by: Brent Wood
It was not a pleasant evening. The neighbors were outraged! How dare he put up a cell tower and ruin their property values! What if they wanted to sell their homes? Who would want to buy a house in "Cell Tower Acres"? The debate raged on (though as it was very one sided I'm not sure it qualified as a debate) until the crowd finally wandered home. Now to be honest I wasn't crazy about the idea - my house was directly across the street from where the tower would be built - but I was astounded by the behavior of people at the meeting. And I wondered if maybe they were being hypocritical. Here's why:
Most of those people shared the fact that they had lived in the neighborhood since it was built - so like for 40 years in the same house. So they didn't really seem to be the selling-the-house-to-see-what-we-can-get-out-of-it type of crowd. But I had an even bigger question for them (which I chose not to ask): How many of them were still wandering through their houses while walking on gold shag carpet and soaking in avocado bathtubs? It's a valid question if we're talking about keeping up house values.
Home improvement is a necessary thing. Now I realize that financial constraints often limit what we can do, and yes, being content is an admirable virtue, yet, at the same time, an argument can be made for taking good care of what we have, even improving things.
So why don't people do an occasional remodel? Aside from the aforementioned reasons, I think one of he biggest is simply that people get used to how things are and don't really see the need. Or, in a word, familiarity.
We love our familiar. But the familiar often blinds us to things that need attention. How many times have you walked by that piece of trim that needs replaced? You don't even notice anymore. And that switch plate cover that is the wrong color? Right, you stopped noticing that along time ago. And those plastic-wrapped couch cushions? Let's not even go there.
The problem is that it's not just our houses - it's also our lives. We get used to who we are, the way we do things, how we think - and we settle for the familiar, when we may need to do some updating, or even some hardcore remodeling. It's not that we're opposed to change - it's that we just don't see what needs to be changed. Familiarity has blinded us to our own shortcomings.
So what is something in your life with which you have become way too familiar that really needs some attention? Maybe it's a negative attitude? Maybe it's not treating your mate with kindness and gratitude? Maybe it's a tendency to gossip and speak ill of people? Maybe it's simple lethargy? But whatever it is, you need to make a change!
I've got some good news. You can. And you can probably do it cheaply. Changing your attitude will cost less than new carpet. Treating your spouse right is a whole lot cheaper that putting in new kitchen cabinets. Treating people with kindness is cheaper than buying new furniture.
So where in your life do you need to move past the familiar and get to work? It's important!