Nov 24, 2012

Black Friday

Since starting my job in September, I haven't spent any of my money on anything other than groceries and paying down debts. I've been watching Black Friday deals -- not like I can avoid them, since some places literally started advertising them in October -- to catch some good deals on clothes and stuff for my new apartment. But when Friday finally rolled around, I found myself
lacking in any real want for material possessions. I don't have everything, but I'm happy with what I have.

My family is unfortunately very indecisive when it comes to their Christmas wish lists, so I didn't have them to shop for either. (Protip: don't go Black Friday shopping to browse casually. You will get trampled and wait in long lines for what will ultimately not be worth your time, in terms of money.)

So here I am, a quarter century old, not remembering a time when the day after Thanksgiving was spent just being happy with what I have. I can't decide whether that's wonderful because of the overwhelming sense if peace or depressing because the feeling is unfamiliar and I seem to be one of far too few in this mood.

Here's to more days of giving thanks.

Nov 13, 2012

Free time (or lack thereof)

It occurred to me the other day that we, especially as Americans, have less and less "free time." Never mind the fact that we have less vacation time than other first-world countries and our society's addiction to caffeine -- whenever we have spare time, the tendency is to pack it full of "productive" activities. I was just listening to a podcast earlier today about how various medications people have created in an effort to get rid of the need for sleep entirely. Why? Presumably, at least to employers, to work more, but hopefully to have more free time as well.

Sure, people say "TGIF!" at the end of a long work week. But after vacuuming, dishes, laundry and grocery shopping, suddenly an entire weekend is gone. Even breaks and lunch hours are spent on the phone scheduling oil changes or doctor appointments, sorting out bank account issues, paying bills online.

I feel guilty when I spend a day for myself -- curled up in a chair reading a novel, for instance. I wonder if I should be reading a self-help book instead, maybe learn a thing or two about cooking or improving myself otherwise. I think about how many calories I could be burning if I were reading on the treadmill at the gym instead. Suddenly I feel very lazy. The extra time it takes me to get out of my worries and actually into the book makes me feel even more guilty when I reflect later on how long I spent sitting around reading.

I've actually been listening to less music and cramming in more informational podcasts and audiobooks -- there's a prime example of giving up things I enjoy in the name of productivity.

So why do I always feel like I don't have enough time? With life expectancy higher than ever and a wealth of technological conveniences, you would think there would be time to rest. But there's this little nagging feeling in me -- maybe in all Americans, maybe in the human spirit -- that keeps saying "you can do more." Surely it's what fueled great inventors and artists, given motivation and goals for people all over the world.

But is there a point where it becomes a little detrimental? I think I'm trying to find a balance between "reach for the stars" and "don't worry, be happy." I typed "the balance" a second ago and backspaced -- I don't know that there's a perfect balance. I imagine it's different for different people, anyway. Most things seem to be.

I want to be just

--what's the word, motivated? striving? aggressive? no. overachieving? no. I want to be just...

fired up(?)

enough to keep improving, I guess.

Enough to not feel lazy, maybe. Enough to feel like I'm not being left behind, like I'm not wasting potential. It's a tough wire to walk.

Nov 6, 2012

Highly Conceited

Tonight the United States of America elected its first black president for a second term. Gay marriage and recreational marijuana use have been legalized in some states. The first openly-gay US Senator was elected. Facebook, Twitter, every television channel, all erupted and have been covering this election all day.

So it boggles my mind when I see someone complain about hearing any of it while proceeding to talk about their own petty issues.

I get that your kid's having trouble sleeping and it upsets you. I get that you think it's important to post pictures of your baby just sitting there. I understand that you do this every day because your child is your world.

But to berate the people who care about other things? To get irritated at people excited about the results of an event that happens once every four years? To scorn the passion with which people express their reaction to these historic events?

Get over yourself.

You're not the most important person in the world. You're not the only one that matters. You live in a world where you interact with other people.

Learn to do it right.