Blogging, Everyday, minimalism, Vegan

Was the Grinch a conspiracy theroist?

Have the holidays turned into a huge conspiracy theory?

I have learned a lot about how certain ideas and industries really work, rather than from the way that they are perceived in real life, from being a vegan.  I won’t go too far into that, but I don’t believe that all the facts, are always presented, all the time to the public.  And as consumers, we tend to place our heads in the sand when it comes to the things we enjoy doing, having, eating or pursuing.  Sure lots of things are “bad for you” but how many of those things do we choose to still enjoy anyways?  From foods, to alcohol, cigarettes and drugs of all kinds (legal and illegal); we want what we want and sometime we choose to look the other way even if we have an inkling that those things may not be what’s best for us.

After having many realizations that everything isn’t always as it seems, my mind often gets lost and I find myself thinking on a deeper level then ever before.  Just the other day, my family and I were in the car, on the way to dinner listening to Christmas music on the radio.  As I was listening and singing along I had a profound thought:

What if the government has hidden subliminal messages in all of our classic holiday songs that encourage us to buy more?

I know that is a pretty crazy notion, but what a genius way to trigger us to spend more… and more… and even more.  A way to boost the economy at the end of the year, so that when tax time comes around the rich get richer, the lobbyist dig deeper and you and I are none the wiser because we are all waiting to get our tax returns to pay off our holiday debts.

It would be the perfect ploy.  Think about it:  we are taught holiday carols pretty much from the time we could understand them.  We are trained like little monkeys when we are in school to perform them for our families.  And in all that time we were being programmed to always want more.

As children we  learn to associate the holidays with receiving gifts.  We are excited by the commercials on TV and the ads online and can’t wait for our moment with Santa (and what better place should Santa be stationed then in the local shopping mall).  Even children with the best upbringing are hoping to get more stuff.  And parents these days find it harder and harder to say no.  So they work more and more while little Johnny is left home alone not understanding any of it.  The greatest gift that any child needs is for their parents to be present in their lives.  I know when I look back at my life, I don’t think about the gifts that I got, but instead about the time I spent with my family (some of whom are no longer with us).  The traditions that we had and the memories that we created.  Sure I remember the year that I got the Inspector Gadget doll that I really wanted, but I would trade that in a second if I could just have spent one more Christmas with my dad now.  Just one more holiday together with the people I lost over the years.  But I digress…

I know there will be some parents who will say that they have taught their children the “real” meaning behind whatever holiday their family celebrates.  But let’s get real for a second mom and dad of the year.  If you were to ask most kids what they looked forward to during the holidays, I can bet 90% would say the toys and/or gifts they received score way above spending time in church with their second aunt that they see once a year.  I mean how many kids do you know that actually want to celebrate the holidays for what they are “supposed to be” rather than what they have become?  That magical day, that for a lot of children, all their materialistic dreams come true wrapped up with colorful paper and ribbons.  Sure some children will have it better than others, but what is the real toll that those gifts have played on their families?  How many extra hours did mom and dad have to work to get little Johnny the most sought after “what-cha-ma-call-it-imal” so that in a month or two it could be shoved in the corner and forgotten about, then trashed or hopefully donated?

Was that really the best use of time and money from parent to child?

Then, as an adult there is a shift.  You go from the receiver to the gift giver.  Feeling that you have to give bigger and better every year to “keep up with the Joneses”.  Blue collar consumers have to work harder and longer the rest of the year just to give gifts that many will forget about or re-gift to someone next year so that they can instead buy that Black Friday TV for themselves.  And the circle goes on and on while Bing Crosby plays softly in the background.  The triggers come into to the radio earlier and earlier and stores stay open longer and longer.  But your holiday bonus gets smaller and smaller while interest rates climb and you fall deeper and deeper into debt.

