I’d been raised by parents who lived through the Great Depression and although I never felt deprived, we were taught thrift and saving for the future.
Frugality was part of my DNA, even during the 30 years I was married to my previous husband who was just as conservative in spending money as I was. He fixed what was broken, we saved and “made do.”
I never thought that was limiting until I chose a different kind of person to marry the second time around.
Otto was also raised by parents who lived through the Great Depression but he did feel deprived. He somehow adopted the idea that when an opportunity appeared to make life better, he could find a way to do that.
And he did.
After several years, I finally saw beyond my judgments of his way of thinking. I could see a glimpse of a surprisingly different and enlarged way of living–for me.
Here are a few small ways my life expanded being with Otto…
1. Clocks-For over 50 years, I’d lived with only a clock in the bedroom beside my bed but suddenly they started appearing in every room, especially the bathroom. I never dreamed of having so many clocks available to me that I didn’t have to go searching to find out the correct time.
What a joy to look up as I sat on the toilet to see how much time I had left before leaving for work! No more guesswork! And Otto not only brought the clocks of all shapes and sizes in but even changed the batteries!
2. Ink pens-Otto has a pen fetish and isn’t ashamed to admit it. We have Papermate Inkjoys, Foray Advanced Ink Bold Ballpoints, Sharpie Fine Point markers, Bic Atlantis, Z Grips, Papermate ComfortMate Ultras, and Sharpie S-Gels to name a few. I never have to search for an ink pen, as well as a backup, when I need one. Like the clocks, they’re always within reach.
3. Flashlights-Before Otto, I never gave much thought to flashlights. If I wanted one for some reason, there was probably one in the garage but when Otto came, there was a search on for the brightest ones he could find in all shapes and sizes.
We now have small ones in most rooms in case of the occasional power outage and of course, electronic lanterns in the hall closet and large, powerful flashlights in the corner of the kitchen that we carry when we walk in the neighborhood in the dark. We have light!
4. Bruce Springsteen-Before Otto, I played Bach, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Mamas and the Papas, and Carol King to name a few on either the turntable my previous husband bought or a large boom box that sat on the kitchen counter.
I had dismissed Bruce Springsteen because I thought he mumbled and I couldn’t understand the words in his songs. None of this would do for Otto! As soon as it was possible, he bought expensive tower speakers and sound system. Along with that came cds of Bruce’s studio albums, concert cds and dvds.
We have discographies of his songs and have read his book Born to Run, along with attending live concerts. As my addiction grew, Bruce’s musicality and poetry touched my heart and he does get a lot of playing time on what we call our “sound stage.”
I rock out to his songs, especially when I’m cleaning the house. Without Otto, I would have missed a lot of eclectic music but especially missed out on Bruce Springsteen.
What have I learned from all of this expansion?
It’s ok to want and expand in new ways that I never even thought could make life easier. It took me 7 years to buy an led light for under the kitchen cabinet that had always been so dark when I prepared food-but I finally did it!
How has my influence expanded him?
He’s learned appreciation and care for family and friendships and how important those relationships are. He’s learned that it’s ok to feel the desire for something but that doesn’t mean he has to satisfy that craving immediately or at all.
Above all, he and I both have learned and keep learning acceptance and love when someone has very different ideas from you.
That’s the beauty of what the people in our lives bring to us and we bring to others if we’re open to expanding in love and suspending judgment about differences.