It is always interesting to see how different things appear as well as feel when one’s perspective has changed. The way I saw things when I was younger in years and experience has altered a good deal in the intervening years. Once in a while I am reminded of this, as I was recently in a conversation I had with a friend of mine. She was lamenting the fact that while she was happy, her children wanted things to be different.
I thought how years ago I visited my late mom and dad in the new home they had bought in Florida. Compared with other places they had lived, it seemed small and somewhat dingy. They loved it. My mother raved about her grapefruit tree, my father proudly pointed out their small swimming pool, about two and a half to three feet deep and maybe eight or ten feet square. It was inside a screened in room with a roof. Of course I said “How nice, I’m so happy for you.”
It’s true that I was happy for them, yet I felt sad too. It seemed to me that they would be happier if they were in something bigger and more grand. Previously for a few years Daddy had owned a large home in Bermuda. It had lovely gardens, many rooms and a resident ghost. The house they had lived in while I was growing up, while not grand, was quite a bit bigger and more spacious than where they were now. Even their summer home in Maine was larger than this one. How could they be content in this smaller space?
That was many years ago. I now fully understand why my parents liked their simpler, more manageable home. I’ve reached an age that is some years older than they were then and I relish the simplicity of my life in an apartment as opposed to what it was like in our two previous houses. It is a joy not to have to clean two or three bathrooms every week. I adore my little kitchen and function much more efficiently in it than in the roomier ones I cooked in, in the homes we owned in the past.
To be sure there are downsides to smaller, simpler living quarters, there is less room for possessions and that means eliminating certain items I might prefer to keep. There are limitations on what I can acquire and how much. However, the downsides and limitations are more than compensated for by the blessings.
My friend, who recently moved into a nursing home tells me she is really happy in her little space. “I wish my children could feel as glad as I do for my being here,” she told me. “I have no worries, the staff take wonderful care of me here, and I am so very comfortable.” Perhaps her children feel guilty and believe they are supposed to be caring for her themselves. That is a truism in our society, yet it is not always true. From my friend’s perspective, everything is just wonderful. I know exactly what she means.