Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Who's Worth Saving?

Everywhere I turn the same mantra is spewed forth "You are responsible for no one's happiness but your own." 

I call BULLSHIT. This is a cop-out too often used by our fellow man to selfishly do what they want with no regard to how they affect those around them.

Watching someone in pain is hard - seeing injustice is frustrating, so, too often, we look away...

Then we wonder, why did that young adult kill himself? How did violence become so prevalent in my neighborhood?

There was a time in my life when I was difficult to love shocking I know or even to be around. A bleakness had nested itself so deeply in my soul that I was incapable of experiencing the joy that is at the center of life. 

This pain is messy - sobbing in great gulps with snot running down your lip messy. It can be cruel - biting words meant to cut deep and quick. Explosive and painful to everyone in the vicinity. It isn't easy to bear witness to this type of pain and the idea of wading into it to pull someone out can be daunting. How convenient then, to claim yourself absolved of all action since you are not responsible for another person's happiness.

Many people leave. Off to enjoy the company of those quick to laughter and eager to revel in the moment. And whether or not the person suffering understands the lure, the outcome is the same - she is alone. 

While was I was blessed to have support enough to get through and stellar insurance coverage many do not. 

So, yes it is absolutely my responsibility to be a humane being. It is yours, too.

Say something to the kids you hear taunting a child in the park - they will listen. Sure, they may talk smack when you turn your back - do you care? But they will stop picking on the kid, and unify in their distaste of adults. So be it. In some little way you have told them that injustice will not be tolerated.

You won't change the world by yourself. But think what can be accomplished if we all created the world in which we want to live. This will never happen if we are only concerned about our own happiness. We must be focused beyond ourselves. 

As Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." (or watch it tear apart)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Blessings of Relativity

You're only as old as you seem relative to the population of your area. Which is one of the perks of living in Sunnyville. We have a healthy population of young families - the schools are full, the restaurant scene is diverse - but we have A LOT of retired people. The average age may well be in the 70's year-round with a jump to the late 80's in Snow Bird season.

Some people believe living among the elderly is full of negatives. And while I grant you driving is precarious - it is also good for your reflexes. You never know when some tiny 90 something using a double layer of cushions to see over the dash is going to stop at a green light or drive the wrong way (especially near construction cones - orange seems to scream "Go the wrong way!" when you achieve a certain age). This is just the thing to keep you focused and using your reflexes, a great way to stay young at heart if it doesn't stop entirely when you realize someone is coming at you head-on in a construction zone.

Driving dangers aside, there are perks too .Take yard care for example. I am not one to obsess about the grass and you won't see me edging and trimming daily heck not even weekly but I do appreciate the lush greenery that a well maintained yard brings to a neighborhood. Thank goodness for the dedicated gardeners on my street. They are out there with the sun - fertilizing, watering, and whatever other withchcraft they employ to keep the thickest, greenest grass. It adds to a neighborhood - especially since Sunnyville grass spreads out to the neighboring houses making us all look better - yea us!

But the best perk of all is the relative age. I am old all day for 5 days a week - a downfall of being around kids all day. But all around town I am young. Just this morning I took a rare solo trip to the grocery store. I wasn't in a particular hurry, so I took the time to share a few friendly good morning's as I passed my elder counterparts in the aisles. Typically, they would smile and say "good morning, dear." These encounters are pretty standard in a civilized society. How Sunnyville differs became clear as I bought eggs. There was an older couple studying the available types or more likely prices, so I went to the side to pluck a carton from the case. I opened the lid giving a cursory glance and a little shake as I turned toward my cart. Just at this moment a gentle hand reached over my shoulder and toward the carton. In confusion I turned toward the source to see the woman of the egg-studying-couple. She began to gently jostle each egg individually. As she continued through the carton she explained to me, "You have to check each egg by moving it just a little. If one is cracked at the bottom it will stick, so you will know." Of course I know this - hence the shake I gave the entire carton - but I kept it to myself. I smiled and thanked her. It isn't everyday that I am made to feel so young and inexperienced while grocery shopping for a family of 6! Ah - relativity - ain't it grand?