Do You Have What You Need?

It’s yet another transition time in my life, as a lot of Anita’s stuff got loaded into a trailer and headed out to Cameron. We’re both very grateful to the guys who did all the heavy lifting, which combined with all the stairs makes for a long hot day. We’re getting ready to put the Bobcat Lair house on the market, because houses are selling so well in Austin these days.

I’ll miss looking at lesser goldfinches through my neighbor’s windows!

One thing is for sure, neither Anita nor I want to leave. The neighborhood women are all such good friends and so kind to each other. That won’t be easy to reproduce. Having a supportive community that can listen to each other and support each other, even when we disagree is priceless. At the end of last night’s book club I realized that such a community is what I’ve always needed for staying happy and centered. A lot of my unsuccessful attempts at making friends or joining groups have come because I have that need (and reinforced that just because you like some people doesn’t mean they’ll like YOU!).

Precious neighbors at book club. I’ll drive back to Austin for that!

I’ll be sure to stay close to the Austin neighborhood friends as I move on, just as I’ve tried to stay close to my close-knit La Leche League friends.

As we prepare to leave our Austin sanctuary, I realize that another thing I really need is a place where I can just be my own raw self. The nice thing about having known Anita since we were so young is that we know each other’s personalities so well that we can pretty much say and do whatever the heck we want to around each other and there aren’t hard feelings, misunderstandings to straighten out, or topics to avoid bringing into conversations. If we disagree, we talk about it. That’s rare, very rare, at least in my experience! (I can only think of two other people who fall into that category right now.) It’s just so great to be able to relax and not self censor for a while. It’s been great to have the Austin house to be a place of respite where we can simply be.

Goofy Friends For-Ever

I’ll still have Anita in the future, and I hope spending time with her at her new house will be a good break from the fun and adventures of home and work (which also have their great points and are important to me)!

That’s important, because the third thing I really need is that mythical “place of one’s own” where you can surround yourself with what YOU like. My Austin living room and bedroom were that for me, as was the beautiful office I made at the Pope Residence, which needed to be used by others for business reasons. I only got to use it a few months, at most, but wow, I loved having my desk, my window of glass objects, my pretend fireplace, and my beautiful chandelier surrounding me while I dealt with job issues, did volunteer work, and thought my own quiet thoughts.

I loved this office, but never got to come back after the Snow Event.

My office at the ranch house isn’t quite that, and I’m not sure why. Probably because there are so many dogs, interruptions, and things I don’t like in the room. I’ll bring in things I DO like and make it better, though. Whining about it won’t help get me where I feel comfortable, productive, and at peace, now, will it? I’ll just get stuff from my Bobcat house, my beautiful Cameron office, and elsewhere, and fix things up. And shut the door, even if it inconveniences the dogs.

So, what do you feel like you NEED to live your best, most comfortable, and most productive life? I was surprised that the things I talked about today were what came up for me. But, at least I know, now, and I can keep working on enjoying what I do have (my amazing family, friends in Cameron, and ranch of wonders) while tweaking my environment to best meet my needs, but not interfering with others who are meeting THEIR needs. Because, yep, other people’s stuff is also important, right?

Universal Needs

The past few days, I’ve been fixated on what all of us human beings have in common. I guess a lot of this has been because I’ve been reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book on the Congo, The Poisonwood Bible, for the neighborhood book club. I’ve also been learning about life in the 1930s for members of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico in the book, Spider Woman, by Gladys A. Reichard (it’s a memoir that just got reprinted). On top of that, the PBS television show Finding Your Roots has focused on family life of slaves in the US, families dealing with wars in Asia, and other times of difficulty and stress for people. I have learned a lot from the photos and documents they show.

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Here are two minor helpers for keeping me well: yet another reblooming orchid, and my sign remniding me to breathe.

I keep seeing families and communities that manage to do well, in spite of the many challenges life throws at them, and also how they sometimes break down. I kept wondering, what do all of us need to have a “good” life?

For my real estate blog, I wrote up some of my thoughts as they relate to what we do to create homes for people, not just houses. I came up with what, to me, are the minimum requirements for a good life.

basic_needs
These are my stab at a list of basic needs. It may not cover everything.

Just having food and a roof over your head is not enough, to me. You need a community around you, so that you can give and receive love and friendship. You need to feel like you have a purpose in life, which is what I mean by fulfilling work. I don’t even know that pay is important, if you can meet your needs otherwise, but life is pretty hollow without the ability to do something that makes you feel like a part of the big picture.

And freedom from fear is the clencher for me. So many people live where they feel unsafe. You can’t be happy if you are worried about war, physical/mental cruelty, prejudices, or environnmental dangers. Every human deserves to feel safe.

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We have our loving community, a home, food, and the meaningful work of being companions for our mommies. So, we are happy, say Pickle and Vlassic.

I’ve seen (and read about in my books) many people who don’t have much by way of possessions, money, or property, but they are happy because they life surrouded by a safe communty, have enough to eat, and are contributing to the greater good. That’s all I really want, too.

What other things would you add to a list of basic needs for a happy life? I’d be interested. Certainly there are a LOT more things that would add to happiness, like health care, education…and?

 

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