A trip to New England for this life-long Westerner inspired some serious reflection on the merging of old and new; and the ways we need to adapt to meet the times.

The East was, of course, steeped in history long before our coast was beheld by European eyes. And much of their landscape reflects that. History everywhere: the Boston tea party, Paul Revere’s ride, the birthplace of the American revolution, historic churches, meeting places, and covered bridges.

The houses are old, having been reno’d repeatedly, foundations still of stone. If there’s a bit of sagging here and there, so be it. Squeaky floors?  Of course! But they’re functional and homey.

I can’t remember seeing one new house under construction.

But amidst all that, there is the new. Downtown Boston—historic buildings everywhere interspersed with glass-clad sky-scrapers. A strange but practical blending of old and new.

And then there were the historical maps of the growth of the Boston peninsula. You read that right: the growth of the peninsula, not just the growth of the city. Back in the 17th century, it was only about half the size it is now, barely attached to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. But Boston needed more space to grow. So they just filled in the sea, and built further—and further—and further. The latest big skyscraper, the Hancock Tower, sits on land that was well into the Charles River estuary not that long ago.

It’s a historical lesson that one can apply to life. How do we respond when we face obstacles? Do we limit ourselves by the circumstances? Or do we find creative ways to change the circumstances? Who’d have thought back in the seventeenth century the Boston peninsula would gradually swallow up the ocean around it?

It’s called expanding one’s context, and it’s a dominant theme among those seriously trying to get ahead in their financial lives. As I have heard on more than one occasion: When facing a challenge, the question should not be: Can this be done? but How can this be done? It may not involve building a peninsula, but it may involve expanding your own figurative “island”.

At Fraser Valley Rent 2 Own, we specialize in finding creative ways around the challenges many people face in becoming homeowners. No two deals are alike. And while we have a template, it is adaptable to the situation and to the changing times. We like to ask the question, How can this be done? Sometimes we just need to expand our context, or help a client expand theirs.