I am very happy with my life. But sometimes, I wonder what would’ve happened if I’d’ stayed in my corporate job instead of quitting to go back to school, etc.

Usually, I wonder that when I see a friend retiring with a healthy income, or visit someone who has a beautiful home, the kind that two professional-level incomes can buy. Gee, I would’ve had a house like that … but I know that house isn’t really what I want. It’s just a passing thought.

In fact, doesn’t AA say, “If you want to know what someone really wants, look at what they have?”

It’s striking me now because of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey. I know several women in their 60s (ok, one’s in her 50s, 4 in 60s, one in 70s) who live in Texas, in lovely homes, and who may lose those homes due to flooding. An “act of God” kind of flooding; that no one could have predicted. As the National Weather Service is saying, “Unprecedented.”

Of course, there are 100s of 1,000s more. These ladies are special because they are People I Know.

Also, this same week, I see a relative struggling, even though he has a solid job and lovely home. Struggling to find more money somehow, to keep up with bills. He didn’t do anything wrong. He bought real estate when all the financial gurus were telling everyone to buy real estate.

So my “sometimes I wonder” is better phrased as “thank God I didn’t.”

The lesson I take, from this and from everything that’s happened since … well, since the 80s, as I live in Southern California and have seen bright little bursts of housing bubbles, tech bubbles, you-name-it bubbles, is that there is no safe and secure path. None! It’s a chimera.

Remember the Three Little Pigs? I never liked that story. But the moral was that if you worked hard and spent a longer time laboring than anyone else, and invested in the best materials and never cut corners, You Will Be Safe.

And look, life keeps showing us over and over that it’s just not true. Brick houses flood or go into foreclosure just as surely as straw houses. One path might keep you safe from one disaster, but nothing will keep you safe, always, period.

At least we don’t have to worry about invading hoards riding over the hill to steal our food and families, right? Because up until a century or two ago, that was a concern for ordinary people.

I think most of us grow up thinking that the rules won’t change and everything, homes included, will stay the same. Let’s face it: the rules were never more than very loose guidelines and things are constantly changing. Up and down.

So what we’re here for clearly can’t be to build a nice little castle and hold onto it. What are we here for? No idea. Pick a reason that works for you, for now.

Only for now. Because chances are that reason’ll change too.

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