kitchen utensils in container with cutting boards

Not long before we divorced, my husband and I remodeled our kitchen and it became a dream place to be. I bought every gadget and new dishes. The colors all matched. The countertop was pristine, and it was mine. Guests would come over and offer to help. “No, that’s OK,” I would say as the captain of my own ship. Every two weeks, the cleaning lady and I would scrub and polish. I was in heaven!

Fast forward three years and I am alone in my home. I didn’t want to leave my newly remodeled home and decided to get a roommate. Then one day, my roommate decided to make a large pot of homemade soup. She bought lots of stuff, chopped, sliced, quartered, and generally made a mess. 


I was horrified!  I sat on the stool across the counter from her. My teeth clenched as she used my costly Henckel knives. Waste accumulated in the sink. She spilled a thing or two. She stirred the soup and left the spoon dripping on the counter. I couldn’t stand it. I bit my tongue, clenched my jaw, and wrung my hands. After all, this was a shared living situation, and she had full kitchen privileges. This was my stuff and she was misusing it. She moved the canisters out of the way so she could work. I poured a glass of wine and watched. I don’t quite remember, but maybe I commented a time or two.

Eventually, the soup was done, the trash was taken out, the counter was cleaned, the disposal was run, and the knives were back in place. I survived. She survived my deeply suppressed wrath.

I have a big house and have filled it with roommates over the past eight years. One roommate had raised six children and took over the kitchen almost every evening. She cooked. I sat on the stool and she would take out a plate, fill it, and pass it over, “Here’s your dinner.” Another roommate had a bad habit of breaking things. She always replaced the item but sometimes it didn’t quite match. Another roommate fried a lot of her food, and the grease got on the cabinets and stove hood. I started buying cheap stuff, and accumulating those plastic containers that stuff comes in.

A few of the dishes have been broken. There are some chips here and there. The knives need sharpening. The pots and pans are well used. The cleaning lady still scrubs the kitchen every two weeks. It’s still pretty, but it is just stuff.

Will I remember this stuff? No. I will remember the times we got together and did a group dinner, everybody working on something to contribute to the meal and taking turns at the stove. I will remember how often someone offered me a slice or a serving. There are the great cookies that someone made for Christmas and the birthday parties. I will remember the new foods that someone cooked that I had never tried before and the conversations and laughter over dinner. I will remember how quickly a group of women can clean up after a dinner party!

Now, I look at my wonderful stuff in the kitchen, and realized that it doesn’t matter if all the silverware doesn’t match. I will remember the friends who came over and shared a meal with us. I continue to enjoy the stuff and I’m glad to have it, but it is not the stuff that matters any more. 

It’s a nice way to approach life.

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About The Author

Bonnie Moore's picture

After a 2008 divorce left Bonnie Moore living alone in a newly remodeled five-bedroom home, she searched for and found four great roommates to fill the empty bedrooms. The experience was so transformational that Moore embarked on a new career dedicated to helping 50+ adults ease their way into shared living. As founder of Golden Girls Network, she has written a book titled How to Start a Golden Girls Home and teaches classes on the same topic.  For more information about Bonnie, please visit You can also join her on Facebook and Twitter @GoldenGirlsNet.

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