Saturday, December 20, 2008

Is It Ever Enough?

[The W Hotel which is under construction near us is due to have condos in it in addition to hotel rooms, bars and restaurants and the Austin City Limits Music Hall. There has been a sales center on site for a while but now they are completely redoing the sales center. Or so they say. We wonder if the condos are being ditched for hotel rooms. So, naturally, I co-oped their sign and shot my reflection in it.]

Did you ever wonder what would happen if you really, finally got everything you wanted? Would there be a point where, really, it was enough?

The Pleasure of Wearing Things Out
Except for things that are consumable and things that wear out, I have everything I need. And most of what I want. It's a pleasure getting a new pair of tennis shoes, new underwear (thanks, big Sis, for that Christmas present) and a new Polartec hoodie. I was thinking the other day that the towels and bathmats we are using are now about four years old. They are holding up pretty well, but it will be fun to replace them.

Naturally, I love buying food, booze, meals out, experiences (tickets to things and travel). But one is limited in the amount of this that one can consume. I guess I could crave more caviar and champagne, but, honestly, I get enough of that to suit me. I would love more trips to Europe and I suppose I could get used to limos and private jets, but really just having the money for a few trips on commercial airliners, a few taxi rides and a few car service trips, moderate to expensive (to me) hotels and museums and restaurants is fine.

I like things that you spend money on and then they are just pleasant memories.

Second Home Not Required
Guys like Madoff (and the people whose millions he invested) needed multiple homes. And yachts with more square feet than my condo. I am not pleased that I own another home besides this condo. Dad lives there and that's great, but I fear that one day I'll have to dispose of it. The prospect doesn't interest me. My in-laws own a little cottage, too. Ditto on not looking forward to disposing of it for them. (Or even owning it if we outlive them which I think most days we will not do.) I wouldn't want to have multiple homes to manage. Let alone boats and planes. Oh, sure, you hire people to manage it. But I have trouble managing help. No thanks. I once said that, left to my own devices, I might live in hotels.

Gear, Gadgets and Autos
I'm pretty happy with my computers and cameras. I know that my seven-year-old (more?) cell phone will have to be replaced at some point. Not today though. Battery still takes a charge, sound crystal clear. I bought an iPod. I got some new computer gear for the condo and flat screen TVs and a Blu-Ray player and surround sound. We're fixed for a while. I do have in mind some new digital cameras and a GPS gadget, but I've put this on hold while I do some research. And, of course, I have the money to buy them if I want them. I'm going to get one of those small computers for travel, too, I think. Maybe. One day. Still researching.

My Hondo Civic is eight years old. It has some dents and dings. It runs fine and gets 30mpg in town. I made my commitment to it by doing some semi-major fixes last time I had it serviced. I don't drive that much anymore. FFP's Accord is only a couple of years old. Seems like brand new. Has an XM radio. Cool.

So, gear and wheels: very satisfied, no desire for a Mercedes or an iPhone (not just now anyway).

And, if I want something I could buy it.

Art, Artifacts, Collections, Furnishings
We can't accumulate too much more art or artifact or furniture without throwing something out. Which, along the way, I'm sure we will do. Not now, though. Of all the things I've dabbled at collecting, that's all pretty much at an end. Not that we don't acquire the occasional thing, but I really am amazed at some of the wholesale accumulation I did in the past. I must say, too, that much of that 'stuff' has moved along the pipeline to, hopefully, be reused somewhere.

What Are These Guys Thinking?
So what goes through the millionaire (billionaire?) mind as they build homes with tens of thousands of square feet, buy yachts, accumulate collections of paintings and sculpture with pieces worth more than my condo? Oh, I understand throwing a big party and having a bunch of people eating and drinking. I understand wanting a nice car. Really. (Although I'd much rather have someone to drive me around in my Hondos. Oh, wait, I have FFP.)

Do these really, really rich folks ever think about reaching a point where it is enough, pretty much, and consumables and maintenance and refreshing is all that's needed? If I can get there, is it possible for anyone? I know that my mom never really got enough stuff. She always wanted a bit more. Just for the thrill of having what she once did not or having something new and interesting. Even when she was dying I could see this. I don't think I'm so different from her. I just think I reached a normal human saturation point we all have. I think Mr. Madoff and his ilk may have damaged saturation meters, though. And that may be part of the problem. Part of what drives people to steal.

Also, I belong to a country club, too, but not one like the Madoff crowd. (Nor would I want to belong.) Which, in any case, was in Florida, a state that doesn't call out to me.

Having Enough Feels Good
Having enough food, clothing and shelter. Having health needs met. Having some fun! Tennis this morning at the country club. (Roddick worked out on the court below us. Does he have enough? Or would being number one for a while be enough?)

Anyway, I had a great time with my three friends playing tennis. A walk over to the Farmer's Market to buy some Texas Pecans for my dad for Christmas. Some pastries from the empanada stand. I'll have a meal and maybe a movie or performance with some friends tonight.

I have enough. It feels good. If I get depressed it's not something cars or electronics (or even travel and meals) will cure.


Sarah said...

Austin seems like a fascinating, albeit weird, civilization unto itself. I'd like to live there some day. What are summers like? Very hot?

Linda Ball said...

The brutal unrelentingly hot and humid summers though less hot than Dallas or humid as Houstin are what keeps folks away who can't afford to summer in Colorado or the Alps. A lot of us stick it out, pay a lot for air conditioning and try to veer toward the shade.