Economic Crisis: How a $100 Home Became an Opportunity
I just read an article in the New York Times. It’s about an architect and some artists that moved to Detroit. They purchased homes for as low as $100. The architect purchased his home for $1,900.00. It was stripped of wiring but that didn’t matter to him. He renovated it with solar heat, solar electricity and high-efficiency appliances so he didn’t even need the wiring. Click here to see a video interview of the architect and his wife with Anderson Cooper.
He hasn’t stopped with the renovation of his home though. He is building a mini-grid that will connect his home and some of his friends’ homes together. They purchased homes close to his. The mini-grid will provide their utilities. And right around the corner from him, a group of architects from Amsterdam have decided to do something similar. All of these people see opportunity instead of economic crisis.
How bad could it be? More than likely they didn’t sign a huge mortgage for their homes. They have their own environmentally safe utilities. And they live close to each other so it’s a good guess they get together for social events. Admittedly, a crack addict shows up now and then. But a new vibrancy is coming together in these neighborhoods. Economic crisis or not, opportunity abounds. It’s all how we look at it. We can choose to see it as disaster or we can choose to see it as opportunity.
And how many opportunities are available right in our own neighborhoods? Instead of seeing poverty, maybe we can all start seeing it as a bohemian lifestyle. Who wouldn’t love more free time to pursue things that are enjoyable? Many families run around every night of the week to various events. Maybe these families can enjoy time off together as much as the events. We have all heard to stop and smell the roses. Well, how about now?
If we feel deprived because we can’t purchase as much as we are used to, then the economic crisis is seen as disaster. We could decide to ride a bike instead. We could substitute the desire for the latest technological gadget for board games. And how about about neighborhood sports instead of sitting glued in front of the television to watch them? These are the type of activities that help us see the economic crisis as opportunity.
We would probably breeze through the changes with this attitude. It’s even conceivable that we may not recognize there is much of a problem. In fact, we could enjoy a bohemian lifestyle so much, we will stay that way no matter what the economy does. I mean, how much stuff do we need anyway?
We all know that once the new wears off, we start wanting something else. So why not learn how to enjoy life without the material emphasis? Personally, I was tired of looking for a product that I liked to find out it is no longer available at the store. This has happened many times not only for me but members of my family too. In this case, I see economic crisis as opportunity. Maybe we can look forward to fewer, quality choices when we want to purchase something.
I am not saying people won’t have some hard times coming up. But what happens if Americans decide to slow down? What if we decide to enjoy life and live a lifestyle without emphasis on the material? Would people be seen sitting on front porches talking to each other? Would neighborhoods come together to help a neighbor? Would the elderly, the young and the disabled fit in better with a slower-paced life? Maybe it takes an economic crisis for us to learn to live free of commercialism.
All of us have heard from our grandparents how they enjoyed listening to radio programs while they grew up. And who doesn’t love to be around nature? Have you ever seen turtles playing in a pond? Or deer playing tag in the woods? Has a squirrel ever come and sat beside you? Or have birds ever sat on your shoes? Have you seen a child lying on top of a horse in a field? These things happen if you are quiet. I know because they have all happened to me and I will remember these things for a long time. It is this kind of thing that can make economic crisis an opportunity instead of disaster.
When the Great Depression started, John D. Rockefeller said “These are days when many are discouraged. In the 93 years of my life, depressions have come and gone. Prosperity has always returned and will again.” I’m guessing the architect and his friends are having a blast. They are probably living within their budget and probably spending less hours at the office than ever before. Quality of life doesn’t always have to be about material things. Some would even argue that the focus on the material interferes with the quality of life. Just ask yourself one question. What am I without all the stuff? I do know that we can choose to see economic crisis as disaster or opportunity. It’s up to each one of us.