Saturday, August 22, 2009

When life throws you lemons...

Before I had a stroke was faithfully working on my retirement plan. I was on the fast track creating, managing and closing real estate deals all as a part time investor. The plan was working when BOOM, out of the blue a stroke during my sleep. That was three years ago. Lemons...

I've lived in California for over ten years now and gave up the home where my parents brought me home from Flushing General hospital to a relative who wanted to branch out on their own. It all worked out until recently, As a landlord I chose to give them that freedom, left forty years of personal items behind for them to respect, pack away and leave alone, until I figured out the next step. Well today I received a call that they could no longer live in my home for various reasons. Rather than telling me this months ago when, I would have been prepared to pack, market, and sell my memories. Now today only four hours ago I found out that 20% of my personal items were either given away to [without my consent] to Goodwill, to various members of their immediate family or tossed in the trash. Lemons...

How does one make lemonade from this situation? I'm in the moment with this debacle so ?I have no witty answers.

My higher self says to let go the things over which I have no control. What's gone is gone. But my lower self wants actual blood and tears.

Arguing over what should have been done only hurts the feelings of everyone involved. Saying things including "shoulda, woulda, coulda" creates resentment and division among relationships that were created over forty years ago. What was my hand in all of this?

Are people more important than things?

Think about it. Don't just read this without thinking of your own life. What if someone that you know deliberately tossed away, photos, negatives, and other family heirlooms to make room for their stuff because you took too long to figure it out? I'm talking about wedding, graduation, births, and anniversary photos, grandma's china, aunties furniture, prom dress, finger paintings from kindergarten that you created. Lemons...

Really what would you do? Do you plot revenge? Think diabolically of ways to bring misery into their lives? Think of was to harm them? Concoct tears to show grief and then spew out hurtful things that would bring them to the brink? We can get emotional over THINGS. Let's be honest sometimes it's justified. When do we realize that people are more important?

We tend to want to deal with experienced/mature people for everything. How do these people get that experience/maturity that we seek? Employment, personal relationships, physicians, chefs. Someone somewhere knows nothing- you teach them stuff and now they know stuff. Well after that someone has to be the first employer, first friend, first lover, the first person to try a new restaurant. Apply it to anything.

The human experience can be tough. Aging, coping, moving on. Humans are flawed. GROSSLY FLAWED. All of us. Do we just rise above the small stuff and thank God [big "G"] that we have life and the chance to start from scratch?

Today I'm posing the question. Again, I have no answers. I'm figuring this stuff out moment by moment. Although photos can be considered a deal breaker!

So what is the recipe for making lemonade?

The stroke: It could have killed me but it didn't. I obviously have my cognition, independence, and sense of humor.

Real estate: I had to sell one property to stop some financial hemorrhaging. I did that.
My prior vacancies rented. Hurray.
Dislodged and moved back to my first home purchase rather than having rent again.

[By no means is this a "look how smart I am" blog. I'm genuinely upset about today's news.]

Today's news: Stay tuned! If nothing else it'll be an interesting story.


  1. This is a tough one. I feel for you. I'm not one who is big on possessions, but personal mementos- that's another story. I'm bummed that you lost those irreplaceable items that were part of your history. I'd be doing some serious pouting. Unfortunately, I don't have any good advice on how to handle the situation with your relative, especially not knowing how close you are to them or if you even WANT to remain close to them at this point...but I'd be seriously questioning their lack of good judgment and common decency in not contacting you first before doling out your possessions..

  2. * Popping in from SITS

    I totally feel for you in this situation and yes we as people are flawed by our emotions and just learning to let go and move on. I struggle with that one myself. (Let go & let god!) I have no answer for you because I'd be angry, and I hold grudges. I'm working on that one too! Lol

    However, it is great that you can look back and say I'm a survivor of a stroke and it could have been worse. I mean, we as people should try not to sweat the small stuff. Not calling your situation small by any means just in comparrison to being alive and surviving something dramatic. When we leave this earth we can't take any materialistic things with us! That's how I look at it! Sometimes, I get stressed out over something materialistic and I have to calm down and say if I didn't wake up tomorrow morning what good would it be to me.

    However, I do hope you find a way to deal with your emotions and your relative and I hope you can find another renter and not have to pick up your life and move due to your relatives lack of communicating with you. Hugs! This too shall pass! :-)

  3. Wow, SOL, I hope everything works out. Our struggles give us experience, "tempered by the fire" as I like to call it. I send my best prayers and wishes to you and to majorly clueless relatives.

    Thank you for your comment on my blog, You are Amazing!!

  4. Wow! Very inspiring blog! And no doubt, humans are definitely flawed. Keep on trucking!

  5. I think with all the challenge, you have all the answers your gut is to just rage... but your heart, because of it all says it will be fine... Things that you may have forgotten about (photos aunties photos and such) are remembered because someone did something... but(the stuff) would have probably still been there waiting for a decision! I guess the whole point in the end is it is just stuff and you can't take it with you.. but if you value the relationship with the person more than the stuff, you chock it up to a loss and keep moving.

  6. I'd be furious I must say. Stuff is stuff but personal items like photographs? Devastating. Logic dictates that they're gone and nothing is to be gained by dwelling on it but still, it doesn't stop you feeling angry at someone's crass thoughtlessness.

    You raise an interesting point about our dealings with others in life. I think we do automatically assume others are at least in the same ball park as us when it comes to what is the right and wrong thing to do, the correct way to behave etc. Sadly, as you've found out, that is not always true. Moral of story? I'm not too sure actually! I hate to say it but maybe my ultra-cynical mother was right after all when she told me: 'In life, when dealing with others, expect nothing. That way you may occasionally be pleasantly surprised.'

  7. My son and I suffered an apt fire back in 2006 and we lost so much...Pictures of him when he was a baby, my poetry that I'd written since I was 7, my high school graduation book with photos...I completely understand how you feel! Sometimes I still hurt over those things,but they're gone. I wonder why I had to lose those things, but in the big scheme of things, they're still hurts sometimes though...

  8. Sometimes people are just so caught up in themselves. That was really selfish, but you know there's not much you can do to retrieve those things now. You have to find a way to make your peace with the lost items.

    And somehow, you're gonna have to figure out exactly what you want to say to that relative. No doubt they're expecting drama, and probably have a chip on their shoulder waiting for you to knock it off. Careful...

    Sorry to hear about your loss.
    Stopping by from SITS.

  9. Hey lady! Thank you for your witty comment! I agree with you. I have lost two babies, two, and well, it is so hard to make lemons out of that situation, but I have...If I had two babies right now I would not be attending law school, we would not have planned our cruise in January, we would not be able to spend money on whatever we lemons...



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