Chippendales, Here I Come… Not. May 18, 2013Posted by Teresa in Ponder This.
Tags: obesity, oogling, overweight, sex drive, sexual abuse, sexy
add a comment
I caught myself oogling a man today.
This isn’t my usual behaviour, but it was nice and warm out, he was wearing a T-shirt, carrying a heavy bag and there were muscles bulging, etc… I had better stop there before this starts to sound like a crappy harlequin novel!
So what’s up with that — me oogling a man? You know, men have been oogling women since the beginning of time, more or less (I wasn’t there, so I can’t say for sure), but women oogling men is fairly new, in the last 20-or-so years. (Googling is an even newer phenomena, but it’s a natural extension of oogling.) So why do we oogle? Have women just learned how to oogle from men — taken their example and run with it? Think muscly, bow-tie-sporting, greased up men in bikini underwear… doesn’t it seem like something a man would come up with? Not very different from strippers in a brothel — and brothels go way back. Or is the half-naked firefighter calendar and Chippendale dancer phenomena a direct result of that scientific study — don’t ask me who did the research — that said women’s sex drive peaks in their 30′s? It seems to me before the study results were released, women didn’t worry or think much about their sex drive, but hey, since we finally got it, let’s give it a spin!?
Well, whatever the reason, I’m not going to let oogling become a habit. I know I don’t overly appreciate being looked up and down by men just because I wore something that actually shows my body shape. So, I don’t want to do it to the opposite sex. Heck, I’ve even done it to other women — noticed a nice body. Crazy.
I think that most men would at this point say not to worry, it’s a harmless look. But it’s a harmless look that men don’t have to put up with — a-ha! Maybe the Chippendale phenomena is women giving men a taste of their own medicine. How do they like being judged on how they look? Only considered sexy if they show some skin? Scorned because of a few extra pounds?
I had a startling and vivid dream a few weeks ago, and as clear as if someone spoke directly into my brain, I heard a female voice say “if only I were fat, then they would leave me alone.”
Wow. So that is why some women make themselves so overweight — they want certain men in their lives to leave them alone. In the context of the dream, it meant to stop sexually abusing them, but it could apply to any unwanted attention — even oogling.
Too many young girls have to grow up faster than they ought to because they have to learn how to deflect unwanted, inappropriate attention. It’s ALL unwanted attention — make no mistake. They want to just be girls and not have to deal with sexual, womanly things. In a loving, child-safe environment, they can grow up to be healthy people with a good body-image.
In my perfect world, people see each other’s inside as well and their outside. We all want to get to know each other and be friends, or at least, have friendly interactions. Men and women alike don’t have to be overly concerned with their appearances. We appreciate each other’s whole selves.
I don’t want to live in a world where people look at each other as a side of beef, so I’m changing the way I think about it. After this blog post, I’ll be giving much less attention to it, wearing whatever I like and being oblivious to any looks I get. I’m really good at being oblivious, so it should work out pretty well.
Your thoughts? Is oogling harmless or degrading? Are we as a society becoming more shallow?
(Men are becoming far more concerned with appearances, too, if toupees are any indication of the craziness. I mean, who first said “I’m so embarrassed to be going bald, I’m going to put this rug on my head”?!?)
Never Cry Wolf May 15, 2013Posted by Teresa in Adventures, Inspired by a book, Ponder This.
Tags: activism, caribou, culture, environment, extinction, farley mowat, First Nations, hunting, judging others, killing, NWT, populations, trigger happy, wastage, waste, wolves, Wrigley
add a comment
I recently finished reading Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat. I bought it at a used book store, and the copyright in my book says 1963, 1973 and 1993, but it must be out of print now. I’m pretty sure my parents hid this book from me when I was growing up. They must have known the effect it would have on me, and they probably didn’t wish to lose their daughter to the wilds of northern Canada for years at a time. Well, they weren’t able to avoid that altogether, but at least I have the technology to keep in touch with them.
