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Two Cents Tuesday

Book of Days #4

Book of Days #4

February 9

You only live once – but if you work it right, once is enough.

–Joe E. Lewis

I especially like this quotable from my Book of Days because it’s an opposing notion to the common belief that we all want to live forever.  With our cultural obsession of longevity in full swing, there aren’t many viewpoints spouting once is enough.  It is highly possible, that when it’s our time, we will feel complete…that our bucket list is (mostly) checked off.  And that we are okay with our passing.  It’s hard to imagine, I know, but I sometimes try to go there in my mind – hoping it’s a time when I’m quite old – and feeling a wee bit tired.  I imagine that I have a sense of peace instead of urgency with this life – and that I’m looking ahead to the next “chapter” of whatever this existence (or non-existence) holds.

Unfinished Business

Good intentions.

We all have them.  I have them every day.  I suspect you have a list of them as well.

As I was cleaning out my email Inbox, I noticed all those emails – offers, classes, promotions – that I just never got around to doing.  I save them as “unread” with the expectation that I will get back to them, and partake.

I want to…I really do.  But I also know there is only so much time in the day, hours in my week.  Time management appears to be one of the greatest complaints of our modern society.  “I don’t have enough time” is uttered more than “Please” and “Thank you”.  Many a final thought before falling asleep is what we didn’t get done that day.  We are overwhelmed and underpaid by our dear friend Father Time.

So, what do we do about it?

Perhaps we just do what I did with my emails – I deleted them.  I got ruthless for a few minutes and deleted all those that had either been sitting there too long, or that I just knew I could “let go” this round.  There’s only so many shows I can buy tickets to, seminars I can attend, or Walkathons I can donate to before I hit the saturation point.  I see it like the fine art of whittling – when you take a basic tree stick and fashion it into an amazing utensil, perfect for hotdog roasting over a campfire.  Scrape away what you don’t need and get to the “point.”

It’s a difficult task, I know.  We go through this while spring cleaning our bulging closets; when scheduling the kids school and sporting events on the refrigerator calendar.  We run up against the ole clock, time and time again, praying for just a few extra minutes.

I give you permission to let go of unfinished business (not that you need my permission, but it helps to get the friendly nudge.)  To understand that there are ALWAYS going to be things left undone – and that it’s perfectly okay to do so.  The universe will understand, I promise.

What unfinished business can you delete from your list?  Let me know. – BB

Bionic Life

Bionic.  I think we are in search of a modern-day bionic life.

If you’re old enough to remember the show “The Six Million Dollar Man” from the 70’s – a big high-five.  If you’re not, look it up….youtube it.  Find out what all the excitement was surrounding the rebuilt astronaut Steve Austin (other than his 70’s good looks.)

The premise was that we could rebuild a broken man and make him “better… stronger…faster” (music swells as Steve Austin runs at lightning speed.)  Ah, 70’s television – I miss it.

The thrill of the show was that we finally had the technology to do something never done before.  We had become advanced enough as a species to go beyond our wildest dreams.  It was post-space travel capability and pre-cell phone domination.  It was the cusp of something superhuman.

And so here we are today – with our bionic lives in place.  We may not have a computer eye in our heads (yet), or legs that outrun an Olympic sprinters, but we have created a world that is in overdrive…flying by, morphing, twirling like a Tasmanian Devil.

How do we keep up?  Or better yet, do we need to?

There is an argument, naturally, on both sides of this coin.  Of course we need to keep up, say the workforce guru’s, as the only way to compete in today’s job market is to outrun the competition.  Technology is the driving force – a new gadget magically appears practically every quarter (never mind annually, that’s so old school.)  I blame Apple for that – creating and marketing the next best thing – with unveilings coincidentally surfacing around holidays and school seasons.  It’s a thirst that can never be quenched – “What – you only have an iPhone 4S?  Oh.  Sorry.”  As if the latest anything will bring us joy, prestige, happiness and self-esteem.  What it brings us really is dwindling bank accounts, increasing credit card debt and just another soon-to-be outdated piece of tech equipment earmarked for the junk drawer.

