Tag Archives: politics

The (Elusive) Simple Life

I want to live a simple life, I really do.  But sometimes it just seems to be a pipe dream.  There is always something coming along to derail my plans, efforts, and progress. It is so easy to get distracted and forget my accomplishments, or fail to realize I have alternatives.

I feel like I am always working on my 100 plus year old house.  For every repair or project I finish, there’s always another and another and another.  On the other hand, I’ve gotten a lot done.  I’ve insulated, re-sided, and re-roofed the place.  My big projects before winter are to finish some foundation repairs and replace a couple windows.  Everything else is sheet rock, paint, and cabinetry with a little easy plumbing thrown in.  So, maybe it’s not so bad.

I’ve been trying to avoid getting wrapped up political issues, as it just raises my blood pressure and little else.  The problem is that no matter where I turn, I’m inundated with the scandal-du-jour.  It transcends party lines and geography.  I find as much political annoyance locally as I do at the national level, with no end in sight some days.  On the other hand, there is so much in life which brings me peace and joy.  My church, my friends, my family, my pets, my exercising, my hobbies, and so on.   When the political dross shows up in my Facebook feed, TV or e-mail I can just scroll past, change the channel, or hit “delete”.

On balance, there are many more things in my positive column than my negative column.  I just need to learn to adjust my focus.

There is something good in every day.

I Choose What To Consume

I don’t know about you but I get really tired, really fast listening to the news lately.  I don’t care which side of the political spectrum with which you align yourself, the bitterness and rancor that permeates the radio and television these days is unlike anything I’ve experienced in my 57 years on this planet.  So I have mostly stopped letting the broadcast media rent space in my head and heart for free.

I no longer watch the news on TV in the morning.  I mean really, who likes to start their day pissed off?  Not me!  In the evening I watch a local affiliate for local stuff.  To get national news, I read the online versions of state newspapers  as well as those of the New York Times and the Washington Post.  The advantage of this is simply that I choose what I consume.  When I’m in my truck I either listen to a classical music station or my collection of Success Magazine audio interviews.  I certainly avoid talk radio, even on NPR, because without fail they are all biased in some manner.

What it all comes down to at the end of the day, is that I have decided that I will control what goes into my head, much like I choose to control what I eat and drink.  In both cases, I avoid consuming toxic materials.



Back on Track

This has been an unusually rancorous political season up here in Maine.  Amongst other issues, there has been the looming shadow of a State government shutdown due to a totally messed up budget and a petulant governor.  As a result I have been keeping a close watch on my finances since I work for the State.  We went through a 16 day shutdown back in 1991, and it was not fun.  Fortunately, it looks like another shutdown will be avoided.

But over the past couple of weeks, I have been reminded that I need much less to get along with than I thought.  It’s easy to fall into old habits of consumption without realizing it.  For example, I’d fallen back into the habit of stopping at the supermarket on the way home from work each day.  It’s far better to do one thoughtful trip to buy groceries per week, than to do unplanned, impulse-driven shopping.  Plus, if I just go shopping once per week, that is a chore that I don’t have to contend with for the rest of the week!

I am back on track as far as my buying habits are concerned.  Do I feel bad about backsliding a bit?  No, I don’t because my efforts at simplicity are not oriented to a one-time-only outcome.  It’s a constant process of  evaluating my habits and my perspective.  As the conditions around me change, so too do my perceptions and reactions.  That’s life in a nutshell, after all!

Too many unplanned shopping trips adds up to excess consumption!

Too many unplanned shopping trips adds up to excess consumption!