I met Mr. P when he was 1/2 way across the world in the Middle East. Here’s a link to that story because we’re going to talk other stuff The letter that started it all Filipino born and raised he entered America at 18yrs, lived in Chicago for a short time (frost bite on Filipino bodies is particularly traumatizing) before quickly signing onto the 82nd Airborne where he got his cute, little, recently American, frozen toosh shipped over seas into a rough area. This boy can truly live and function anywhere. He can bloom wherever he’s planted and has an adaptability comparable to a dandelion (total compliment, honestly)
I was a home-grown girl who lived with an adventurous and daring mother. She was/is a free spirit who longed to see the world and was always pushing us to go further than we planned (both with travel and life goals). Thanks to her, we traveled more than your average family back in the 70-80’s. My dad was a nervous wreck and if up to him we would’ve stayed in our back yard all year long. But he loved big. He gave big. So needless to say, he traveled…often. I gained an education in new vocabulary words and hand gestures as he frantically navigated our HUGE 1970 BUICK SKYLARK through Chicago traffic while we traveled cross country to Montana. Here’s a peak at one of our trips….Montana, like I KNOW you’ve never experienced.
Thanks to these life events, Mr. P and I knew the importance of experiencing our world. A long time ago we decided to invest in life experiences rather than “stuff.” And we have held onto this motto since our early newlywed days living in Washington D.C. For a young, newly married couple, we had a lot of money and could’ve spent it on anything. We made choices.
A few of the choices we made…..While other people had luxury apartments, we opted to be bargain cellar dwellers right in the heart of NW D.C. We were living, breathing vampires each time we exited our apartment and the sunlight touched our bodies. We actually cringed and threw our hands over our faces. I do believe our bodies singed and smoked slightly. We had to access our basement apartment off of a dark alley way. Talk about shadows in the night? We often worked opposite shifts which left me coming home alone. At night. But I was a vampire, remember? I got this. I perfected my “I’ll-jack-you-up-if-you-lay-a hand-on-me” confident walk (I actually believe I’m good enough to teach some techniques). We had an old tube TV with rabbit ear antenna and drove a banger Toyota death trap (because who really NEEDS a car in the city?) And when our banger Toyota got scraped, hit, keyed or egged we didn’t bleed out and die. Vamps suck blood, we don’t lose it.
BUT what did we GAIN from these choices? EATING out EVERY dang time we WANTED, WHENEVER we wanted! Do you know there is Ethiopian food and it’s really GOOD?!? We ate our way through all of DC those 3 years without even losing a fang and it was divine. Of course we toured and traveled and spent our money on experiences rather than being strapped to a luxury apartment, expensive furnishings or a fancy car.
We invested in life experiences.
Fast forward to three kids and our current suburban lives. Ahh suburbia. Keeping up with the Joneses was coined for a reason. Yes, we live in an affluent area where the average house price is close $500K and beyond. However, keeping true to our motto, we purchased an older split entry level 3 bedroom home (4 if you count the bedroom we added on – yes ADD ON construction!) We drive average cars. We try our best to live on one income even though we both work. Sticking to one income living and saving most of the second income has allowed us the freedom to travel when and where we want, resign from work when an arrogant, narcissist obtains employment and take time to find another job without the stress, pressure and panic. I much prefer this option over being financially trapped in an abusive situation.
But we now have kids. And kids like “stuff.”
Each and every one of our kids has experienced the jaw dropping moment when they go over to a friend’s 5 bedroom house and their bedroom with attached bath (I’m told all kids need their own bathroom) is larger than our entire home, with a theater room (according to many families this is a need not a want), an exercise room, a pantry larger than my kitchen (and my kitchen is pretty large – again, add on!) and an outside oasis.
It’s inevitable. They come home looking as if they’ve been cheated. Lied to. Deprived. They wine. They compare. They ask why we can’t have this or that. I listen. I nod in apparent understanding while I recall multiple encounters I’ve had over the years with my Aesthetic Medicine clients. One of my jobs involves injecting Botox and Facial fillers to maintain youth (until we find the fountain). I cannot tell you how many of these individuals live in these homes, drive super high end vehicles, wear ward robes that cost a years salary but claim they can’t afford my $140 lash growth serum or ask to do less Botox because they can’t afford the total treatment. Whaaaa? Seriously? Ok, either they are strapped in debt from living above their means in order to keep up appearances or are super cheap.
I snap out of my mental wanderings and remind my ungrateful lovelies that we can afford all of those things and more but that would be our lives. We would stay in our expensive homes, poop in our own personal bathrooms, eat choking hazard popcorn while watching a movie in our theater room, drive our cushy cars, dress like runway models, claim that we can’t afford a $140 product and destroy our skin in our outdoor oasis. But that would be it. And I add
remember kids…(please remember) we choose to invest in life experiences rather than stuff.
If that’s the life experience they want then…ok. But as they think, REALLY think about it (you can see all of the travel memories flash in front of them) they ultimately decide it isn’t worth it. Then they laugh and begin the “remember the time we went….”
For some people going into debt, living large while complaining they can’t afford things or solely living large is what they want and that’s ok. But this Mama wants to travel the world with her kids and give them more than a fancy home and all the “stuff” in it ever could.
I’m going to leave you with a just a few of the experiences we’ve invested in. I’m feeling a bit nostalgic so these are of my “babies” and their earlier adventures.
Reading about is different than actually climbing on a gigantic termite hill
And you think our house is small?
Don’t mind not having your own bathroom now huh? Because your toilet actually has a flushing system.
Gigantic white woman in tiny diesel bus. I was a total giant in the Philippines.
testing the senses at the fish market, Philippines
When in Japan, Pop a squat
Dangling food is her thing, Sea of Galilee
Making bread in the Middle East
Better than a fancy vehicle
In the Middle Eastern sands
Taking it all in
A “man” among men
Rock Mushroom, Negev
Testing the boundaries
“You are a man so you must walk in front of the woman” Josh got an education while in Jordan and escaped to walk with me many times. Each time he was returned to the front. Again, it’s one thing to hear about it but to actually EXPERIENCE it? Priceless.
Not letting Josh walk with the women, Jordan.
Your room doesn’t seem so bad now Josh?
Our quarters in the sand
Ahhh, comfort at it’s finest
Lock and Load baby! IDF
Testing more boundaries. It’s his thing.
Donnie getting his teeth bleached in the Philippines…experiences!!
A medical clinic? Yes.
Dangling some food again
Stateside with the grumpy Little
Seeing the famous bakery NJ
Typical NYC fun
After a week of subway, I like my average car just fine.