Tag Archives: happiness

CONSUMERISM has cost us PERSPECTIVE

We watched Interstellar again this last weekend, and although I don’t think it was a great movie, it wasn’t bad either. It did have a few really great moments, and one of them is stuck in my head today. I guess because it has been an issue with me for years; the idea of our planet dying or being sick really resonates with me, which is after all why I wrote the Irrevocable Series.

The exact scene I am referring to has the grandfather sitting on the porch with Cooper, the main character, and they are talking about how we are a world of consumers. Companies come out with new products every day; new gadgets and devices that make our lives easier or better, or at least claim to. And of course, our role is to buy up and use all of this new technology; to dedicate ourselves to working harder to earn more money to buy more stuff. But what if we stopped doing our part? What if we simply stopped trying to have it all?

Sitting at a stoplight on the way to work this morning, that’s exactly what I was thinking about. We get caught up in the whole cycle, and once we are accustomed to having something, we can’t seem to live without it. We have existed as a species for thousands of years without cellphones, but now that we have them, they are glued to our hands. Leaving home without it is a catastrophe, and a person not owning one means that something must be wrong with them.

So, what would happen if we simply stopped filling our lives with all the junk that is being offered to us? Could we get by with only one television in the house again? What if we only had one phone, and it was attached to the wall in our kitchen, where it belongs, instead of following us around everywhere we go?

I’m working at a junior high for a few more days (I’ve been here five weeks) and I see these kids and how they are severely limited in inter-personal skills. They have a hard time talking to one another and interacting appropriately, and I can’t help thinking about what it was like growing up in a small house with pretty much only one of everything. We had one phone, one bathroom, one television, and we had to share. It taught us perspective, and that everything, every resource, is limited.

I think something has been lost in that; something major. Every one of these kids has their OWN cellphone. They have a television in their rooms. Heck, many of them have their own bathroom at home. They don’t have to share anything in their private lives, and therefore have no idea how to compromise or what the rules for such a need would be. They are clueless what to do when they don’t get their own of whatever it is that they want or need.

Furthermore, they don’t see the value in anything. Cellphones are expensive, yet they throw them down the hall, or across the patio, as if they were a Frisbee. Ninety percent of them have screens that are cracked or broken from ill treatment. And we wonder why we have to replace broken desks, and why they can’t take care of them, when they can’t even take care of something that BELONGS to them. Why would they care about something that isn’t theirs?

I’m shaking my head while I think about it. I truly believe that less is more, and that some of the most valuable things we learn while living at home with our parents and siblings do NOT come from what we get; they come from what we don’t get, and how we handle earning those things. How do we learn to appreciate anything when it can be or will be replaced without consequence? It’s simple; we don’t.

You want to teach your kids about living a long and happy life, stop giving them everything. Let them learn some people skills and what it’s like to be a part of a group with limited resources. That’s what this planet needs – that’s what our society needs. Less is more, money can’t buy happiness, and learning to deal with people is a skill technology will never help to improve or be able to teach.

Clouds with Silver Linings – Have you found your word yet?

Every day I drive to and from work, allowing my mind to run in all directions. During that time, I come up with dozens of things I need to do or want to write about, both in my books, and here on my blog. The other day, for example, I posted about not feeling well and how that ties to the winter season, and made a challenge to myself and my readers to spread a little love to those around them. Because of this, I later realized that even though I was feeling the down swing at that moment, many of my clouds do in fact have silver linings.

In the evenings, I always feel so busy, and work on my computer, often eating in front of it, and not getting away from it until time for bed. So, I took my own advice, and spent the next two evenings after my post just hanging out with my family. The first night, we watched The Lone Ranger, which we thoroughly enjoyed. I heard from other people it wasn’t that great, but we really liked picking out the parts and sharing where we had seen them before. It turned out to be a great evening and I felt much better the next morning. The second night we had dinner again and watched After Earth, which I could not convince my significant other to go see in the theater due to poor reviews. This time, I wish I had insisted, because my son and I LOVED IT! I didn’t pick it apart, which is usually my problem as a science teacher and those types of movies. I see things and just can’t take them as plausible. I enjoyed the story and it was overall one that I am glad to own. I didn’t spend all of last night with them, and did work some. However, I made an hour escape to go see my new grandbaby, and I have to say, she is the most beautiful baby girl ever.

