My husband, Peter, and I are headed out to Mexico again, and before we do, I thought it was a good time of year to check in with some folks I care about, to see how 2024 had been treating them so far.
First, I had dinner with my oldest friend, Andrew. He told me about his mother, who lives alone and has been feeling her 92 years. Her activities are becoming more limited, and she may move into a smaller place. She’s figuring out what she is still able to do, and how much is enough.
Andrew prepares taxes, and so this is about the last chance I would get to see him in three months, even if I were not leaving for Mexico. He will be working long hours, making most of the money he makes in the year in a short time, and still caring for his mom.
“Take care of yourself!” I say because Andrew is single, and I worry he won’t get enough rest. I worry he will eat poorly.
“I do!” he insists. I don’t know if this is true. But I hope he gets enough food and sleep and sunshine during this season of cold and gray and taxes.
Then I had lunch with Dane, the cousin who is closest in age to me. This is quite a distinction, because I have 36 cousins. Dane is good about calling me up when he is nearby so we can have lunch. He didn’t have a lot of news. Work was going as well as could be expected. He’d had two flat tires hauling a trailer across the country. Dane’s sister had successfully nagged him into scheduling a physical and making a will.
“You need to have regular physicals!” I told him.
“I know. I’ve got one scheduled.”
I did not ask how long it had been since his last one.
“I’m getting my teeth cleaned, too,” he added, as if he read my thoughts.
I was glad to hear he was taking care of himself (with his sister’s urging). Then Dane said something unexpected.
“I realized the other day how unimportant money is to me.”
This was a surprising thing for him to say. Dane works hard for his money. He gets up before the sun and does a lot of hard labor and drives a trailer in adverse weather. He’s a guy who paid off his mortgage early, doesn’t buy new furniture and doesn’t take a lot of vacations.
“I found a $20 bill on the sidewalk. I picked it up, and it was wrapped around two $100 bills.”
“Wow. Any idea where it came from?”
“No idea. I kept it, but I felt bad. Someone was missing a lot of money and I just felt bad there was no way of getting it back to them.”
I looked at my cousin. Like me, he was getting older. Like me, he had a pretty good life. “It’s good to have enough, isn’t it?” I said.
Dane nodded. Dane is happy with what he has, and he has enough.
Peter and I are leaving for Mexico soon. We’ll be staying in our little one-bedroom apartment, and I’ll be writing at my little green Formica desk. It’s not the fanciest place. It’s nowhere near as nice as the homes of most of our friends. But every night our landlord, Jorge, will greet us and the colorful suns hanging from the walls around us will smile at us and we will know we have everything we need. We have more than enough.
Till next time,