Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
What is that bright orb
making days blue and yellow
I’ve not seen for months?
Money is a strange thing. In American society one must have money to live, to have a “lifestyle”, to pay for all the things one needs. If we look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs there are a few things money buys to give a sense of security before happiness, contentment, or personal fulfillment can be achieved. How does a person think creatively if your security is in question?
Needs. Just what does a person need to live? You’d think fresh air and water would be free, but no. Food? Free? No. A place and a way to prepare food to eat? Free? No. A roof to protect you from the rain and provide a dry place to sleep? Free? No. Clothing to keep you warm? Free? No. A place and way to keep your clothes clean, neat, and organized? Free? No. A place to privately relieve your body of waste or clean yourself? Free? No. A private space to refresh yourself so you can deal with people who may or may not care about you? Free? No.
And ways to better yourself beyond your needs like education? Free? No. Health care? Free? No. Entertainment and recreation? Free? No. No. And no. Even hugs aren’t always free if you happen to be beholden to the person.
Every scrap of paper, plastic, and food we put in the trash has cost us money to buy and now costs us money to dispose of. Wait. Garbage isn’t free? No.
In American society even time has a cost. If a deadline or appointment is missed it can cost money. If you are late for work, not only can it cost you money you may lose your job. If you wait until something is broken before fixing it, it can cost you even more money.
And if you have little or no money to begin with, things cost you more. What? Can’t afford quality food? You can eat low quality “food” or go hungry and pay with your health. Can’t afford health care? The federal government charges you money in the form of a penalty charge on your taxes, and “health care providers” charge extra in the form of interest, monthly fees for carrying the debt, and penalties for late payments because they have to wait for their payments. Can’t afford to pay up front for your education? It’s ok, they’ll give you a student loan so you pay more in interest accumulation. Can’t pay cash for an old used car? No problem. Take out a car loan and pay additional interest again. Can’t pay cash for your home? Pay three times more in amortization, a fancy word for interest over the life of a home loan. Renters are faced with an application deposit (non-refundable even if you are turned down for the rental), first and last month’s rent, a cleaning deposit, a key deposit, and a background check fee, and often they don’t get the rental home they apply for. Then there is the cost of moving all your belongings from one place to another. It’s always about money.
Saving cash to pay for things outright? It can be done, by going without. It’s easy enough to give up 4 dollar lattes and 5 dollar packs of cigarettes, but if you go without a home how do you do the things it requires to be able to work, like keeping yourself and your clothes clean, or having a secure dry place to sleep so you can be refreshed for the next day’s work? Without multi-generational support many of us, even while employed, simply do not have the resources to provide for ourselves and our families.
Inflation has increased the problem as incomes have not risen over the last 40 years, so incomes are actually less now than then. The same home that cost thirty thousand dollars in 1960, costs two hundred fifty thousand dollars today, with 60 plus years of wear and use on the home. I remember when I was in 6th grade mom would give me a dollar to buy a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, and a few penny stamps at the store on my way home from school. A dollar now will buy two postage stamps. It was a treat to go out to get 15 cent McDonalds burgers. When was the last time you paid 15 cents for a hamburger? 1962.
Yes, there is no free lunch, and this is one issue I have few suggestions for resolutions. Somehow we have to stop this crazy money train as it is driving American society into a devastating runaway wreck. Being between jobs and incomes is even more limiting. The money I used to feel free to give away, to donate to people who had less than me, I’m now hoarding every penny hedging against pushing all my worldly belongings around in a shopping cart scoping out dry places under trees or in abandoned buildings to sleep. I still have expenses to be available and able for work if the offers come.
How do we establish a sense of security for ourselves and others in a society that respects only self-sufficiency? It’s not like each of us is an island of all capabilities. Since we as a society are only as good as the least of us, we must find a way to provide homes and food and education and health care beyond the “I’ve got mine, to hell with you” attitude so pervasive in America.
Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – I found several bloomers this week I don’t know the name of. No idea what this lovely bush full of multiple creamy star shaped blossoms is. A tree full of massive pearly white blooms looking like clusters of strawberry blossoms. Flame-on tulips. Striped two-toned purple hyacinths. A hot pink blossoming mystery bush the bees love.
Current View – Binged through season 1 of Aquarius (2015, not rated), an NBC TV series with David Duchovny. Set in 1967 Los Angeles, the series takes theatrical license with the Charles Manson story, which is amusing enough (not that the real Charles Manson story is amusing [horrifying, rather], just the deviation from truth and adventuring into fiction is amusing), but the fake 1960s music is hilarious. The music has the sound of the 60s, but was not recorded then, it was made for this TV show. The few songs which are original to the 60s are covered by other artists, not the originals. Duchovny’s character drives a 1967 Plymouth Fury III which was the first car I bought in 1972 with the help of my parents (when a used car could be bought for 500 dollars), what a thrill to see that! * Watched one episode of Empire (2015, not rated), a Fox TV series about a family who creates a music empire on the money from the mother’s drug sales. Each of the characters had so much hate in their portrayal I couldn’t watch any more. I’m also not terribly fond of rap/hip hop music and found myself quite bored, which is a word not normally in my vocabulary. This series just wasn’t for me. * Finished watching season 1 of Gotham (2014, not rated) a DC comic TV series, while there is some violence, the story and characters are compelling, along with the occasional bit of comic style humor. The introduction of future Batman nemeses (I think that’s the plural for nemesis, as in more than one) is fascinating, as the characters usually start out as average persons who become bad guys after years of bullying and mistreatment.
Currently Reading – The Solitude of Prime Numbers (2009, fiction) by Paolo Giordano. Two damaged humans connect and unconnect never really managing a relationship with each other. Sad, but compelling read. Shadow Tag (2010, fiction) by Louise Erdrich. Erdrich is a prolific author and this is the first of her work I’ve read. Slow starter about a Native American woman trying to finish her dissertation while raising three children and her artist (painter) husband. Story so far is a bit disconcerting with the disconnect between family members. The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum (2014, psychology and neurobiology) by Temple Grandin and Richard Panek. Still working this through. Yes, concurrently.
This week I have been grateful for:
- My doctor and my counselor listening to me and being so supportive.
- Getting through a few hard times during this week as I go through this process of changing my career.
- Considering possibilities such as finally admitting I may be disabled enough to not be able to work any more because I’m in denial. Wondering if the Federal government will see me disabled as well. If I had an independent income I could make the choice myself without having to beg for financial assistance.
- Oh, the glorious sun is back for a while and exposing my winter white skin to some luscious natural Vitamin D.
- Getting some paperwork sorted so I can do my taxes.
- Knowing enough math and how to read the forms and instructions so I can do my own taxes.
- My pool time three times a week, which is all about me, my body, my mind, and me.
- Walking meditation, letting my mind follow any creative route while I take my little walks.
- Having a new swim suit on hand when the old one suddenly blew out a seam. I get about 3 months out of my suits even with careful after swim care; that’s just the nature of warm water and chlorine. In Oregon, swim suit buying season is short (April to June) so when I find my size and style I buy as many as I can to be prepared for blow-outs and wear-outs.
- Turning off the heaters.
- Fresh air through open doors and windows.
- The progression of spring flowers.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.
Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch
Floral paragraph dividers by Susan Branch