Another thing that had been wearing on me was being tied to my job, besides the fact that it takes up such a large amount of my time, far beyond the amount I spend at the school. This is one cloud that seemed to grow darker as the new semester began – they changed my schedule and at first it looks horrid with a straight 7 hours or so of classes with only 1/2 hour lunch. This really sucks, by the way, as you don’t even have time to go to the bathroom between each class (you are a hall monitor in between classes), and have no time to rest or regroup anywhere in your day.. But now there is a silver lining, as I have a later start in the mornings and can go to the gym without alot of issues trying to make it after school. I made it to the gym Wednesday morning, which I have not been able to do regularly in months due to my schedule starting early and running late. I am going again this morning, and am looking forward to returning this activity to my regular routine. So score one for me and admins who schedule teachers six straight classes and give them a half hour lunch. It was a dumb move on their part, but I will take it and make the best of it.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I have also realized I had found my word. If you have not heard of this, I picked up on it through a post by Lucy Pireel. I joined her blog because, lets face it, I wanted her to write about my books. However, I read her blog because she often has interesting things I like to read about and ponder, and this was one of them. In a recent post she talked about not making new years resolutions. Instead, she suggested finding the one word that you want to focus on for the year, and hers was Time. I had been thinking about this ever since, and after making that semi-gloomy post and the events that followed, I realized that I had found mine.

My word is Sunshine. As I said in my previous post, this is not the light that lands on our plant every day. In essence, this is all of the good things we have that come into and radiate out of us and our lives. Me and my life. My sons are sunshine. My new granddaughter is too. I have lots of sunshine in the people that surround me, and even returning to the gym I was greeted by people who knew me and were eager to catch up on what had been going on in our lives since we saw each other last. I loved it.

So that is the thought I am leaving off with today, two fold really. First, as the old saying goes, find the silver linings in the clouds. They are there, if we just take the time to look for them. And finally, my word is Sunshine, and I plan to use it like a mantra, pulling me away from the dark things that have the potential to absorb and waste so much energy and time; that trap where every potentially bad thing that happens just weighs more heavily than it should. I am curious, too, how many people even read that last post and if they shared in my challenge that day. If they did, how did it go, and have they found their word yet?

Mid-Winter Blues – Looking for the Sunshine

I woke up with a headache today. Same as yesterday. And the day before that. It happens to me every year in January, so you think I would be used to it by now.

I wonder how many other people get this cold weather funk. I read one time that it is caused by lack of sunshine, but I don’t normally spend a great deal of time outside anyways, so I really find that hard to believe.

I think it’s the cold. It is cold outside, so you can’t go anywhere without having it smacking you in the face. It’s enough to put anyone into a bad mood I think, either being bundled up in the clumsy restrictive coats and scarves or the having to wait for the car to warm up so the heater will work nonsense.

Even if you stay in doors, you can’t get away from it. The heater puts out recycled warmed air, lowering the humidity and drying everything out, including the vital parts of your anatomy that bring on those headaches. And of course the places you can’t get warm. Like my work – “cheap bastards” is all you can think when the highest point your thermostat hits is 68, and that is at noon, the peek from 60 when you arrived and on its way back down because it turns off at lunch every day. Thanks to technology you can’t even adjust the thermostat in your own space because it is all controlled at a central location. You know how many times I have changed jobs in February? Too many…

What I am really looking for right now is sunshine. And I don’t mean that giant chariot of fire that blazes across the sky every day. I am talking about the laughter and the good times. I think that could be part of this murky business as well.

Last month it was Christmas. Good times, good friends, good family. Like the month long party that goes on between Thanksgiving and Christmas. People wishing each other happy days and merry evenings. And then… its gone. All that is left is that empty wind that is now blowing snowdrifts outside so many windows.

So now I have an epiphany. We don’t love each other enough the rest of the year. That’s what brings the sunshine. The caring and sharing that all those things bring out in us – the hugs and the how are yous. We were surrounded by it just a few short weeks ago, and now that we need it most.. its just not there.Like its in the wrong place and should have been at the end of February or March instead of December so we could see each other through the darkest part of the year.

So this is my challenge to all of you – and myself for that matter. Fight those mid-winter blues and pass out a little sunshine today. Something you wouldn’t normally do or have done. Something extra to let the people around you know that you care about them, and that the winter will only last so long. Besides, it will be alot warmer when we are all handing out sunshine.

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