Rent vs. Own

This post was inspired by my new favorite blog, Seth’s blog (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/).

A lot of people mull over the decision to rent or own. Each has its benefits. Renting provides the freedom of movement. You’re allowed to rent an apartment for one year and move to the next after your lease is up. Owning is more permanent. Once you buy an apartment you can’t move away after one year, unless you’re ready to go through the tedious process of selling. Renting or Owning are both choices that almost everyone makes at least once or twice in their lives. Almost everyone thinks of this process when deciding on a place to live. But what if this analogy applied to people? Not as many people think of themselves as renters and owners of people, however, when we look a little closer we find that we, in fact, do think this way.

Renters of people may be your flighty, fair-weather friends. They call you on a Saturday night and beg you to go out for a good time. “Just one drink! And you can let loose and dance the night away.” They’re there for the fun, for excitement. You know the type. You don’t expect them to be around when times are tougher. These are definitely renters.

Then there are the more mature renters. The best friend from elementary school who knows your secrets, your habits, your favorite type of guy. The ones who were there through the good and the bad. The people that you will invite to be your part of your wedding party. It is like they know every nook and cranny of you because they have been renting for so long.

There is family. People who have known you forever. People who have changed your diapers, were there for your first walk, kissed your boo-boos when you were in pain, and love you. Really love you.

And there is your significant other. The one you cuddle with in bed at night. The one you confide in and trust. The one you make plans for the future with, work towards joint goals with, and the one you cannot see yourself living without.

Are the last two types of people renters or owners? They seem an awful lot like owners don’t they? After all, they know you so well inside and out that you can almost feel movement in the parts of your heart that they are getting comfortable in. But, do they own you? Can they tie you down, pull out a signed contract, and make you pay a mortgage? Sometimes it seems that way. But, let me tell you. Everyone in your life is a renter. Every person in a life rents you for some time. In elementary school your little friends rented time to play Pokemon with you during lunch hours for two years. In high school, your (now ex) boyfriend or girlfriend stole you for a few months, taking kisses and hugs with them. Thankfully, you knew how to get yourself back. Your family rented your tender years and got to watch you learned how to walk, read, and blossom into an amazing adult. Your spouse (or future spouse) is (or will) rent you until the time comes to say good bye.

No one is obliged to be a possession of another person. There are no chains, handcuffs, or contracts. You are not tied to any single person in this world- not to your best friend from childhood, your family, nor your spouse. And no one belongs to you. When the lease is up and the person is ready to move then it is not possible to keep them.

I used to have such an issue with this concept. I always believed that my friends were mine, my parents were mine, and all the people I encountered were somehow mine to maneuver and to make decisions on. I have learned that each person is their own sole owner. Nothing keeps them from making new (and better) friends, my parents did not need to give me all of their attention, and the people I met were just lovely passer-byers in my life who didn’t need to be anything more. It was time to let go.

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