Woman with moving boxes
December 15, 2023

Are you renting or owning in your life?

By Keith Casebolt

One cornerstone of a balanced life is ownership.   

Housing prices and interest rates are in the news a lot right now. It is challenging for new buyers to find anything they can afford to own. 

I started thinking about how this relates to my life. Am I renting my life or owning it? It sounds ridiculous even to say such a thing. 

Last night, I was reading a book titled “Thank You for Being Late,” which talks about the rapid pace of change in the world. The author Thomas Friedman said that we will all have to take ownership of our continuing education in the future. To keep up, we will have to be lifelong learners. The skills and knowledge we learned a few years ago will become outdated quickly. He then shared this quote:   

“In the history of the world, no one has ever washed a rented car.” 

I laughed and then started assessing. Am I renting or owning? 

When I take ownership of my life, I choose to be fully present with what is going on. I show up fully physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I share my perspective. I employ the proper use of my personal power. 

When I am renting my life, most of my problems are someone else’s issues. Roof leaking? Not my problem! Call the landlord. Relationships not working? They are doing that, not me. I’ll wait to see if they get around to fixing it. And in the meantime, I will hold back, criticize, and feel sorry for myself. And I will refuse to understand the impact those behaviors are creating in my relationships. I’m speaking from experience here, and I can say I have never seen my relationships improve when I play the passive victim. 

Ownership is hard. If I’m the owner of my life, I own the role I play in everything that happens. That is often not fun. However, it can also be invigorating. I become more powerful when I see myself as having choices. When I’m the owner, I wash the car because I like caring for it. And it’s not something I “have to” do; it’s something I want to do. 

The more I own my life, showing up fully, the more vibrant it becomes. Colors are brighter. I am more interested in what is happening and the people in my life. My self-respect grows. I am more confident I can meet life’s challenges. I have more energy. I connect with people. 

So how about it? Renting or owning? The choice is yours. 

Keith Casebolt is CEO of Medford’s Medical Eye Center. He and co-facilitator Shelby Wanser lead WellBeing, the first workshop in The Learning Well’s core growth series, in January 2024. 

Leave a Reply

  1. I really enjoyed your article Keith. Thank you. I love the metaphor! Owning our lives, like owning a home is a privilege and it takes paying attention to maintain the integrity of a home and, not surprisingly our lives. Well done.

  2. Thank you, that gives me fresh energy to look at what I’m doing and not doing that contributes to the lack of satisfaction I have in some of my relationships.