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?:
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:
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…….