Friday, July 20, 2012

Blessings

An online conversation with my dear friend Aly that I wanted to remember.

It all started when Aly posted this quote:

There are thousands and thousands of people out there living lives of quiet, screaming desperation who work long, hard hours at jobs they hate, to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.
~Nigel Marsh

A great quote. Very thought-provoking.

I replied: "True. An sadly there are probably millions who work long hours at jobs they dislike in order to barely provide meager shelter and food for their families. So many of us are so richly blessed. To have the necessities plus so much more. To be able to have jobs that we do enjoy, to have leisure time, to decide what our priorities are."

Aly:Jenny, Absolutely! I found it to be a very interesting quote. And you are very right, so many work very hard to barely get by. And so many work too many hours never seeing their families to attempt to keep up with the neighbors. I actually feel like the area we live in has (for most part) a very healthy balance when it comes to spending, work, family, and quality of life.

Me: I think so too. I think we are very blessed ... We have enough to meet our basic needs plus more which makes us wealthier than the vast majority of the world's population but I don't feel like there is (for the most part) a lot of external pressure to "keep up with the Joneses". Not that individuals don't ever get their priorities mixed up... Sometimes I do in my head... From time to time I have read that blog you shared of the family that travels all the time. It truly is not what I would want to do ...I like traveling but I absolutely love coming home after a week or so. But I think a lot about what they said about opportunity cost and working...spending our time in the way we want to...not working to attain some one else's goal of happiness. Sometimes when I am trying to figure out for dinner and I feel frustrated because nothing sounds good, I think about all the people who know what is for dinner tonight...rice and beans (or something similar) because that is what they eat every day and they spend all day just working to have that, and I remember that it really is a blessing to have to try to figure out what is for dinner because it is a sign of our abundance. (I am not always that filled with gratitude or aware of what others lack that I have and I don't always have that kind of attitude about cooking dinner, but often.). I also think about that sometimes when I am running. Throughout history there have been relatively few people who had to seek out exercise.... Most people got exercise just through the tasks of daily living/survival.

Aly: I get things mixed up in my head too at times, that's why I love quotes that make me think through what I really feel and believe (whether it is a quote that I agree with or not...as long as it makes me stop and think). And, what I really love about you is your capability to express those thoughts and engage in conversation about all sorts of topics. There are times that I look at the home we choose to live in and I think how humble it is and that I wouldn't ever want to live in anything fancier (it's just not a priority to me), but then I think about people who this house would be a mansion to, and I wonder if my view on necessities is a bit off, haha. When you mentioned that there isn't an external pressure, I got thinking how it really is a personal choice in the way that we choose to have those pressures or not. We can choose to feel like we need something because someone else owns it (give into the pressure), or we can choose to decide for ourselves what is best for us and whether or not we need or want it, which is very empowering. At times, it is easy to get caught up in purchasing things because we see so many around us with those items, but ultimately it is our own choice. I love your thoughts on dinner :O), and exercise is a very interesting subject indeed. Life is so different now than it used to be with physical activity. You are a very balanced person, Jenny! I love having you as a friend and example.

Me: Thanks. I love having you as a friend and an example! I don't know that I always feel balanced. There are things I would like to give my kids that I don't feel like I can due mostly to time constraints and sometimes money constraints...and when I say things I don't really mean possessions...but I'd love them to be able to participate in a sport or dance...but I can't commit to any thing else, at least during the school year. I know I've told you before, but I worry about whether I spend enough time with them, especially one on one, and whether my working will have some negative consequences for them. But I do try to be protective of my time with them. I do go to book club once a month, but try hard to avoid most other evening activities. Some day I would really like to get a master's degree, but I don't want to spend so much time away from them now. Anyway, I think for all of us it can be a struggle at times to decide what is most important for our own families. And to try hard to avoid judging others' choices since we rarely, if ever, know their whole story. My dear, sweet sister wrote a beautiful blog post recently about jealousy and how crazy jealousy is. It seems like jealousy and envy and judging were huge themes in the last conference and I have thought a lot about it. I rarely get jealous of people's things...but do find that I sometimes get jealous of people's circumstances. I don't know if that makes sense, but when I'm having a bad day or feeling discouraged about my trials (which I know to be small compared to so many others!) it is easy to wish my life were more like so-and-so's life. Anyway, I think a major cure for judging, jealousy, etc. is to really seek to be grateful. So I try to consciously think about my blessings and recognize what I do have. I think I've veered way off topic of the original quote, but any way. I also try to remember that the trials we're given are to strengthen us and that the Lord is aware of us. I'm trying hard to be more aware of the times I feel the spirit and to be aware of the promptings I'm given. I know I still have a long way to go, though.

Aly: See, I think you have your kids in SO many wonderful enriching activities! And, from my point of view you spend rich quality time with them. Alfredo is also very concsious of their needs and is so involved with teaching them. You have always been a mother that I look up to and admire very much. I hope that the original quote did not come across as judgmental, because that's not the feeling I had when I posted it. It was from a video that I watched last night and got me thinking about things in my own life...you know, like replacing my front room floor because I thought the carpet was embarrassing, haha! That is typically the reason for all of the quotes that I post, they are good little reminders to myself, without much thought at all to others - quite selfish really.

Me: No I didn't think your quote came across as judgmental but just a good reminder to keep priorities in order. The whole judging stuff was aimed at me and just me thinking aloud.

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I am so blessed! I do have trials, but really I am so richly blessed that I shouldn't complain.