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Want to Renegotiate Your Lease on Life?


May be you are totally cool with your lease on life and have zero interest in renegotiating your lease. If so, right on. You are definitely one of the lucky ones. It’s also possible that you think you own your life and are not reduced to leasing or even worse, certainly not to being just a renter. I suspect you also have the perfect answer when asked how many of you it would take to put in a lightbulb. You know don’t you? Sure you do. It would only take one of you. You could just hold the lightbulb and the world would revolve around you.

I’m sorry. I know that’s not you. I just tossed that in there to put off any of those high-and-mighty types who might have unintentionally pressed play and started listening in on our conversation. They think they are above the rest of us. You know the type. They aren’t above anyone but sure think they are. They also think they are entitled and don’t know that they are only leasing the space they have among us and can have their lease canceled without notice at any time. But we know, we totally get it. So let’s talk about our leases.

What are the terms of our lease on life? Yes, there are always terms. The space each of us occupies is by contract only and it’s important for us to know the terms of our lease, terms of our contract, for if we don’t hold up our end of the contract, we will sooner or later get evicted – an unfortunate outcome indeed. Let’s give some thought to just what the terms of our contract to get to live among the rest of us actually are.

Our lease on life has both basic and premium provisions. Here is the catch. The basic provisions apply to each of us and are not negotiable. They spell out what is expected of us. Failure to comply gets us evicted from our place and usually gets us downgraded. Conversely, the premium provisions are the benefits we get from our place in the scheme of things and are usually at least somewhat negotiable but can be changed or taken away without notice or negotiation. We are held firmly to the basic provisions and have to comply. We have some choice about the premium provisions but have to cope with the reality that our lease on life comes with no guarantee whatsoever.

Even so, some premium packages are much safer than others, much closer to a guarantee. Think about it like this. Suppose my place among the rest of us is to watch movies. That is the basic provision in my lease. The premium provision specifies the movies I watch. There is a sub-provision that requires me to actually watch every movie I am given access to. It really is like life, since we also have to actually live through every day we have.

Getting back to the movies, my safest bet with life and the uncertainty that comes with my lease on life says that leasing one movie is safest, especially if I accept a really old movie that everyone else has seen and no one wants. The chance of losing access or having it taken away is near slim to none. Hopefully, I at least get a chance to pick a movie I like, but again there is no guarantee.

But I want more than one old movie to watch. – Stay alert, the fine print starts here. In my one movie space, the basic provisions of my lease only include keeping track of my one movie and making sure that it does not get rendered useless and does not get misplaced or taken away. Sure, it’s boring, tedious and definitely not fulfilling after a while. Even so, my space is reasonably safe and I can certainly handle it over the long hall. You can likely think of a few bad outcomes, but for the most part, my life is pretty safe and predictable.

But would you be okay with a one movie place in life? Me neither. One old movie is not nearly enough. I want to renegotiate my lease on life. I want an upgrade to a better life space.

Here’s the rub. An upgrade in the premium provisions has a corresponding ramp up of the basic lease provisions. Concurrently, the upgrade requires us to take on greater risk. Sticking with the movies, Remembering that we have to watch every movie we choose, selecting more movies requires more time and energy to select and exposes us to more risk of having to watch movies that we hate. Do we stick with what we have and know we can handle or to we take a chance?

Within our life spaces, our options for renegotiating are about more than movies. Do we stay where we are or relocate? Do we keep the job we have or change? Do we stay in our current relationship or move on? Do we exercise more or stick to the couch? Do we eat less or deal with being fat? Do we become more active in our community or just continue letting others do the work and make the decisions? Do we save for that rainy day or do we just hope that it never rains? Do we renegotiate our lease on life knowing that the basic provisions will change and the risk will likely increase or do we settle for the status quo while figuring that things always work out in the long run?

You may be hoping that I have a startling conclusion or helpful advice for you. If so, now would be the time for it. The truth of it is that I don’t know what you should do. What I do know is that if you decide to renegotiate, you should be prepared to manage the changes in the basic provisions or requirements in your lease that will come with your new life space and be ready to take on the increased risk that will unavoidably also show up in your life.

Let me share a little riddle before I leave you. If there are two flies in the kitchen, which one is the cowboy? … … … It’s the one that is at home on the range.

If you plan to renegotiate your lease on life, just be sure you are comfortable with settling into your new home on the range, knowing that things can heat up without notice.