Beth's Ponderings Aren’t you glad we live in the 21st century with all of our gadgets and technology? Just imagine how difficult - in fact, practically impossible - it would be for us to complete so many of our daily tasks if we didn’t have our umpteen modern appliances and gadgets. Yet, “Labour-saving machinery only creates endless and worse labour.” - J.R.R. Tolkien Don’t believe me, then ask yourself this...what are our lives really like now with all this technology? Yes, it took all day to wash clothes by hand in a hot tub of water, with a scrub brush and scrub board, however, there was less to wash. The average family - even if there were a lot of children - generally had one good outfit (Sunday, parties, weddings, or funerals) and their every day outfit (which they wore more than one day in a row!) and a work/chore outfit. So, while it looks like we’ve gained with our washing machines and dryers, complete with all the latest bells and whistles, we haven’t really as we just stuff our closets, and then those washing machine, with more and more clothes. Laundry is an endless task now, as we spend more time washing some outfits than we do actually wearing them! The same is true of our homes. It used to be possible to completely clean a home with a pail of water, a scrub brush and a broom. Once vacuum cleaners became the norm, and now our Swiffers and the like, our homes have gotten larger and larger. It is almost like we needed to justify having the convenience, and thus complicated our lives more. And, let’s not forget telephones! Gone are the days when you had to walk next door to talk to your neighbour. Do any of you remember when we used to get into the car (or sneak into the bathroom) to get away from the ringing phone? Now phones are everywhere, and are considered so vital to existence, for more than just talking to someone. Technology, in and of itself, isn’t bad. It does help us in numerous ways and makes life easier. Yet, we have, as a society, negated so many of those benefits by filling our lives so full of stuff and information.
Beth's Ponderings “I can’t afford __(fill in the blank__” How many times do you say that in a day? In a week? In a month? Do you say that about small items, or just big-ticket ones? Frivolous wants, or actual needs such as food and shelter? I recently read that we shouldn’t say we can’t afford something. Instead, we should say we “choose not to have” something. I’m sure you can think of at least one instance where you didn’t have the money for something you really needed or wanted, and yet you moved heaven and earth to get it. You may have borrowed the money, worked a extra job, or even traded something else to get it. The truth is that if we really truly wanted whatever it was, and valued it enough, we would find a way to obtain it. That’s the key - value it enough. It’s not enough to just want something or desire it. It has to also match up with our internal values. It has to be something that is vitally important to us. This is true of everything in our lives, not just the items we purchase. If you value education, you will find a way to obtain it even if you don't go to university or trade school. If you value employment, you will find a way to get a job even if it means taking a salary cut, taking a different career path, or working as a volunteer or intern to acquire some experience in your chosen field. If you value family and friends, you will arrange your schedule to accommodate them and make decisions that will foster those relationships. If you truly value yourself, you will choose to take the necessary steps to take care of your wellbeing such as scheduling downtime, doing things that you enjoy doing, and making healthy habits part of your daily life. The interesting thing that happens when you choose to follow your values, and not what the crowd (aka “they”) says, is that affording what you want becomes effortless. It only becomes hard work when you don’t really want it.