So what are we doing to ourselves?  The big boys are making tons of money off our desire, or rather our “need”, to be at the front of the line.  Maybe it’s our ancient yearnings bubbling up – the need to beat our chests and be king of the jungle.  Maybe it’s the desire to belong – to not be an outsider.  I mean, who does NOT own a cellphone these days?  My dad does, even though he can barely use it – I’m pretty sure there are voicemails I left him 3 years ago that he never retrieved.  I try to cut him some slack – there are a lot of buttons to push – it can be confusing.

Our need for speed is outpacing our ability to learn.  Our multi-tasking is actually, according to neuroscientists, re-wiring our brains.  What?  Yes, re-wiring our brains.  So maybe we are altering ourselves bionically after all.  We can’t focus, we lose sleep, we burn the candle not only at both ends, but have torched the whole darned ball of wax.

Can we slow down?  Is it too late for that?  I don’t think so.  There’s a bit of street talk about quitting Facebook, powering down our phones at dinner, and going off the grid during vacations.  We are trying to loosen the grids grip on us – as it squeezes us into forced decompression.  We need it gang….we really do.  We need to step away from the bloated buffet of technology and remember what a tree looks like, before we’ve cut them all down.  (Oh God, I realize I’m suddenly sounding like a wild-haired hippie tree-hugger right now, but that’s not my intention.)  I’m just like the rest of us – I want my iPhone and my cake too.  I love my Kindle and my Apple TV and my high-speed Internet connection.  It all makes for convenience in my day.  BUT – and I draw the line here – not at the expense of my ability to understand that it’s just metal and wires and invisible electromagnetic waves (which is probably the source of many a migraine other than just hearing your mother’s voice on the end of the line.)  It’s not flesh and blood like you and me.  It has no heart or soul or whatever you may call it.  Shouldn’t we remind ourselves once in a while that technology is A source, not THE source.

And not for nothin’, six million dollars to rebuild a man?  I’ve seen apartments that cost more than that.  Inflation.  – BB

Need to Understand

Two Cents Tuesday is here!

I don’t know about you, but I have a need to understand things.  And it’s exactly that – a need.  Not a want, not a desire, it’s something I need.

The reason I need to understand is so I can feel comfortable.  And secure.  Knowing – that I have the information by which to make decisions and judgments.  (Like why the “e” is not always used in the spelling of the word judgment…tres confusing.)

But seriously, when I am not educated in a topic and yet I have to deal with it – in work or in life – I feel vulnerable.  I feel confused and suspicious.  It’s not a nice feeling, but it’s there.  It’s that feeling that because I don’t understand something, that I can be taken advantage of.

Case in point – is my current mortgage application.  I’m jumping through all the necessary hoops as required by the broker, the bank and my attorney.  But it’s all making me feel….well, annoyed.  And distrustful.  That my best interests are not top priority here.

I’m not so naive to believe that everyone isn’t out for their own gain…I understand that is the nature of “business.”  It’s more about feeling at a disadvantage because I’m not an expert in the “rules” of the game, which leaves me open for tackling.  Yes, I know that’s why we hire experts to inform us (our lawyers per se), but I’m not one to just take someone else’s word for things – I would like to have some basic understanding of what’s going on around me.

Perhaps it’s a fault of mine…to want to process information.  To need to feel a sense of control, no matter how small, over how I conduct myself and how others treat me.

I also know that it’s nearly impossible to fully grasp every concept I encounter, or understand every legal document I’m ever going to sign…that would take a lifetime and unending schooling to accomplish.  But I think it’s important we take ownership of what we learn, of what we understand and don’t understand.  That we ask the questions – repeatedly if necessary – so that we may gain the comfort that knowledge brings. – BB