Friday, July 07, 2006

How much is enough?

A recent post from The Homeless Guy prompted me to think about this while I was in front of my blog for a change. He wrote, “I think I've finally learned to be content with whatever I have, or don't have. Thats a big step for me, as I think it would be for any homeless person.” HG, that’s a big step for anyone. In my book, you’re ahead of 99% of the population, homeless or no.

That kind of contentment is not only hard to gain, I can testify to how easily it can be lost —and not always by your own doing. Before FAR Manor, we lived in a double-wide about a half mile from here (the rental property I’ve mentioned from time to time). Sure, it wasn’t a huge place, but we added onto it and the total climate-controlled area was nearly 1800 square feet. Yes, it was cluttered. Yes, it was a little cramped in the kids’ rooms. But the arfing thing was totally paid off, it was secluded to an extent that most people east of the Mississippi can’t even fathom (1/4 mile to the nearest neighbor), and we were barely keeping up with the bills we had at the time. To say I was content there may have been a stretch — the chicken houses and the in-laws were constant irritations then as now — but I was content to live there. Mrs. Fetched would complain that we needed a bigger house, and I would point out (rightly so, IMO) that we didn’t need more house, we needed less stuff. The Boy and I put up a nice deck out back that I could get to from the bedroom; I would take my coffee out there in the morning, and sit out there on pleasant evenings and irritate the squirrels by imitating their territorial calls.

But I digress. It seems like most people have a broken “enough” switch — look at Bill Gates; he has more money than... probably any random million people or so, but it’s only recently that he’s been able to stop. The one thing I would have wanted to say to him if I ever met him: how much is enough? Even Mrs. Fetched would have a hard time spending $30 billion — I believe she could do it, but it would take her a lot of effort.

Maybe somebody was able to ask him that question, and he listened. I think most of us would be better off if we considered that question, and came up with our own answer.

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