Price of everything, value of nothing
Oscar Wilde once wrote something about people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. I was younger when I first heard the quote and didn’t fully appreciate its accuracy. In today’s increasingly materialist world it certainly rings true.
The last time I was at my family’s holiday house by the beach a friend came over to drink wine in the sun. She took it upon herself to offer advice about how she thought the house could be renovated and its market value increased.
The ideas ranged from bi-fold doors to completely renovating the kitchen to splashing out on new furniture. She meant well but I took umbrage.
For me, the point of a holiday house is that it’s a place to unwind.
The age of the furniture and the fact that everything about the house belongs to another decade is immaterial.
In the classic Australian film, ‘‘The Castle’’, the family have a holiday house in Bonnie Doon.
Darryl Kerrigan, the lead character proudly proclaims ‘‘how’s the serenity’’ whenever he’s there.
It says it all and clearly the serenity he was talking about had nothing to do with the property’s value.
There’s a word in te reo that’s not easy to translate into English. That word is turangawaewae.
The literal definition is the place your feet stand, but it’s generally used to refer to the place where you feel you belong, the place that has your heart.
That is what the beach house has been to me for as long as I can remember.
It’s where I’ve laughed and cried throughout my life. It’s where I’ve felt both great joy and immense sadness.
It’s a place I think of with love. In the winter the fire goes on and hearty meals are cooked. In the summer, it’s salads and steaks.
We can walk to the beach at one of end of the street.
If we walk to the other end of the street and around the corner there’s some shops.
What matters of course is the fish and chip shop and the dairy that sells ice cream.
I’m the first to admit that a holiday house is a luxury most of the population don’t have.
But my family is lucky enough to have a beach house and we love it, just the way it is.
We don’t want a house that could feature in House &
We could make numerous changes but then it wouldn’t have the same vibe.
No matter how much you spend on furniture and kitchen designers, you can’t buy that feeling of belonging. Something is either your turangawaewae or it is not. It comes from history and emotion not a shopping catalogue.
For us it’s an idyllic place to enjoy long weekends and summer holidays.
I never think about the market value or the lack of bifold doors. It’s about peace and tranquillity, and memories.
You can’t put a price on that but it’s incredibly valuable.
What’s your turangawaewae? ❚ Queenstown’s Single Girl is looking for true love. Contact her via firstname.lastname@example.org
We don’t want a house that could feature in House & Garden.