Today I was reflecting on the famous Bob Dylan song ‘The times they are a changin’ when I was asked to make numerous changes to a new rental property that we have acquired. The building was built in the 1970s and hasn’t been renovated since.
Old tiling that has stood the test of time, solid double brick walls, plasterboard that was more than 10 millimetres thick. Things seem to be made to last, until now that is, where I am requested to modernise the appearance and update the fittings.
One of the alterations that the property manager has advised I change is the hot water unit. It is a 50 litre unit which the plumber estimates will only disperse enough hot water to last a person five minutes. Oddly enough this is an apartment that has been built to house 3 and possibly 4 people. My question is how have the occupants spent the past 45 years showering in the past?
The hot water unit at my house contains around 300 litres. I have worked out that it costs around about $12 a week the heat. We often run out of water as the kids like a morning shower and sometimes an evening bath. When we travelled around the world for 4 months we rented out our house for a year. In our absence the tenants requested a high-flow showerhead to replace the frugal water saving feature. Now the unit gushes out water to whoever can twist a tap.
I remember as a child having a 30 cm television with 4 channels. Now my own children watch a 60 inch unit and have access to 20 or more. I fondly recall our once a year family outing to an All-You-Can-Eat restaurant where each family member felt nauseous because we consumed so much. Maybe you can remember waiting for almost a year or more for a movie to arrive from on video tape?
It amazes me that most family units only 3 or 4 decades ago were content to live in 10 square homes. Nowadays people in Australia and other Western nations aspire to have homes of 25 squares or more. There is no way we would put up with a 50 litre hot water unit in such an establishment. We can no longer stand freeze-dried coffee anymore and need expensive machines to disperse water through freshly roasted beans.
Where am I going with this post you might ask? The title was ‘The times they are a changin’. The above reflections might not be representative of you whatsoever, so please don’t take offence. I think, however, you would agree that you know plenty of people in society where this post paints an accurate portrayal. Possibly it shows the root cause for the bad debt that many have incurred? When I moved into a new home with Hayley as a couple of young twenties, we turned down numerous offers of furniture and white goods as it wouldn’t look modern enough for our tastes. Out came the credit card and in came the lesson it taught us about debt.
Indeed that little hot water unit inspired a lot of thought about how much has changed. We seem to have so much compared to previous generations yet still desire more. We seem to have an insatiable appetite for the latest and the greatest. While we definitely have a higher comparative standard of living, I believe we need to celebrate what we have. There is nothing wrong with investments or acquiring assets, but we all need to remember to show gratitude for the blessings that each of us have.