Growing up in Philadelphia, where you get the full thrust of all four seasons, we (my sister and I) were not allowed to touch the house thermostat.
We didn’t have a central air system. So, in the summer we employed one window unit air conditioner.
When the AC was set up downstairs and you walked upstairs, you could feel the heat hit you as soon as you were out of the range of the cool air.
I had a big fan in my bedroom for the humid nights.
I don’t mind being hot, though, as much as I’m bothered by uncomfortable cold. So the winters could be tough.
Looking back, I know now that my parents adjusted the heat not based on their personal comfort levels — but on how high the gas bill would be.
Just know this equation: Old house + old furnace = inefficient heating + high utility bills.
I later learned that a $400+ gas bill wasn’t out of the ordinary in the Philadelphia winter. And I couldn’t complain about the cold; I wasn’t paying any bills.
My parents never forgot to turn the heat down when we left the house. And they were careful about ever turning it up.
I remember one time complaining to my mother that it was cold in the house — even colder than I was used to tolerating.
It wasn’t unusual to be told to put on a sweater, in the house, in the winter when I felt cold. On this day, though, I already had a sweater on.
Mom instructed me to turn up the thermostat to 68 degrees.
I’m in Miami now. “Winter” means maybe two weeks of overnight low temperatures in the 50s, if that.
I still use the heat. And the temp, cool or heat, is never lower than 75.
It was 66 degrees outside in the morning the other day. After taking a morning walk, I put the heat on, at 78 degrees.
It felt good. Nice and toasty.
I remember when Anna and I first moved in together and I wanted to turn on the heat one cool night. She couldn’t believe it. She told me to, as my parents used to, to put on long pants and maybe a hoodie if I was cold.
I told her that I’d done that for 18+ years as a kid, and I wasn’t wearing a damn hoodie in my own home — we’d be turning up the heat as high as it needed to be for us to feel comfortable.
We’ll pay the bill (much lower with a modern central system, the fact that it’s not freezing outside, and no competition for resources — who else in the neighborhood has their heat on besides us?).
Life is not meant to be a struggle.
We’re not meant to have to always adjust ourselves to situations and endure inconveniences, however small.
We can shape and mold our lives into the form we want them to be — whatever that may cost. If you’re cold in your house, you can turn the heat on instead of grabbing a sweater.
And here’s the thing: that “cost” is usually not that high! The electricity bill here, which includes everything we use, has never surpassed $125 (and it’s usually less than half of that).
But our self-talk and a lifetime of conditioning makes us believe that we’re supposed to just deal with things that are less than ideal, and to be grateful for them — rather than asking how we can rearrange an environment to our liking.But our self-talk and a lifetime of conditioning makes us believe that we’re supposed to just deal with things that are less than ideal, and to be grateful for them — rather than asking how we can rearrange an environment to our liking. Click To Tweet
The life you want is not about your ability to pay a gas bill or how comfortable you are when the temperature drops.
It’s about how willing you are to arrange things to your liking. It’s about the demands you’re willing to make of yourself, the questions you’re willing to ask yourself, and what you’re willing to do about the answers.
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Make sure to take the following MasterClasses related to this very topic —
#1248: A Message For The Struggling Entrepreneur…
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#1179: How To Play Life On Offense
#995: The “Middle Class” Of Life Is Disappearing
#808: How To Stop Playing Life Scared
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