By Amy K. Andrews
Let’s face it. We all get caught up in the idea of wanting more. And although this can sometimes help us to stretch ourselves outside of our comfort zone, going for what we previously thought was unattainable, say creating a better relationship or achieving a faster run time, it more often means that we simply want more stuff.
The problem begins when the scope of our belongings overtakes our ability to care for all that we have. The truth is that getting the better job (read: higher paying job) means more money. And as Americans, the more we have, the more we spend. We reach for The American Dream and find ourselves with a fat mortgage, a fancy car that requires a heck of a lot of maintenance to go along with the premium gasoline in the tank, and most importantly, a lot more stuff that requires a lot more care and attention.
Everything we buy must be maintained. The fancy house has a big deck that needs re-staining. The larger lawn needs mowing and watering. The big bathtub needs cleaning. And we are so busy at work that we have to hire someone to take care of everything in our absence.
Is this, then, when the calculations are done, a true win? Does the net gain compensate for the net loss?
I say no.
Most of the time there is not only challenging and invigorating physical labor that comes along with re-staining the deck yourself, or scrubbing the bathtub, but there is also an education. You get to learn how to take care of your belongings, understand the workings of your house better, and feel less dependent on the handyman. Perhaps tending to these ‘chores’ even allows you to visit with your neighbors that you haven’t seen in quite a while, since you have been so busy zooming in and out of the driveway to get to work. Essentially, doing it yourself means you get to be with your family, your community, and enjoy the house you worked so hard to purchase.
The more we make often has a direct correlation to being further away from our stuff. And the upending result is we don’t get to enjoy it. So perhaps, dear reader, while the sun is shining this summer, go home, do a project, and then sit and enjoy. Revel in the gratification of a true accomplishment. Spend a little less time trying to get that bonus, and a little more time with the stuff you already have… home, yard, deck, friends and family included.
Amy is a woman of wellness, a writer, and the winner of Seattle’s Ultimate Housewife contest. As a liberated Texan, she has lived on both coasts, and on the high streets of London. Most days you can find her teaching Pilates to her beloved clients, editing her memoir, An Expat’s Wife, swiffering her home, or writing thank-you notes. At this very moment she is undoubtedly cuddling with her wife and cat.