Since living in Wrigley, my curiosity about wolves has been piqued. They are often talked about, because they are never very far away. At the airport, which is about 2 km from Wrigley, the wolves were coming onto the runway on the weekends and chewing on the wires going to some of the runway edge lights. When it’s particularly cold in winter, they come closer to town and sometimes attack and eat the local dogs. In December, wolves killed the alpha dog in town — dogs there run in packs and are not very far removed from wild, wolfish behaviour. In fact, some of what Farley Mowat talks about has helped me relate to dogs better, such as reading their facial expressions and understanding that they live by their own, non-human code. They have their own reasons for doing things, because of their canine culture.
I can see why this book is considered a classic! It is an excellent read. Farley is a phenomenal storyteller, and his story is a fantastic one. He is dropped off by a kamikaze bush pilot at an unknown frozen lake somewhere off the map in Northern Manitoba. His mission is to study wolves, their feeding habits and appetite for caribou. He plans to live among the wolves. Does that mean he crawls in their dens? Only once, and his reaction to what he finds within shakes him to the core. He adapts himself to the wolves’ ways — he learns to take wolf-naps so that he can observe them for long periods of time continuously without getting tired. And when the caribou return from their wintering grounds, he discovers, contrary to what the government has been told, that wolves are not responsible for the decline in caribou population.
Fast forward 50+ years, to this year, 2013. What is on the cover of the news/north newspaper this week?
Fifty years have gone by and the problem remains! Farley Mowat correctly identified the cause of the caribou slaughter when he found a field of caribou bones near a trapper’s shack — the trapper was killing hundreds of caribou a year to feed his sled dogs. Back then, they used nearly the whole animal, but now, killing for the sake of killing makes me ill. Trigger happy people should go to a gun range and shoot paper targets, not beautiful, majestic creatures. And there are a lot of trigger happy people in the North, and they think they can get away with it, and they think they have a right to kill what they want, and they do it because their twisted sense of humanity thinks it is fun. That newspaper article speaks of 50+ animals killed with only very small portions being taken for food, a practice very much against what the elders teach. (Wolves, by contrast, kill very few caribou, and only the weak and elderly ones, and, of course, eat it all.)
Part of me desperately hopes they find out who did it all (the carcasses were found in 12 different sites, so it was probably lots of different people), and part of me knows it won’t help. Not unless the local people — the people from that community — decide it is definitely wrong and their internal culture changes. Part of me thinks that if no witnesses will come forward — and who would want to rat on their friends and family? — then the whole community should lose its caribou hunting rights. They have a grocery store; let them buy their meat there. But, that’s our ugly friend colonialism back for a visit, telling native populations what to do and disciplining them like they are children. No, the government needs to stop interfering and the people who live there need to start acting like responsible, life-respecting adults. Own up to what you have done. Admit you feel bad about it (if you do, don’t lie if you don’t). Stop killing just because you can.
I would love to ask one of these trigger happy people “what will you do when all the caribou are gone? Elsewhere in Canada, when the native animals were killed off, domestic animals were brought in. Beef replaced buffalo, pigs in place of antelope. Are you going to become farmers? That will be challenging with the wolves and bears and so much wilderness. Will you cut down all the trees to make fields? Will you grow crops to feed your cows?”
It would be infinitely better if those who live among the caribou could learn to appreciate what they have in them — an amazing, healthy food source — and protect the caribou population, to prevent their extinction. I am a stranger in a strange land; I am not from here. I wasn’t raised among the caribou, among the wolves. I was raised on a farm (which you may have already guessed), so if I want to be an activist, I should do so in the realm where my heritage is — agriculture in Canada. To be an activist here makes me judgmental, as so many environmental activists who go far from home to make a stand are. And I do have some thoughts about agriculture in Canada… but they will have to wait for another day.
Am I a Part of the Problem? May 5, 2013Posted by Teresa in Ponder This.
I had a visit from two friends recently, Shelly and Billy*. Well, they aren’t quite friends, but more than mere acquaintances… shall we say “afrientances?” I was in Wrigley, and they came over to see if I was interested in buying any of their crafts. They make jewellery, beaded leather card holders, dreamcatchers and other native crafts. Oh, did I forget to mention they are First Nations people? Shelly’s beadwork is truly lovely, and Billy is no slump with the stone work!
