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One Mistake People Make October 11, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Less IS More, People, Travel & Leisure.

200px-RealMotherGooseOne Mistake People Make may become a new series on SLTW to highlight a few of the mistakes that people make while rationalizing their decisions with “little lies” they tell themselves.

My only concern . . . I’ll run out of material.

Hmm . . .

No.  I think we’re good on that front.  I see people making mistakes every day.  Plenty of fodder for the flames.

So, here we go, the inaugural post . . . One Mistake People Make.

Believing that buying a vacation home will SIMPLIFY their lives. 

It won’t.

THE SITUATION:  Last night, we watched Househunters International  on HGTV.  Divorced Dad, living in Chicago, shares visitation of his school-aged daughter with his ex-wife.

Since his daughter lives right down the street from him, he sees her on weekends and during the week when she stops by after school.

Divorced Dad (hereinafter “DD”) conducts House Inspections.  He lives in a 1920 Chicago  bungalow he’s owned for 4 years.

It’s a Money Pit.


DD spends his free time gutting bathrooms, replacing decks, re-installing windows, updating tile, painting, staining, sanding, etc.

DD’s PROBLEM:  He is exhausted.  His life is too complicated.  He doesn’t have enough time to relax and get to know his daughter.

DD’s SOLUTION:  Buy a vacation home.

In Costa Rica.

What?  How will adding another layer of responsibility, another mortgage, another piece of real estate, to your “overloaded life” simplify it?

ANSWER:  It won’t.

But wait there’s more.  As he is sharing his solution with TV viewers, he mentions that:

* He had never heard of Costa Rica until one of the homeowner’s he did an inspection for mentioned it.

* He’s never been to Costa Rica.

* He doesn’t even know where Costa Rica is located on the map.

* He doesn’t speak Spanish.

No matter.  After doing a bit of research on the internet, he’s decided that Costa Rica looks quite nice.

At last, he’ll be able to simplify his life and get to spend time with his daughter.

Don’t you just love happy endings?

220px-Horse_and_ManDD’s DREAM:  In order to “simplify his life,” DD needs a vacation home in Costa Rica with at least 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, an open floor plan, new appliances, and a swimming pool . . . within walking distance of the beach and amenities in town.

And he wants it NOW!

DD’s PLAN:  Fly down to Costa Rica (his first time to the country), spend one week looking around, brush up his Spanish un poquito, and buy the house of his dreams.

Sounds do-able.

DD’s VACATION HOME:  After  one week in Costa Rica, DD bought a newly constructed furnished home with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a pool and an open floor plan.

Exactly what he wanted except . . .

It’s located 30 minutes  away from any amenities.

Every time DD needs groceries, healthcare, clothes, or wants to dine out, he’s looking at 60 minutes driving round trip.  (And, of course, there’s the time and expense required to fly to and from Chicago to get to this magical oasis of simplicity.)

Despite this trade-off, DD seems happy at last.

As the camera fades, we see DD and his daughter riding horseback on the beaches of Costa Rica leaving home viewers with the impression that they too could simplify their lives if they could find a vacation home in Costa Rica for $275,000.

Next Up:  How DD could have simplified his life, and gotten to know his daughter, without ever leaving the country.


1. Barbara Gunn - October 11, 2010

Funny isn’t it that the things we want most are quite often right under our fingertips and free!

nrhatch - October 11, 2010

So true, Barbara. So true.

Simple pleasures are life’s treasures.

2. Amy - October 11, 2010

lol at him. people need to get a grip. things, houses, vacations, and running away to foreign lands will not now or ever simplify life. this guy sounds like he’s got more money than brains when it comes to what really counts.

sadly most people do this on some level or another. i know im guilty. i dont have a far away vacation home but i stress over physical things way too often.

nrhatch - October 11, 2010

I didn’t get the sense that he was rolling in the bucks. Just the opposite.

I got the sense that money was “tight enough” that he insisted on doing all the work on his “money pit” himself . . . and that’s why his time was already stretched so thin.

The secret to happiness (and simplicity) is not HAVING MORE . . . it’s WANTING LESS.

3. Paula Tohline Calhoun - October 11, 2010

It’s an old story. . .the plot always has as a main element some deep-seated need that can only be fulfilled by spending a ridiculous amount of money and getting something that they think they want, but finally realize they didn’t need, and then being unable to unload it without considerable loss of value. Story ends with chastened MCs smiling with their new understanding of selves – as they walk off into the distance in search of something else they they want but don’t need, and new lessons to be learned (supposedly).

I saw that episode, Nancy. That show always gets to my hubs and me! The amount of income it appears that so many people have absolutely astounds us! Particularly the age of some of them! At that age we could not and would not have ever dreamed of the total outlandish luxuries that they consider necessities! Where does all that money come from? Did they really get it with no thought whatsoever for what is really needed in this life, and on this planet?

Oh well. These aren’t just MISTAKES, they are bottomless pits into which many people have fallen and been lost. . .

nrhatch - October 11, 2010

Bottomless pits is a good analogy, Paula.

I’m very excited about this new series. Just think of the fun we shall have learning from the mistakes of others. 🙂

4. souldipper - October 11, 2010

Okay, Nancy…here I am with my soapbox. Where’s the best place for it? Right here? Okay, here goes.

