Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Spiffing Up the Yard – the Lawn as Metaphor

A key step in my plans to downsize the house after I retire is to get the outside looking its best. We all know the two mantras of every real estate agent: “location, location, location” and “curb appeal.” I selected our home back in 1992 with location in mind, and the neighborhood has held up nicely. I wish I could say as much for our yard.

Last fall I had major repairs made to the house’s exterior and had it painted. This summer I’ve been working on spiffing up the yard. I have a service that does weed and grub control, liming, etc. I just contracted to have them aerate the lawn and over-seed it in October.

As I push the mower around, I can feel that the terrain is treacherous. There are lumps and bumps under my feet. It looks like a training ground for baby gophers. There are no actual holes, but some of the indentations are almost as dangerous.

As I made the decision that my lawn needs a wider array of professional services, it occurred to me that it’s a metaphor for our hair as we age. Overall, it’s a lot thinner than it was in years past. Like my husband’s head these days, it has a lot of bald spots. The crabgrass reminds me of my own hair on many occasions—wild and out of control and sticking up in all directions. Large portions of it still have good color, but some areas are so faded, they’re almost colorless.

As I mulled over this metaphor and looked around the entire yard, I started thinking about the rest of our bodies as we approach retirement. The sidewalks, with cracks and discolorations here and there, were suddenly like skin in areas exposed to years of sun. I saw small clumps of grass/hair sprouting in places they don’t belong and bushes that could use trimming.

Who would have thought than an assessment of my house’s curb appeal could lead to a cold, hard look into the mirror of self-reflection? That’s OK. There are professionals out there who offer services that can improve MY curb appeal, too.

Note to self: increase ‘Personal Expenses” line in retirement budget.

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