I pulled up to my house and clicked on the garage door opener. Right on cue, the garage opened up in front of me and I pulled in. After I turned the car off, I sat inside the garage for several minutes. I didn’t get out of the car, I didn’t talk, I just sat there and took a few deep breaths. I might have even wiped away a tear or two. After a short while, I finally clicked the garage door opener once more, making the door close, and went inside the house.
Millions of people come-and-go via a garage each day. The garage door installation and repair business is a big-time business in the United States. For me, though, I look back fondly on moving into our house more than two decades ago and using our garage door opener for the first time.
I thought I had finally made it to the big time.
Like George and Louise Jefferson from the famed CBS Television Show, The Jefferson’s, that ran from 1975 to 1985, I thought I had “moved to the East Side and finally got a piece of the pie.”
Instead of George Jefferson in a three piece suit doing his little strut in a ritzy Fifth Avenue apartment, imagine a little white guy in a blue shirt and khakis pants strutting inside of his cramped, dimly-lit garage.
When I was a kid, I never expected that I would own a house, forget about one that came with a garage. I know it’s a silly thing, but homes with garages in my mind were for the wealthy and for the people we saw on TV. We parked in the driveway or yard. When the car needed an oil change or new brakes, the weather be damned, we worked on it in the driveway.
In fact, a tweet making the rounds recently asked readers to list the items they have now that would have seemed like luxuries when they were younger and less affluent. I thought of a number of items, but my garage door and automatic opener jumped to the top of my list.
My family came from humble beginnings. My parents worked hard, but just as my father started to move into middle income, he suffered a debilitating heart attack. My mother became the sole breadwinner and we certainly faced our fair share of challenges.
Living in the lap of luxury
So, when I think about luxuries now, I find my list is not full of Bently’s or Bugatti’s, boats, or vacation homes, but simple things such as:
–Choosing the thicker more expensive toilet paper.
–Having more than one TV in the house.
–Having the option to eat healthy.
–Eating out at non-chain restaurants.
–Having central air.
–Buying a gym membership and not feeling guilty when I don’t go.
–Choosing not to wear a heavy sweater and instead turn up the heat on a cold day.
–Owning more than one pair of sneakers.
–Going to the coffee shop five days in a row and not worrying about the cost.
–Paying for delivery of anything, food, furniture, etc., instead of picking the item up ourselves.
–Picking something up at the store and not first looking at the price tag.
–Deciding to go away for the weekend on a whim and not thinking twice about the costs of a hotel, miles, etc.
Oh, I still wouldn’t mind that expensive vacation home in Paris, Rome, or Monte Carlo, but you get the point. On the positive side, I find that I appreciate things more. I’m grateful for good service, a kind word, and extra effort. I don’t always succeed, but I try to never forget to say ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome.’ I remember the hard work behind my paycheck.
Like the Jefferson’s, I remember that it “took a whole lotta tryin’, just to get up that hill.”