So, I decided to buy a pair of earrings. They are little white stone polar bears, very cute. I suddenly realized, before I went to get the money, that I was basically Shelly and Billy’s bank. They wanted to buy some booze (on the black market, there is no liquor store here) and they were out of cash. It is relatively easy for them to pop over for a visit and sell something to get some money. Now, don’t get me wrong — we did have a nice little visit, and sometimes they come over just for tea as well, no crafts for sale.
While we were visiting, Shelly told me about her sister who passed away about five years ago. She had received a big settlement from the residential school abuse cases that are making their way though the courts and she died shortly after. She drank herself to death. And here I am, a willing participant in Shelly and Billy’s little charade — “would you like to buy some earrings I made?” “Why, I’d love to!” — all the while pretending I don’t know what the money is going for. I don’t feel very good about it, frankly.
Apparently, Shelly is waiting to get her settlement soon. I don’t look forward to the day. So many people who received huge sums of money have lost it all in such a short time. It’s a bit like people who win a lottery — some can handle it, but most can’t. How to spend and budget with such big numbers? Then relatives and fair-weather friends come out of nowhere asking for money, and to be a scrooge feels bad, but to give it all haphazardly away is not good either.
What a fine mess we have in this country, when it comes to Native issues, poverty and residential schools! The First Nations people who were horribly mistreated deserve something, but huge sums of money just adds to many of their problems. The jaded, skeptical side of me thinks the government doesn’t care and is happy to hand over the money and watch the mayhem. But I know that isn’t true — the residential school victims want that money. It’s not being forced on them. And I’m sure some people in the government would like to help, but it’s a messed up system.
When it comes to money, some people, including Aboriginals, can be so strange. They will share food, shelter, heat, rides (vehicles), but when it comes to money, they want to count every bit and make sure they are always getting ahead. They sometimes lose sight of what is fair, in business and in life, and just want more, more, more. It’s especially noticeable to me because I seem to allow myself to lose money, in particular, when I am enjoying what I am doing. (I’m not sure where this quirk came from, but I’m looking into it!)
So what to do? The government has messed up this situation so much, but what is a government but a group of people? I think it’s safe to say the colonization of Canada is a complete success. Colonization has taken away much of the Aboriginals’ original nature of sharing, working together, and responsible use of the land and made them just like us — greedy, money-hungry, alcoholics.
Oh dear, what tangent have I gone off on? That’s the jaded, skeptical Teresa talking. Here’s what I know is true:
What is past is past, so we must move on.
We would all do well to reconnect with our roots, or at least the noble parts of our heritage that we want to have (and forget the ignoble parts).
We can’t go back and make a brand new start, but we can start from here and make a brand new end.
So, when I bought those cute, polar bear earrings, was I part of the problem? I don’t know. Is it complicated? You bet. I’m just not sure how I can act differently now that I’ve had this realization and online confession. I guess before, when I was unaware of how Shelly and Billy were going to use the money, I wasn’t part of the problem. Now, I am. (Ignorance is bliss, isn’t it?) Then again, am I the beer police? If someone wants a few beers, is it my job to stop them? Not really. But if that person also gets violent and nasty when he drinks a few beers (or more, whatever), and I was the one who gave him those beers, indirectly or directly, how am I not a party to that? There is so much judgement going on, and I try very hard not to judge others — what they do, why they do it, or how they spend their money — but I am forced to judge myself on this.
So I suppose the question remains — how am I going to decline the purchase of any more crafts? Politely, sure. Will I mention the real reason I don’t want to buy any, or will I make up some alternate excuse? Hard to say. Maybe I just won’t bring cash any more… I’ll bankrupt the bank.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -
*names have been changed, just ’cause.
The Big Thaw, Part Two May 4, 2013Posted by Teresa in Ponder This.
add a comment
Climate change. Global warming. Something is definitely afoot, and something underfoot has given me inspiration and a clue about how to reduce the impact of global warming.
