Sunday, May 25, 2008

Exceptional Life?

You may have expected this to be about something totally different. Well it’s actually about the guilt we all put upon ourselves and how we chose to live our life.

From the age of 17, I worked 6 days per week. There were times I had a 40 hour job at the travel agency and worked as a waitress at an upscale restaurant in the evenings and proceeded to lease apartments on the weekends.

You might say I have always been motivated to be a success in life. Unfortunately my idea of success was equated to the dollar sign. After all, isn’t that the most common measurement of success?

When you meet a person to date here is the list of questions from family and friends:

1. What does he/she do for a living?
2. What kind of car do they drive?
3. What college did they attend? Degree?

Why isn’t the first question about the quality of person they are, their family relationships, how they treat you? We are all guilty of this. We immediately think if the potential mate is financially successful then life will be “rich” for our loved one.

As I stated in a response to my mom in an earlier blog, the happiest memories we (in my family) share are the ones where we were barely getting by. Like the time our electricity got turned off and my older brother ran an extension cord to the neighbor’s garage so we could have “some” power. Unbeknownst the neighbor of course!

There was also a Christmas where we had no tree and our neighbors had these little bushes lining the fence line that looked like Christmas trees to us. So my younger brothers and I figured we could pull branches off each bush, tie them together, and form a Christmas tree. So we did! Of course we had to do this under the cover of night so we wouldn’t get caught. Imagine our surprise (and mainly our neighbors) when daylight came and they had a dozen half stripped bushes! When mom came home from her second job that night she cried. We were ecstatic about our surprise and couldn’t understand the tears. She thought it was priceless.

I could go on for hours but you see where this is leading. The time you spend together as a family is priceless. What good is a fat bank account if you have no memories in that all important bank? After years of missing birthdays, graduations, funerals, holidays, and all kinds of family functions, I learned that the money comes and goes. It doesn’t last half as long as the Christmas tree memory. You almost always end up feeling guilty because of the money. Let me help ya out with some of my guilt bags:

1. Didn’t save any of the money I gave up family time to earn.
2. Feel guilt about the frivolous things I buy with the money.
3. I now have to earn more to pay for the lifestyle I am in.
4. I don’t get to enjoy my wonderful country life because of the work load.
5. I don’t spend nearly enough time with my wonderful husband.
6. Our relatives (other than immediate family) are almost strangers.

One of my new found favorite blogs was/is (something) --- Tracks. By Erica.
She talked about dumpster diving. (Erica I need your link, your profile is locked).
Before ya go off thinking I’m totally hopeless~ I did have Erica’s link on my blog and when I changed to the new format I lost some of my content! I am sick!

Anyway, I am intrigued by the possibility of dumpster diving. Not necessarily the food part but I have seen department stores demolishing old fixtures and putting them in a crusher. Also book departments will throw away paperback books for lack of a better way to dispose of them. They tear off the top cover and trash the book. It would be so cool to get those books and donate them to women’s shelters, homeless shelters, hospitals, VA’s, etc. I realize that’s not fair to the artist but these people wouldn’t be buying the books anyway! (my rational) hehehehe

I am a true junk-a-holic. I still dream of owning a huge warehouse full of discarded items that people can barter for. Think of wanting to build a dog house and bringing in your old lawn mower for some lumber and shingles. I swear it would be so rewarding.

I’m taking baby steps towards unlocking the rusty locks that hold me back from living a more simple and humble life. I have got to retrain my brain that giving up the SUV, nice clothes, jewelry, etc. does not make one less rich.

On my long drives home from work in the evenings I pass parks in the poorer part of town. Parked in the parking lot are 10 year old cars and trucks. I often see families sharing a bucket of chicken, having a cook out, or even a birthday party. I wonder which one of us has the more abundant life?