Archives for posts with tag: take another look

We are each having our own experience. As true in this calm moment as in any moment of chaos. 🙂 I sip my morning coffee, already cold because I got caught up in listening to music, and chatting with a friend online. I don’t mind. The music – and the friendship – are very much worth my time.

I sit here contentedly musing over the conversations of the week behind me, and the evening, last night. It was an excellent first week at the new job. It resonates pleasantly in my memory. My Traveling Partner and I worked out plans to do with benefit selections, and changes to the budget for the year to come. No stress, anxiety, even though the topic was definitely to do with money. I smile and let myself recognize the growth that experience implies – and the healing. I’ve come along way with myself, and savoring that awareness is, itself, a form of growth and healing. 🙂

At one point, we decided to watch a couple of videos that intend to contrast “get ahead habits” with “fall behind habits”. Both had excellent content, in some regards. Both were also deeply flawed, depending on context, perspective, and framing. This presented a challenge for me; I was viewing them from an awareness of other experiences that made some of the points in these videos… problematic. For one thing, I’ve told you that these were videos about getting ahead versus falling behind, but the content creators don’t actually frame them up that way at all; they say the videos are about “poor people” versus “rich people”. I found that, frankly, highly objectionable, and it kept getting in my way of my ability to listen deeply to the actual points being made, which in several cases had real value. More than anything, the implicit definition of “rich” as de facto equivalent with “successful”, “deserving”, or “good”, and of “poor” in a litany of negative ways presented with a shaming tone was super aggravating. The videos were purposefully made with a very particular demographic in mind; people who want to get ahead in life, from where they are right now. Rich versus poor is a common enough false dichotomy in our culture, and it’s also not uncommon to blame poor people for poverty, or to treat rich people as though they are also ethical, and deserving. I just also think it’s fucking mean to take that approach.

Here’s the thing, though; the content has value. The points being made were not in error, generally. The points were merely drastically over-simplified, lacking in nuance, and stripped of context – in order to make those points more obvious to an audience that may not understand. The terms “rich” and “poor” weren’t being defined with any clarity to provide context – rich is rich, and in the videos no distinction is made between wealth gained through ill means (fraud, theft, exploitation), inheritance, or good fortune, and wealth gained through skillful endeavors. Actually, and I think it is what was annoying me most, the videos very carefully imply that all wealth gained is a goodness, and eschew any discussion of ethics. Same with poverty. The content providers allow an implication that enduring poverty rests on the decision-making of the poor, without even a hat tip to misfortune, institutional racism, or the very real limitations our culture has placed on people’s access to the tools and knowledge that might ease their scramble from poverty to… not being held back by poverty. The content only has two options: rich or poor. No discussion of middle-class success… or any discussion of success versus wealth – conflating cash hoarding with success in life tends to lock out viewers who might see success quite differently than a mountain of cash.

I watched them again this morning, and considered the points from many angles, allowing myself to “talk back” to the faceless narrator. I got more from them the second time through. I still think the content could have been more nuanced, deeper, more authentic, and more informed by explicit discussion of ethics, success, and happiness “metrics” that are more legitimate than a bank balance. I ask too much; the content provider knows their trade. I am not their audience – I am an eavesdropper gleaning something useful from a discussion that doesn’t have much to do with me, really. The target audience may not have the will or interest in also learning to live well, behave ethically, be their best selves, and treat others (and the world) well. They aren’t there yet. They just don’t want to be poor. An understandable position to take, and I hope they succeed at escaping poverty.

I hear my Traveling Partner stir in the other room. The weekend is here. I smile and finish my cold coffee. It’s time to begin again. 😀

The morning is well underway, and it is generally pleasant – coffee and jazz. I hadn’t intended to write, but finding my thoughts pulled back into a particular source of work stress in advance of the day, I decided to make a point of starting the morning from a different perspective.

I'll begin again.

I’ll begin again.

Different thinking leads to different choices, and different actions – how could it be otherwise? I can choose my thinking, and that’s a good place to begin.

I start with something easy and spend some minutes thinking about what I’ve got that works so well – small things work for this – I smile when I recall finding the small-sized food processor from a well-made brand, on sale, and in a color that suited my decor and my taste. I laugh realizing I’ve not yet used it. I listen more attentively to the music. I smile, enjoying the good quality stereo and the lifetime of experience and music that allowed me to select it with such care. It was a great way to treat myself well when I bought these speakers. I can see down the short hallway into my bedroom. I love that I have already made the bed and the view is tidy, orderly, and I can see a picture of my beloved on my nightstand. This is a good start to the day.

Now I can move on to the hard stuff – work stress. Work stress sucks. For me, it sucks just as much because it’s only fucking work in the first place – what right does it have to encroach on my time? lol I take a few minutes to think appreciatively to have a job at all, and to have one that pays adequately for my general needs. I remind myself that I’m not standing outside in the heat or in the rain, breaking my body over manual labor. Climate control. Indoor plumbing. A well-stocked break room. The work is not physically difficult or physically demanding. I’m salaried. So – yeah. All of that is worth being grateful for. The rest is just… small stuff. What I don’t do today, I will go in and do tomorrow – and the national security is not at stake, and no one is hurt if there is an error in a spreadsheet. Hell, this work has limited scope, limited impact, and trust me – limited importance. So what’s to stress over? The emotion of the moment? Fuck – it’s not worth all that. lol

It can be so easy to get caught up. It rarely feels as easy to let go. There are definitely verbs involved.

Yeah. Now I’m ready. 🙂