Living the high life (with imagination)

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mark at private jetYesterday afternoon, I “flew” to Toronto from Ottawa to capture the Ontario Home Builders Association Awards of Distinction Gala at a private aviation hangar in Toronto. Just a few hours earlier, in Ottawa, the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association celebrated its 60th anniversary, featuring Kevin O’Leary, star of CBC’s Dragons’ Den, one of Canada’s most successful capitalists.

Yes . . . that is me, in a Maserati, next to a private jet.  Of course, neither the plane nor car are mine, and I drove to Toronto — though the Ontario Provincial Police might have thought differently if they clocked my speed (though I won’t admit to doing anything that bad.)

This is the stuff of living richly without squandering money.  My rental car (and a couple nights hotel) will be reimbursed by Construction Specifications Canada where I am attending a national board of directors meeting as a fill-in for the Ottawa director who couldn’t attend.  When I realized I could travel to Toronto on the cheap, I phoned the OHBA and asked if I could obtain a last-minute media pass for the awards gala.  OHBA staff, knowing that the Ottawa association would be winning the award, decided it would, indeed, be a good idea for the publisher responsible for the GOHBA Impact! newsletter to attend.  The association set up the awards event in the private aviation hangar and rented the necessary props — this is in place of the association’s annual convention, because of a decision to replace the convention this year with a build/aid project in the Dominican Republic. (My family is joining me here tonight — I purchased two relatively inexpensive first class train tickets for them to get to Toronto.)

In his speech, Kevin O’Leary described a recent visit to his father in Switzerland with his son.  When they boarded the commercial plane, Kevin headed for his first class seat while his son went to the back, in economy.  His son asked:  “Why can’t I sit up front with you.”  Kevin responded:  “Because you haven’t made any money yet.”

I smiled at that observation.  I often fly first class, but never actually pay the conventional first class fare.  It is possible, in fact I think healthy, to live well, but frugally.

As for the events — this is the space of relationship-building (and maintaining), communicating, and celebrating.  We can all be wealthy if we allow our minds to enjoy freedom.

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