Anyone who lives in Canada, or any part of the world that has snow, knows that dirty snow melts first. The snow in the ditch that gets sand or dust on it melts faster than white, untouched snow on lawns or in the bush, because the darker colour causes the sun’s radiation to be absorbed instead of reflected. This got me to thinking about climate change and glaciers melting. I realized three things:
- There is a huge increase in air pollution in the last 150 years.
- We now know that air pollution is quickly distributed throughout the whole planet. (African dust has been found in Texas. Radiation from Japan has been detected all over.)
- Global air pollution settles everywhere and causes the dirty snow (glaciers, ice caps, etc) to melt quicker.
It’s not rocket science. We need to improve our air quality! It would improve our health as well as our planet’s health. Now, with more and more vehicles on the road and no end in sight for other industrial endeavours, it seems like a hopeless battle.
So, here’s a crazy idea: why not put our considerable engineering prowess to work on some really big outdoor air purifiers? It would seem logical that the big polluters would take the lead on this, and if we can make huge factories, smelters, and oil refineries, why can’t we make some large-scale industrial air purifiers to work on removing particles from the air?
Well, a short Google search reveals that a little work has already been done on this. Check out this page and these photos of green walls and projects in Mexico City.
If you know of any really big outdoor air purifiers being designed or built, please post about it in the comments!
The Real (But Unpopular) Way to Prevent School Shootings April 11, 2013Posted by Teresa in Ponder This.
add a comment
It’s been nearly three months since the day that man walked into that school in Newtown, CT and shot a bunch of little children. The flurry of news about it and outpouring of sympathy on Facebook and Twitter is mostly over. Despite all the coverage, I actually heard by word of mouth. I was living in Wrigley at the time, with no television and had only recently had my internet hooked up. I was saved from watching actual news coverage and experiencing the drama and horror live (or nearly live).
Since the initial news coverage, there has been a lot of discussion, anger, and arguments about gun control. I am not going to talk about guns. No, no, no. I am going to talk about the man who did the shooting.
Clearly, he was a disturbed man, and I say this, again, having heard no coverage about him, psychologists’ analysis or anything else. It’s just clear to me that he must have been very mentally ill. The man who opened fire in the school that day was spiritually starved.
How can we prevent this from happening again?
I’m afraid I have to say the real — but unpopular, not-a-quick-fix, challenging, dirty, and awesome — way to stop school shootings is to
Care for your fellow man.
Don’t walk by a street person and scowl at them. Don’t ignore the guy on the bus who seems upset. Stop turning a blind eye to mentally ill people — they are people, too. Deeply love those around you, in your family and circle of friends. If you are afraid of mentally ill people, take a Mental Health First Aid course — this will help you understand other people and know what to do in many circumstances.
Why don’t we work together to let no one be as spiritually starved and so devoid of relationships and love as that man who opened fire in that school.
Be about love. Be focused on love — be more willing to be in love than to be in control.
Cinnamon Bun Caper April 7, 2013Posted by Teresa in Ponder This.
So apparently, I have a trucker handle now. It’s “cinnabuns,” although I haven’t had the opportunity to use it yet.
A couple of weeks ago, while I was stationed in Wrigley, I got the crazy idea to make a batch of cinnamon buns and sell them to the truckers headed north on the winter road. Then I decided that selling them was silly — I must have caught a whiff of greed there! — and that it would be much nicer to just give them away. I don’t really need the money anyway. I knew there’d be quite a few truckers at the chain-up area, waiting for the road to open. You see, when it starts to warm up in spring, the GNWT has to close the road to heavy traffic during the day to keep it from getting too soft too fast. So, there were a bunch of tractor-trailers waiting for 10 pm to hit the road north (literally).
It was a Friday, so I went for a quick snowshoe on the river after work and then got down to the business of making cinnamon buns. I’ve made them lots of times, and even had cinnamon bun capers before. One time, in my friend Lonnie’s impossibly small kitchen, I made 4 dozen and then took them to the Centre for Spiritual Living as a surprise. That was fun, but this was even better.