I am by no means an anti-holiday person.  And I love giving and receiving an awesome gift as much as the next person.  But as I get older (and try to live a more intentional life through minimalism) I just can help but shake my head at the Black Friday crowds I see on TV.  And I am disgusted by the stores that are open on Thanksgiving.  And for the love of all that is holy, please stop playing holiday music right after Halloween!  I feel like the holidays should be a time that we all slow down a little and really reflect on our lives and loved ones.  Life is too short to be waiting in line, in a tent, in front of Best Buy at 3pm on Thanksgiving day just to buy a TV that was probably already marked up so high in the first place that when the price drop on Black Friday the only person really winning in the end is Mr. Samsung himself.  Not you, nor the poor employee that is working and missing time with their family.

And so many wonder why the family system is falling apart.  Maybe the Millennial’s have the right idea after all?  Not wanting to have children and instead choosing to spend their money on living in the moment instead of for the moment you remove the plastic film from the newest fruit phone.  Some people probably spend more time with their electronic devices then their actually living and breathing family members and friends.  Or if they are spending time with their loved ones, everyone is sitting around the dinner table like zombies paying homage to their little blue screens.  Scrolling through websites or pinning the next best thing that will “make them happy”.  The next best thing.  But I digress….. again.

Anyways, just a long and drawn out thought.  I hope everyone reading this has a great holiday however you and your loved one’s choose to celebrate (or not celebrate) it.  Just live every moment like it could be your last because you never get a chance to do today over again.  And no one really needs a hippopotamus for any reason, they can be mean SOB’s!

 

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Everyday, minimalism

Feeling grateful

Last night before I went to bed, I watched a Facebook live feed from Jason Wrobel.  The headline for the feed was “praying for what you don’t want”.  Jason talked about how so many times we tend to focus our thoughts on the bad things that are happening or could be happening in the future to us.  These thoughts are manifested into stress and anxiety and really do us no good at all.  They leave us inadvertently “praying for what you don’t want”.  Instead, he suggested that we be thankful for the things we have been blessed with in our everyday lives.  As well as to be genuinely happy for others and the things they have been blessed with.  Instead of judging people or being jealous of their gains, we should embrace them.  The more we embrace these things the more likely we are to bring those same joys and gains into our own lives.

Yesterday, I also starting reading a book called:  “Citizen Thoreau” by Henry David Thoreau.  It is a collection of Thoreau’s greatest short stories.  I know I am probably a little behind the times with discovering Thoreau.  I have heard over and over again that a lot of his work was required reading in high school and college.  Maybe he and I have crossed paths before, but I cannot recall.  In high school was probably not interested in his work because I hadn’t yet grown enough to really understand the world around me, as so many of us hadn’t at such a young age.  The main story that I was interested in is titled “Walden“.  I have only just started into it, but Thoreau touches on what our basic needs are as humans and how we forget just how little we actually require to live a fruitful and peaceful life.  We need shelter of course, and food.  Along with those things we need heat.  Heat to cook our food, warm our homes (shelters) and really not too much else.  But we live our day-to-day, working for so much more.  More luxury.  More things.  More than we ever could really ever need.  We trade our time, our lives, just to attain more stuff.

I learned of Thoreau through another set of people who I have been following, The Minimalist.  I have mentioned The Minimalist in a prior blog and have really been avid follower of them.  I have learned so much about living with less and because of that, being so much more grateful for all the things I already have in my life.  And a lot of these “things” are not things at all.

So, I woke up this morning and I got to thinking about all of the “riches” I have in my life;  that my husband and I share together.  So here I am.  I am even grateful for the fact that these thoughts brought me here today to share them with all of you.  I haven’t spent nearly as much time as I used to on my blog and that does sadden me.  I’m hoping to turn that around soon.  Today the fire was lit under me.  After having all these thoughts I just felt inspired to write.  Like if I hadn’t I would have regretted it and that was not how I wanted to choose to start my day or weekend.  So below is a list of everything (well probably not everything) that I feel grateful for today.  I hope by sharing this, maybe someone else, that maybe in a bad spot, may realize that they live a richer life then they once believed?

I am grateful for my husband.  He is a hard worker and has an amazing job.  He loves to provide for us and loves and cares very deeply for me.  We may not always get along or see things the same way but overall I know he is a wonderful man and I love growing with him everyday.

