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Don't Postpone Long-Awaited Experience
On the day that this issue of The Banner comes out, Bill , Vicki and I shall be in Rome. You might think that we’re rich since we went to Paris last November with Bill and Jean, took the twins there in June, and now here we are on another expensive jaunt. Not so! This trip was supposed to be last year, but didn’t work out. In spite of the horrible exchange rate, we won’t postpone this trip lest something come up again to keep us from going.
Mind you, I’m not advocating that people be stupid about money. Mother always said, "If you always take care of your money, your money will always take care of you." I encountered a sixty-something divorcee who went into a car dealership, intending to buy a used Honda. Instead, she left in a red Oldsmobile convertible for which she refinanced her home with an adjustable rate mortgage whose interest will soon roll over. That "hot" ride made her ever so happy--"I just love that car!"--but she’s had to rent a cheap apartment and let her house go into foreclosure because she owes too much to sell it.
It’s all a matter of what’s important to one, isn’t it?. We’ve managed to take wonderful vacations and enjoy cultural experiences down through the years because we’ve lived frugally and resisted the temptation to buy on credit. Can you believe it? We’ve never had a car payment! We bought only used cars for which we could pay cash. Some of them, such as an old Cadillac with manual steering that cost $300, were clunkers. My nephew, John Jones, borrowed it and said, "That thing wore me out hauling it around corners!" It finally gave its last gasp in front of the house, and a charity hauled it away.
Peace of mind and rich experiences have been more important to us than the rush that comes from owning expensive cars, clothing and homes. A couple of years ago, Bill splurged and paid $7000 for a very nice, second-hand Impala--the most he has ever spent on a car. I’m driving a Ford Tempo with 135,000 miles that I inherited from Bill. I don’t like it, but the thing runs like a top, so I have little hope of replacing it. What I lust for is a PT Cruiser or a cute little Volkswagon or one of those snazzy little French cars like we saw in Paris. However, I’d rather travel.
"Build your castles in the sky. Now put foundations under them." Thoreau
Vicki has dreamed of seeing the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s works ever since she was a teenager. Helping her fulfill that dream and sharing with her the beauty of two of our favorite places--Florence and Venice--will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all of us.
"The moving finger writes and having writ moves on." The Rubaiyat as translated by Fitzgerald
We learn very little from the experiences of others. We each seem compelled to re-invent the wheel rather than using the resources that others have discovered. One lesson that life has taught me is carpe diem--seize the day. Do it now. Don’t put it off until tomorrow because tomorrow may never come. You can’t save life like money in a bank to be spent later. Life refuses to be postponed.
We’re on Earth for such a short time that we should view life as a wonderful banquet to be savored as if we were gourmets rather than rushing through it like a meal in a fast-food restaurant. "Life may not be the party we’ve hope for . . . but while we are here we might as well dance!"
"We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect." Erma Bombeck
People tell me, "We need to save more money . . . We’re needed here . . . We have responsibilities . . . We’ll wait until retirement . . . We have to help our children get their acts together." (Mind you, their children are adults.) They tell themselves that when the time is perfect they’ll take that trip, buy a sail boat, raft down the Grand Canyon, visit their relatives, write a book, invite friends for dinner . . . Eventually, they postpone their heart’s desires until they are too old or too ill to muster up the energy, and all that is left are dim, sad echoes of forsaken dreams of what might have been.
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