The buns came out of the oven a little after 9 pm. I had made a dozen in muffin tins and a dozen in a rectangular glass pan where they all smoosh together. I put them in a cardboard box, brought some saran wrap along, and headed out. It was just twilight, around 9:30 pm, when I approached the first truck.
“Good evening!” I started out with.
“Good evening to you,” the trucker replied.
“What can I say, I have a soft spot for truckers. So, I decided to make a batch of cinnamon buns after work today. Would you like one?”
“Are you serious?! Of course!” the man exclaimed. “I’d love one.”
“Well, there you go. Just go ahead and grab one.”
I went to the second truck, where another incredulous trucker happily took a cinnamon bun. I continued on, driving to the main chain-up area, going door to door (truck to truck). It was awesome! I had so much fun. Some guys were so surprised, they couldn’t believe I had made cinnamon buns for them. One guy looked like he might cry. I think they started talking about me on their radios after I went to 4 or 5 trucks, because they weren’t quite as surprised later on. I asked them where they were headed — almost all were going to Norman Wells, and I chatted briefly with each one. A couple guys gave me money and wouldn’t take no for an answer. A few trucks were empty, or the drivers were hidden behind curtains in their sleepers. Most trucks were empty flat beds (low-boys), headed north to pick up equipment that had been working in the Wells or wherever. Truck after truck, I stepped up to their windows and delivered my sticky-sweet treats.
I got a few different reactions to my cinnamon buns. Almost everyone took one. One man was allergic to cinnamon, and one to wheat. A couple of men in a pick-up quickly refused, and I couldn’t help but think that these poor guys were unable to accept anything nice or good in their lives. They had a self-piteous vibe to them. A few men were sort of stunned — they politely declined the cinnamon bun, but I couldn’t quite tell why. After the first 6 or so buns were gone, they started freezing to the muffin tin, so the guys had to work a bit to get them out of the pan. We’d joke while they did that. I met one young guy who had never been on a winter road before, so I offered him the only advice I could think of — take your time. Follow the more experienced guys and don’t rush it. This coming from me, the gal who had only ever walked on the winter road — I never had a reason to drive it — but I figured that was good advice in general. A few guys asked me what on earth I was doing in Wrigley, and what I did for work. How did I like it? What did I do in my spare time?
Before I could get to every truck, 10 o’clock came around, so the rest of them pulled out. I broadcast over the radio that anyone who wanted a cinnamon bun could stop at the blue suburban and get one. Only one guy stopped — the road was calling the rest and they waved and shouted unintelligible things out their windows as they drove by, smiling and gearing up.
I’m so pleased about how the whole caper went over! It was a bit like going door to door collecting for the food bank, but this time, I was giving food away. It was a little ways outside my comfort zone, a bit like one of Steve Pavlina’s power exercises, and it was so worth it. I gave away 22 cinnamon buns and got to encourage about 30 truckers that night (or more… there were 40 trucks waiting in total, but some drivers slept through it all). Truckers work hard, and the ones I met that night were lovely people.
You know, people talk about doing things on their bucket list. Well, this caper was one of the highlights of my life, but I never would have put it on a list or planned it out ahead of time. It was the perfect opportunity, I grabbed it, and what fun I had!
Here’s to you: Dad, and my trucker friend Shannon, and all those other guys and gals who work so hard moving things around this great big country of ours.
The 7 Best Things I Learned from Star Trek April 5, 2013Posted by Teresa in Ponder This, Silly stuff.
Tags: beauty, diversity, honor, life lessons, principles, Star Trek
1 comment so far
I know “resistance is futile” when it comes to a borg invasion, but what else has that amazing world of Star Trek taught me? Here’s my take on the top 7 life lessons from Star Trek.
1. My friends don’t have to be similar to me. Look at Kirk and Spock. They are almost total opposites — about the only thing they have in common is their gender — and they are not only great friends but also work amazingly well together.
2. IDIC — Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination. This is a Vulcan principle, and it teaches that the universe is beautifully diverse, splendidly complex and all those differences are to be celebrated.
