What’s Relevant in San Antonio
If I could do it over again, I would live minimally. The urban renewal phenomenon is really intriguing to me.
It’s all about sizing down to what we need rather than what we think we need because of a mindset that started when we were mere children.
Here are some of the things I would (will) do:
Live from one closet rather than three —
Most women, and perhaps some men, will agree that changing closets out every season is a pain in the neck. We’re usually transferring clothes back and forth, half of which we don’t wear anymore. Of course, “we don’t have a thing to wear” multiple times a year, so what do we do? Go and buy more clothes to add to our already over-filled closets. Same goes for shoes. Half the shoes I have lined up in my closet I never wear, and I’ve been on a shoe-buying spree because I think I need more. There’s no place to put them!
Exist with only two toothbrushes – an electric and a manual — I challenge you to count the number you have in that bathroom drawer that seems to collect “stuff.” I took on the challenge myself. I had six. No way was I going to use them. Now they are gone!
Get rid of all the dishes that will never be used — If I’m living minimally, I will definitely not be entertaining as many as 24 people at any one time. So why must I have two 12-place settings of dishes, multiple sets of flatware and glasses/cups galore? If I should have more than six people over, which would be doubtful, paper and plastic work nicely.
Trash everything in cabinets and drawers that I don’t use — Most of us have bottles and cans that get pushed to the back of the shelf and nestle there forever. They’ll never be used; some may even be toxic they’re so old.
Do you get the picture? The list can go on and on. I live in a nice roomy condo, but I bet I could live somewhere that has half the square footage. If I could do it over again, I would seriously consider moving to an apartment located at or around The Pearl.
A little history first. In 2004 Mark Wittig asked me if I would consider moving my office into his building on Broadway at Josephine. My initial reaction was “no,” as I really considered that part of town a bit seedy. In 10 years, that area has been totally revitalized and is now what I consider the “trendy” part of town. In my opinion, it really started with the Silver Ventures’ multi-use development of Pearl Brewery. I recall taking a tour of the brewery in the very beginning and hearing all about the plans. The vision shared with me was far beyond my comprehension. The place was atrocious. I’ve watched the transformation of an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan, which many will agree is an amazing landmark in San Antonio.
Working in the neighborhood has been a reawakening experience. New office buildings have been built, the famous ButterKrust Bakery building has become an upscale office building. The Children’s Museum is relocating from downtown to the neighborhood. But most appealing to me in my living minimally dream is the number of housing opportunities in the area. It’s mind-boggling!
I sought statistics from my friend Guyla Sineni of United Commercial Realty. She brokers the retail property at The Pearl. I’ll share a few stats I find quite interesting. There are four major apartment projects within a half-mile radius of The Pearl:
The Pearl Residential property – 293 units
1221 Broadway – 243 units
The Mosaic – 115 units
1800 Broadway – 200 units
That equals 851 residential units! And I understand they are going fast. I actually looked at one and was extremely impressed. Of course, most of what I have would not fit, so I would have to downsize dramatically. Is that so bad?
Friend Barbara Banker and I ventured down to the The Pearl’s Farmers Market one recent Saturday morning. It was a memorable experience! Thousands of people (and dogs) were meandering and just living the life. The ambiance was unstressed, healthful and friendly. Strangers visited with strangers. People languished in the present and didn’t fret about the past or the future. It was, simply put, a pure unadulterated experience.
The neighborhood is fast becoming an arts mecca. Several of our best museums are within a stone’s throw of this area. I love the fact that one can enjoy the cultural arts so conveniently. I recently went to an outdoor French theater presentation at San Antonio Museum of Art. Sitting under the stars, eating popcorn and watching French movies — a perfect way to escape.
So, after all my verbosity, exactly where am I going? If I could do it over again, this is the area where I woiuld most definitely consider living. I would be a part of that society by getting involved in what’s happening. I would spend more time at the Local Coffee enjoying the activity that was happening around me. I would eat and shop within the confines of my community. I would spend more time in the outdoors among people rather than retreating to my private air-conditioned sanctum. I would love life and people. I would be totally fulfilled as a human being.
Let me end by saying I’ve focused on The Pearl area because it is what I know and have come to love. There are many other renewal development projects taking place in San Antonio and elsewhere. Downtown San Antonio is also becoming a really popular area for people who are downsizing. Suburban life is wonderful, but urban life is rapidly becoming the “in” way to live!