Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Appreciate What You Have

We all take what we have for granted, including me at times. The other day the wife and I were cleaning about 15 years of junk out of the utility shed. Since I have more time on my hands I am going to save money by doing my own yard work now. In the past we have hired it done because we simply did not have the time to devote to 2 acres. While I was teaching I put everything I had into the job and was always completely exhausted each evening and weekends. We bought a new riding mower, weed eater, and chain saw to put in the shed. It will pay for itself in about a year so the long term savings will be substantial.

This morning I looked out the window and saw a young couple in a small truck stop next to the trash we had put out from the shed. They spent around an hour going through every box and bag looking for usable items. They took a couple of old plastic tarps, a rusty vice, two old broken weed eaters, a car battery charger I had replaced with a much better model years ago, boxes of old electrical components, a hand sprayer, a rusted grinder, and other odds and ends. When they were finished going through the garbage they put the remaining stuff neatly back into bags and then into the trash cans.

Where I saw a large pile of junk I should have disposed of years ago this couple saw treasures. From their appearance they seemed to be rather poor. This couple was beaming as they took our trash and loaded bags of it into the back of their truck. They acted as if they had just won the lottery. What could they possibly do with this stuff? a couple of items might be cleaned up and fetch a few dollars at a yard sale. Items like the tarps might come in handy for covering outdoor belongings. The point they drove home to me was that they really seemed to appreciate getting the junk I wanted to get rid of. We are certainly not wealthy as we live in a mobile home and lead a simple life but in their eyes we must have seemed like millionaires.
This couple was so young they looked as if they were just starting out together so they probably did not have much in the way of material goods. It really made me kick myself for taking things for granted that they only dreamed of having at this point in their lives together. In the future I will make every effort to value the few things we have here. Others have so much less.