3. Be willing to take a stand — even die for — your principles. Starting with Kirk, all the Captains of Star Trek have taught us this (plus many other characters). They have all demonstrated this time and time again.
4. On the other hand, cheat death as many times as possible. As with hypothermia, you aren’t dead until you are warm and dead. (You can be very cold and seem totally dead, but doctors can still warm you up and bring you back… up to a point.) Life might look very bleak, but you can still side-step death at the last split-second — often by exploding something, but don’t necessarily live by that last part. Avoid fatalistic thinking and keep looking for a way.
5. Keep your head on in a crisis. You don’t see Scotty panicking and running around with “kermit hands” (think of how Kermit the Frog flails his hands when he is excited). Be prepared, know what you are doing and be creative in your problem solving, even under pressure!
6. Don’t be so concerned about honour. Worf taught me that one, initially, as an example of what not to do. By inference, this extends into not being concerned about appearances as well, or about what other people think.
7. Society can function without money. This one may take us a while to figure out — hopefully not because of a World War III — but I think eventually we will stop valuing money and make the transition to a moneyless society. We will all simply do what we enjoy and receive materially what we need or want (within reason).
Thank you, Gene Roddenberry, for sharing your vision of the future with all of us. It’s a good one.
Got other ideas? Add yours in the comments!
Not Who I Used to Be March 10, 2013Posted by Teresa in Ponder This.
1 comment so far
I’m definitely not who I used to be.
For example, when I was in university, I never would have had a male roommate. It just would have been inappropriate, unthinkable. But, when I was back in Sudbury, desperately looking for someone to split the rent with — I had such a great place, I really didn’t want to move! — I found Carl. He was a friend of a friend, and he needed a place as badly as I needed a roomie. It was a match made in heaven, so they say. Many eyebrows at church went up when I spoke of my roommate Carl, but I kind of liked it. Let people think what they wanted — Carl was great, and we never had any problems at all.
Once again, I have a male roommate. My life situation is a bit abnormal; my husband lives in our house about 900 km away, runs his own business and takes care of the place and our sweet, fluffy cat. I have a job up north, so I go back and forth between Fort Simpson, Wrigley and High Level, but to be honest, I primarily live in Fort Simpson. My honey and I are seriously hoping (and planning) to live under one roof again soon!
In the mean time, I am thoroughly enjoying my life and my current roomie. He is amazing! We get along great, talk about everything under the sun, and do lots of things together: go exploring outdoors, cook, eat, listen to music or the radio, and watch movies occasionally.
In fact, when I moved to Wrigley in November, we were both a little star-struck: we were so compatible and had so much in common it was uncanny… more than co-incidence! We became instant, great friends and the depth of our connection is special. A friend of ours thought we were sleeping together, but we assured her we weren’t, and tried to explain our friendship. Like brother/sister. Like amazing friends. Or soul mates? Something like that. Kindred spirits. I think we fell into appreciation for each other.
What is “falling into appreciation,” you ask? It is a bit like falling in love, which makes sense since love and appreciation are so closely linked together. We were so grateful to have each other for company — Wrigley can be hard to live in — and so happy to have a kindred spirit to talk to! We enjoyed spending time together, and spent hours talking about our philosophies, beliefs, life experiences and things we had learned along the way. Then, it happened a second time, when my coworker moved in. She is amazing, and again, we found deep friendship, compatibility, and camaraderie. She is so sweet, lively and fun to be with!
So does this seem strange or wrong to you? A married woman living apart from her loving husband? Make no mistake — my marriage is not on the rocks. We get along fabulously together, in person and on the phone. And here I am falling in appreciation for other people! Why not?!
By appreciating those around me, I feel good. I thrive, I glow. I am happy! And the amazing friendships I have made along the way are such a blessing; it would have been a shame for me to deny them because of male-female boundaries of impropriety… I just don’t think that way any more. I want to appreciate all the amazing people in my life, and I don’t want to hold back about it. When I meet someone cool, I want to spend time with them, get to know them better and share ideas. I want to appreciate everything about my life, and no one’s going to stop me from doing it.