I am grateful for my friends.  I have a very (very) small group of friends but they are more like family to me.  And even though I may not spend a lot of time with them (I am more introverted in that way) I always feel like we just pick up right were we left off and that they have my back no matter what.

I am grateful for my fur-babies.  I have a wonderful cat named Sammi.  She and her sister Raspberry (who we had to say goodbye to about two months ago) have been the best little babies I could have ever asked for.  They followed me through the last 13 years of my life.  They have always been there through the good and the bad and I have always tried to do the best for them in return.  I cannot imagine life without pets.  I also have a rabbit that I love dearly.  I never thought I would be a mommy bunny but she came to us by the powers of the universe and I am glad to have her.  We are also adopting two sisters kittens next week that we are very excited about adding to our family.  We miss Raspberry dearly, but we also have too much love to give to another animal that it just seems right to give a home to these little girls.

I am grateful for our home.  We have a little condo on the very northwestern edge of Austin.  It has been the first place that I have lived in the past 13 years that has truly felt like home.  It is small by todays standards, but it is cozy and filled with love.

I am grateful for my job.  I have had many jobs in the past that I have loved, but this is the first one that I really feel like I am apart of.  I work for a small business that is steadily growing.  My boss and his business partner have been wonderful to me over the past year.  Being the only employee has been great.  Having the freedom to set my own schedule has been priceless and feeling like I am apart of something in its infant stages is wonderful.  I am so glad that I can be apart of helping it to grow.

I am grateful for my parents.  Just because they are lower on this list, doesn’t mean they have less value to me.  I could not be who I am today without them.  They have supported me with their love throughout my whole life.  They have guided me but have always let me choose which path to take at the fork.  I love them so dearly couldn’t have asked for a better two people to call mom and dad.  It makes me so sad when I hear other people say they are not close to their parents.  I cannot imagine my life in those circumstances, so again I say how grateful I am for them.

I am grateful for the money that we have in our savings.  I know that money is not everything.  I do not wish to be “rich” and money does not make you more powerful (at least not in my eyes).  But having a good foundation does make our everyday life a little less stressful.  It allows us to have the roof we have over our heads and the food we put in our mouths.  It allows us to care for the fur-babies that depend on us for literally their whole wellbeing.  We have dependable cars and can afford to eat a good meal for every meal of the day.  It keeps our house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  It allows me the means to write this very blog on my computer using our internet.  I try to be as humble as possible when it comes to money.  I try not to let it rule my every decision and by living with less, I worry less about it.

I am grateful for my health.  I really try to do the best that I can for my body and health. I try to eat the best foods that I can afford and not waste.  I am vegan, which has to do with my health as well as the health of every living creature on this planet.  I try not to take my health for granted.  I love sweets but I try to remember that everything is better in moderation.  I always remind myself that you cannot out-run your fork and not to reward myself like a dog!  I consider myself a runner and attribute a lot of my good health to that passion.  And by learning to live a more meaningful life, I believe my health will improve even more.

I’m sure there are a lot more things that I take for granted that I am grateful for.  There are people in my life that provide services to my husband and I that I am very grateful for like our therapist and our vet clinic, hell even my hairdresser!

We sometimes forget that it can take a village to really learn how to grow.  That has become a sad fact in the past 10-15 years.  I feel like as humans, with the technology that we have available to us, have lost touch with each other.  I am grateful that I have learned of so many great leaders, life coaches, bloggers, etc. via the internet but at the same time I find myself feeling more distance from actually human interaction more than ever.  We are probably all guilty of this.  It is easier to sign onto social media and keep in touch with our “friends” through text and “likes” then it is to just sit down and have lunch or tea together.  But this form of communication can feel cold and impersonal.  I think as a planet we all need to come together for the greater good of humanity.  That’s a pretty bold statement but the sense of community is slowly disappearing and that is a very lonely thought.

So be grateful for all that you have and really dig deep and reach out to the people and places that are important to you.  Don’t take anything for granted and learn to live a more intentional life.

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