This astute blogicle validates that I did a good thing for my brain by taking my Television set to the Recycle Station. I made a mistake, though. I ought to have left a note of apology to the poor soul who inherits it.

Perhaps I could have encouraged them to practice selective viewing – watch their children. Or nature. Or watch someone and learn something new.

And miracles of miracles…I am informed of the important world events.

nrhatch - October 11, 2010

I love when you get on your soapbox. You and Alannah both have no TV. Good for you! If I lived alone, I might not have one either.

But BFF enjoys sports, news, and Public TV too much for us to be TV-Less at this point.

We tend to be rather selective about what we watch together. No soaps. No Reality TV.

We watch Travel shows (cheaper than flying), cooking shows (great for inspiration), a few sitcoms (laughter is the best medicine), and one drama (The Mentalist).

We watched this episode to see what Costa Rica looked like. It’s quite nice.

No matter what I’m watching, I have my brain “in gear” so that I don’t get brainwashed into thinking that I can “buy happiness.” 8)

5. Paula Tohline Calhoun - October 11, 2010

TV is not really the problem (although that is a very arguable statement – even by me!). The problem is with the TOTAL LACK OF DISCRETION of an apparently endless number of viewers. I am always astounded at not only the gullibility but the out and out stupidity of some people as to their selection (stress selection)of what they will watch – especially when there really is good TV out there, albeit, not all the time.

I have probably been entertained, enlightened, educated, and amazed by the medium of TV more than by any other, except the written word. And TV (especially when I was young – and so was TV) pushed me to read many many books I might not have had I not seen some mention of the book or author on TV.

TV is a multi-edged sword. People need to be educated on how to use it!

nrhatch - October 11, 2010

I tend to agree with you.

TV does not cram Big Macs or Whoppers down our throats. TV does not take our charge cards out of our wallets. TV does not apply for mortgages for 2nd homes on our behalf.

But it creates DESIRE in many whose lives are not as “perfect” as they hoped they would be.

And TV definitely encourages children to become “consumers” at younger and younger ages.

TV . . . a multi-edged sword. Touche!

6. Patricia - October 11, 2010

I have not had a TV for about 3 years. I am more content now–I don’t have all those people telling me what I must have to have a good life and be happy!

I do indulge in Netflix a couple times a week though. And the library is my friend.

nrhatch - October 11, 2010

Congratulations on no TV. I am rather immune to the allure of commercials and in-show ads for stuff, stuff, and more stuff . . . I’ll never be a fashionista (or a Maxxinista).

We get 2 movies a week from Netflix and visit our library regularly too. It pays to be selective in how we spend our money and time.

7. tsuchigari - October 11, 2010

Yay Netflix – I’m spoiled and have it streaming through my Wii so I can watch my favs on the TV without having to wait. This guy has a reality crisis going on, he doesn’t grasp the obvious on what is going on in his life. Sad for him.

nrhatch - October 11, 2010

My nieces have Netflix through their Wii and love it. We don’t have Wii and don’t watch enough movies to get a special box from Netflix. So we rely on {{gasp}} snail mail!

I expect that he will find no more happiness in Costa Rica than he could have found by making more time for priorities in Chicago.

Of course, weather does/can have a profound impact on our mood. I know that my mood is better now that we live in the Sunshine State . . . but I wouldn’t want to split my time between two homes. One is plenty.

Paula Tohline Calhoun - October 12, 2010

We have had the one-at-a-time Netflix subscription for a couple of years now, and use it fairly regularly. What I discovered recently is even better: you can watch TONS of movies instantly on your PC with your Netflix sub. I’ve had a great time when insomnia strikes. I just click on and see what’s available. For instance, I just watched the first season of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” – one of the greatest of all time, and it really helped me through the night! Thank you and bless you Netflix! (Our youngest son, Matt uses their Wii to watch Netflix too. We don’t have a Wii.)

nrhatch - October 12, 2010

That’s what we have . . . one at a time.

Plenty for us, especially since we have a few DVD’s of our favorite movies to fill in the gaps should any appear.

I’ve tried watching on my computer, but don’t care for it. My screen is big enough, and the sound is good enough, but I like watching movies in the living room, not at my desk.

No Laptop. No Wii.
Why I don’t feel deprived is beyond me. 😉

8. jannatwrites - October 11, 2010

This guy reminds me of so many people that bought huge houses with an RV, boat, expensive cars, etc. With the downturn, possessions have been repo’d and massive houses foreclosed on. “Stuff” just creates more stress – especially if you have to borrow money to pay for it. It’s sad because reality probably won’t be near as great as he imagined it would be. For his sake, I hope it is though.

nrhatch - October 11, 2010

I agree. So many people fill their lives with stuff they don’t need (or even have time to use) and they have to work more hours to pay for it all.

Each time we move, we buy a SMALLER house than the last one and jettison more stuff ~ giving it away to Goodwill to raise money to educate people with disabilities.

The less space we have, the less stuff we buy, the happier we become.

9. cindy - October 12, 2010

Cor blimey, the man is a sucker for punishment.

nrhatch - October 12, 2010

And he’s not alone. He’s got plenty of company.

10. booksphotographsandartwork - October 12, 2010

Gee I think I see why DD is DD.

nrhatch - October 12, 2010

You’re on a roll tonight. 🙂
I’m laughing at your rather astute comments.


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