Want to join me on a rant of appreciation? Comments are on!
From: Jamie Lauckner
How nice. The rainbow tribe grows.
The Curse of the Purse March 8, 2013Posted by Teresa in Family, Friends, and Cat!, Ponder This.
Tags: chickens, comparing with others, curse, making ends meet, materialism, money, society, wages
I love my dad. Although he doesn’t have my strong optimistic streak, he is generally pretty content. The last time we chatted, however, he was a little upset about something, and that something was money. He had recently found out what some oil rig workers made per hour, and was amazed, flabbergasted, and frankly, a little jealous that someone could make so much money. He is a farmer — mostly chickens, a few beef cows — and hasn’t made an hourly wage since he did a little work as a welder, repairing broken cargo carts that they use at the airport to load airplanes. He also worked for many years as a bulk milk truck driver (class 1 license, part-time work), and before buying the farm, he did road construction. He said he made $3.60/hour back in the day, which was a really good wage! These days, though, he sells eggs at the farmer’s market and hay at the auction mart (and privately) and both are prized for their excellent quality. He gets top dollar! But it ain’t no oil worker’s wage. Mind you, he is supposed to be getting ready to retire — it can be a multi-year process for farmers. In any case, he tends to get upset when he hears what some guys are making these days. Big numbers!
I have two friends that have been working 7 days a week, 12-hour days, and their employer is six weeks behind in their pay. Six weeks! That’s quite a while to go without any income; most of us couldn’t even do it. Needless to say, they are getting pretty grumpy about it, and are starting to catch the rarely-spoken-about Northern disease of greed. Okay, so it isn’t just a Northern disease, but it’s getting to the point where they aren’t going to do anything without being paid in advance. I can’t say I exactly blame them… but it does make me revisit the idea I occasionally entertain about how a moneyless society would work.
Money. Why does it matter so much? Why do we use it to define our worth? It absolutely shouldn’t be associated with our worth, but it often is. I see it as simply a more convenient way of exchanging resources than carrying around chickens to trade. So why not go back to chickens? If we did, my dad would be one of the richest guys around! Plus, he also has hay, grain, and all sorts of other very practical, tradeable (and edible) items. But most of us don’t have such things — we are stuck exchanging our talents, skills and/or time (abstract things) for numbers on a piece of paper (or computer screen).
It’s the curse of the purse: we need to work, but it doesn’t go smoothly and we don’t enjoy it. We do it all because we are too wrapped up in the numbers: the money we will make.
Work 18 hours straight? Sure, great overtime! Work 25 days in a row? Awesome, bring it on! Work a job we don’t believe in? Sure, if it pays well! We don’t agree to do these things because we actually want to do them — we do it because we have dollar signs in our eyes. We forget our principles, and what’s important to us. In my personal philosophy, money should enable us to do things we want to do — that’s why we work. But too often, we work to make bigger numbers, to pay off bills or debts for things that we don’t even enjoy. We live beyond our means, and then try to make the means bigger, and as a result, we get grumpy, angry and greedy. It’s the curse of the purse.
Can you believe how much money Bill made last year? It’s insane! Comparing ourselves with others — be they famous, coworkers or friends — is a surefire way to feel dissatisfied. We work harder than Bill. We work longer hours than Bill. We know the job better than he does and have better skills. We should be making more money than Bill! Thinking this way is so unproductive. It would be better if we never knew how much money others made, ’cause when we do, and it can frustrate us to no end. It’s curse of the purse again.
As much as we might like to, we can’t go back to trading chickens. So many of us are stuck in very sedentary, impractical jobs where immaterial things are traded for money. Clicks equal dollars. Information, cents. Trading our days for numbers. Wish we had more. We’re all trying to live with the curse of the purse hanging over us. All we can do is stop being driven by the numbers, and start living life again — doing things we enjoy, both as work and as play. Spending time with ones we love. Appreciating the little things. Spending time in nature. Reconnecting with ourselves.
Wherever or however you do it, if you stop paying so much attention to the numbers on the piece of paper, you won’t be the only one. I’ll be right there with ya.