The Ice Machine and Snooty and Envy!

Dinner at a friend’s gorgeously appointed home last night got me to thinking of  the differences in the way my friend lives vs. the way John and I live.

When John and I decided to move to Boquete, we had a decision to make about lifestyles. The way I see it, when one is retired there are 3 lifestyles one can enjoy:

1.  Live Big and Travel Big. You own a large, well-appointed home and you travel much of the year. In other words, you’ve got bucks.

2.  Live Big and Travel Small. All your money is in the large, elegant home but you go nowhere. You have lots of friends over for potlucks and card games.

3.  Live Small and Travel Big. You have a modest home or apartment and travel big. You’ve invested in some sturdy luggage.

I don’t know about you, but based upon our budgets, Choice #1 was not an option. When hubby has been a school teacher and baseball scout and I’ve been in marketing communications at a golf course — not a high paying industry!, your retirement funds have a limit. (By the way, Choice #1 is the way my friend lives. Gorgeous, large home in the hills and they travel 3 to 6 months of the year… sigh….lucky them….)

So, we focussed our life based upon choices #2 or 3. Did we want to buy or build a large and lovely home, the envy of our neighbors and friends, yet not have enough income left over to finance trips to England to see the grandkids or back to California to see our daughter and my mom? Something like this?:

“C’mon over for dinner tonight! I can afford bread dipped in water!”

Or,  were we going to live small, in something that does not cost much but we get our passport stamped a lot? I was worried it was going to be in something like this:

“Yes, we’re the corner unit on the bottom. Watch for the falling car tires, though!”

We chose Option #3, and we settled for something in the middle. We’ve lived in a condo for the past 16 months (and yes, it IS the corner unit on the bottom) and it is much nicer than the picture above. It is two bedrooms, 2 baths and about half the size of the home we left in California. We do not have granite countertops or a (–get this –) under-counter-dedicated-ice-machine for your beverages which I thoroughly enjoyed at my friend’s home last night.

This morning as I was bitching about the fact we have six plastic ice cube trays that you have to manually twist and drop the cubes into a plastic box (last night’s ice machine was still calling to me), John pointed out: “Hey, at least we have indoor plumbing and you’re not walking on a dirt floor.”

What??? — I’m thinking to myself. Here’s what the voice in my head I’ve named “Snooty” starts saying to me: “Excuse me, but has THAT now become my baseline for gratitude? I have indoor plumbing and I’m not on a dirt floor???? My baseline used to be w-a-a-a-y higher than that!”

“Oh, quitcherbellyachin’, Snooty!” says the another voice named Common Sense. “You know the story’s not over until the story’s over. Many people are envious of the lifestyle you lead, even IF you’re in a tiny, furnished apartment.”

“Ya, but, did you SEE the double walk-in shower in that place last night?” says Envy. “Did you SEE the outdoor privacy garden with another shower? Did you see the view all the way to the Pacific Ocean? She somehow got MY life, the life I was supposed to have.”

“I agree with Common Sense,” sez another voice named Recovery. “You need to make a gratitude list! Your stinkin’ thinkin’ is causing you to forget you’re going to Spain, England, Ecuador, California and Utah this year.”

“Yes, and while you’re gone, you don’t have to worry about anything in the condo, because you can just close the door, turn the key and everything is safe,” says Common Sense. “This is the life you and John chose. Now go have a cup of gorgeous Boquete coffee and enjoy your canyon view.”

Recovery finishes off the diatribe in my head by saying: “And while you’re sitting there, why don’t you try writing about this? Share what’s bothering your heart today. It’ll take the power out of it.”

So that’s where I am right now, folks. You now know what a war zone it can be in my head at times. I am grateful for my life. I am loving my life and I am lucky for my life today.

Even if Snooty and Envy can be bitchy at times…….

About robyncole

I am a woman in my mid-'50's, married since 1990 to a man 11 years my senior. We currently live in Boquete, Panama, having moved from Orange County, California on February 16th, 2011. I am just trying to negotiate life's passages on this rock upon which we've landed. I would like to do that with as much dignity as possible and without wreckage, hurt feelings and tears. I can do that. If I stay in bed all day.
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5 Responses to The Ice Machine and Snooty and Envy!

  1. Bruce says:

    Awesome the way writing about the “chatter” can quiet it. We have been thinking and now talking about “Option 3” and it also makes sense to us. When John mentioned that at dinner one night it really hit home with us. Our beautiful lot can sit for a while…we’re a little over a week away from Boquete and we are missing it a lot. Say hi to all our pals in the basement and when you get to Cali give us a call.

    B & N

  2. Woody says:

    There are going to be a lot of people who will read about what YOU have and what YOU are doing — and they will be totally envious of YOUR life. I’m also sure that the folks who live in the dream house you visited have seen something that they envy. But, you are happy — and, it just doesn’t get any better than that.
    We finally get to quit envying all of you who live in Boquete, because we arrive at the end of the month. See you on the street one of these days 🙂

    • robyncole says:

      There’s a saying: “One man’s floor is another man’s ceiling.” What you say is true. Glad you’ll be here soon. Look forward to meeting you!

  3. Marion says:

    You have SIX ice cube trays — there’s that voice of Envy back in my head — I only have four!! You’ll love Spain, England and Ecuador — the thought of a return to the US always frightens us as it changes continually (and not for the better we think) so we haven’t been back for 10 years since our move here. As we no longer have really close family ties there, we prefer to visit our daughter who has been living in Mexico for nine years, working and earning practically nothing — she only has one ice cube tray, (no fridge just one ice cube tray LOL) but she’s happy, which is the main thing and the message in your post!! By the way, apologize to John for my jumping ahead of him in the chiropractor queue, John was socializing and when Andrew couldn’t spot him called me to “come on down”.
    Enjoy your trips.

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