Article by Wendy McCance
The other night I was sitting on the front porch with my husband. It was a beautiful evening. Clear skies, quiet neighborhood, and mild weather, it was the kind of night that beckoned you to sit outside with a glass of wine in hand.
So there we were, drinking a good glass of Shiraz and enjoying each other’s company. As we sat there enjoying the evening, we got into a deep conversation about how people live their lives.
We are by no means well off. We live in a middle class neighborhood and by the looks of things, we live very well. What people don’t know is that there are many times we are pinching pennies and hoping we can make it to the next payday. We are still in recovery mode from losing our jobs at an auto plant. Back then, we really were living a very comfortable middle class life. Now we are still playing catch up.
Even though we are watching every penny, we have a nice two-story home in a decent enough neighborhood. We have done a great job of keeping up our home on the inside as well as the outside. Our yard always boasts trimmed bushes and a freshly cut yard. The paint on our home looks fresh and everything remains clean, neat and organized inside and out. From others perceptions of how we live, it would appear that our life is easy and comfortable.
We know a family that lives in a neighborhood close by. The couple makes easily triple the amount of money we bring in from our jobs. They have a home in a very blue-collar town that looks a little gritty and depressed. They have a small bungalow that looks rundown. The steps going up to the front door are cracked and falling apart. Paint is chipping, there are weeds in the yard and the inside of the home is dirty with old furniture that is falling apart and dishes piled high in the sink.
This family lets money run through their hands like it burns to hold onto it. You would never guess that this is a family that has taken some expensive vacations and have a few impressive toys.
Our family might be living a bit on the tight side, but we are happy and content, grateful for what we have and take pride in keeping our place looking its best.
This other family is full of strife. Fights are common, depression runs rampant and there is no care for possessions or for themselves for that matter.
The point is that the way you perceive your life makes all the difference when it comes to how you live. Of course money plays a role in the amount of comfort you have when it comes to material possessions. Ultimately though, it is the care you take in what you have that has the biggest impact. You could have everything, but what does it matter if it is not taken care of and is essentially broken down? You could struggle with very little and be happier than the person who has unlimited resources.
The way you take care of yourself and your surroundings is a direct reflection on the state of your mind. Always be grateful for what you have, for there will always be others who survive with less. Celebrate the life you do have and take good care of it. The way you look at what you have been presented with has a direct effect on your happiness.
Note: The example of the other family is fictitious and based on a lifetime of seeing others living in the particular way described above.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]
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