Caution to the wind

Some of the best minds of my generation have apparently forgotten how they learned to accept and adjust to all of the change we have experienced during our lives. I am probably one of them, too. What exactly are we thinking, allowing things to fall so far? A long list of examples is available of how thing were compared to how they are now. But you know the list by heart and you may not even want to remember that far back.

Today we take so much for granted, and maybe to our detriment. Take food as an example. Years ago we rarely went out to eat (there were just a few places to eat away from home back then) and many of those were kind of meat and potatoes, tortillas and chile, home cooking places so you got something like mom’s only a little different. More or less garlic, salt and dairy. And you were not all that temped to go out again because the variety and quality was not memorable. Plus you had to pay for it and leave a tip. Now some find themselves eating out, eating on the run, or at their desk or in their car a much more frequent event. And that means they are much more likely eating processed foods. As a quick aside, I am going to equate processed foods with excess sodium, chemicals, fat, too much fructose corn syrup and completely empty calories. Our diets today are much like the kind of food you get at Burger King or IHOP, and not all that healthy. Filling? Yes! Lots of calories and the price can seem reasonable, but healthy? Not at all, really. Whether it is the non-local nature of the food shipped from some distant refrigerated warehouse or the additives to keep the color and texture “attractive” that may also be measurably toxic, the carbon footprint and the nutrition are mostly failing to sustain us.

So what is a person to do? Refresh your cooking skills for one, along with the shopping, procurement, preparation, etc. of nearly everything you eat. Sure, take a friend out for dinner now and then, but being conscious of what you are eating is the least you can do. When you prepare larger meals in advance, you can have the leftovers a couple of days later and not have the hassle of cooking and cleaning up. That’s what they say.

Also seemingly forgotten is the art of being neighborly, with few people on the same block knowing their next door neighbors, much less those across the street. When a host of young ones came to my door in costumes last week, craving candy and yet still shy, their parents stayed out near the street with a short wave and smile back and forth. None of the adults including me made an effort at contact. I am not the exception to the rule; plenty of my neighbors have no idea that I am not the same Alan Ball that plays defense for the Cowboys or the other one that has won awards for his movies and cable TV shows. They might not even know my name. I don’t know very many of them, that is, until I get my farming program in gear.     (farming used as a term in relation to real estate marketing – if you need to know, ask)

One of the saddest things we have also forgotten is  how to vote. Among legal and eligible adults, many are not registered. And of those that have bothered to register, many do not vote. They think it doesn’t matter who they vote for; that their vote does not count. All you need is a couple hundred people thinking that way in every precinct and soon a small minority of people are deciding and directing the future of local and national government. Maybe the elections during the next 12 months will see higher turnouts. The entire concept of incumbents unwilling to push for solutions to tremendously difficult problems makes me wonder how they get re-elected. Shall we show them the door?

Think of three basic easy ways to change your health and the course of history, while just possibly extending your life and opening yourself up to new experiences. Vote early and often. Say hello to your neighbor and start a conversation. Buy locally harvested foods and stay home and relearn how to cook. Heck, take a big risk and invite those neighbors over for dinner. It doesn’t have to be a feast or a dinner party. They could bring a dish too. Or throw caution to the wind and make a homemade pie and tell your Congressman you will throw it in his face while the cameras are rolling if he doesn’t start solving the problems we are all dealing with. I’ll bail you out if you pay me back later.

The real estate angle here…? Possibly, the angle is what we came to expect to gain from buying a home at a negotiated price, as if it could resemble an ATM. Whatever happened? Yes, homes are an investment, but they pay you back in many intangible ways. Come home and you know exactly where the coffee is, and what is in the pantry. When we started treating them as if they would always grow in value, at impossible odds, they found a way to let us down. Did houses and homes fail us? No. It was our mistake to forget what they really are; a place to live.

Comments

Caution to the wind — 1 Comment

  1. Alan, interesting blog on change, how we adapt and what happens when expectations change. A home is a place to live. And like everything in our market economy, the price is always relative to the expectations we place on what it means to have a place of our own.