kids.

  3. You sound like one of those millenials...

    Just kidding (a little bit). I agree, not keeping up with the Joneses makes for a lot less stress. I've always been frugal and never got into the big, expensive cars. It seemed that as soon as Child No. 2 came along, you needed a big SUV to transport all the kids and their stuff. Well, I had three kids who played sports and the largest car I ever owned was a Honda Civic. Of course, I *pretended* I had the payments and gasoline expenses of one of those SUVs while I owned my little car...that's how I saved up the money to buy my last car (10 years ago) with cash.

    I'm all for enjoying life, but doing it purposefully. If your one big dream is to own a big house (and you can afford it), go ahead - if you can afford it.

  4. No, if someone wants all those fine things, and can afford it, more power to them. I'm just saying as many of us get older we begin to value things differently.

  5. The secret to my frugality is that I HATE shopping! We did used to dream about getting a nice house someday, but I always thought about what it would be like to clean a larger home (assuming the house payment would preclude a cleaning service), so I kept coming back to being happy with our small home. As for watches - I quit wearing one years ago until your Mrs. sent me the Fitbit she wasn't using. Ha!

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