Wednesday, December 9, 2009
And so I sit here stumped, trying to explain what seems to be inexplicable. I just don't get it. I often hear that young people just don't want to get married. That, to me, is glib and unrepresentative. Everything I have seen tells me that desire is there. In fact, it is so much there that anxiety and bitterness can start to run the show. In my experience, and we're talking Mormons and non-Mormons alike, I have been hard pressed to find somebody lacking the desire for marriage. That sentiment is definitely out there, but has been rare enough for me to discount it as a reason for explaining a broad phenomenon.
I have also heard that my generation just isn't willing to make the sacrifices that are necessary to commit to and maintain a marriage. Again, I think that may be true to a certain extent, but that aversion to sacrifices is not widespread enough to be a significant reason. Perhaps others have found it otherwise, and I would love to hear about it. Perhaps I associate with such high quality people (true!) that I miss the reality of the situation.
Other reasons for delayed and absent marriage include addiction to video games, pornography, increasing education levels among women, ease of materialism, selfishness, pride, lack of understanding about marriage, fear of failure, unrealistic expectations, negative feedback from friends and family, and on and on. The reasons behind this complexity surely cannot be explained by one reason, or even two. Even so, I feel consistently baffled by the fact that so many wonderful people who intensely desire to get married, are still single.
It makes me wonder whether it's not the marriage part that people have a problem with, but what leads up to a marriage: in a word, courtship. Is courtship a dying art? Is courtship still necessary in these times? Do we have unrealistic expectations when it comes to dating and courting? Do we shrug people off too early in the game? Are we too set on what we think we want and need, that we don't open ourselves to new possibilities? Are people getting asked out? I think it's pretty clear that our perception of love has been completely skewed by the media. We often believe that is not affecting us, but I think it may have more impact than we want to admit. Do we secretly hope and believe that love will be like in the movies? Do we not appreciate the work that goes into any relationship? Do we over-emphasize a first date? Are we too prideful to take a chance on somebody if we don't immediately feel something for them?
I am really grappling with this. If anybody is still reading this blog (since I never post...), PLEASE let me know what you think.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
... Well, you can see I will be happily engaged.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I am not made for the office. The office breaks me. Breaks me slowly, but breaks me the same. It shows, perhaps not to the outside world, but to me. Things that used to astonish and grate at integrity become part of the accepted undertone of the office . Things I swore I'd always do, no matter what the circumstance, well. Immune to weather, hands smooth - not calloused, conversations removed from the converser, eyes glazed with computer, limbs unused and wasting, parceled work and play, sunshineless cells, world revolving around a world.
Really, I cannot accept that I am the only one who feels this way. I don't think man is made for the office. Man wants to create, to use hands, to connect with the land, to be part of something larger. And yet so many of us are caught in this fabricated world that is office life. I don't want to find myself old and softened by office living. But what to do?
"I'm off to the subway
I must not be late.
Going to work in tall buildings.
Now when I retire
and my life is my own
I made all the payments
it's time to go home
and wonder what happened
betwixt and between
when I went to work in tall buildings"
-Tall Buildings, John Hartford
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
"No, you’re wrong there—quite wrong there. The bank is something else than men. It
happens that every man in a bank hates what the bank does, and yet the bank does it.
The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It's the monster. Men made it, but they can't control it."
"But let a man get property he doesn’t see, or can’t take time to get his fingers in, or can’t be there to walk on it—why, then the property is the man. He can't do what he wants, he can't think what he wants. The property is the man, stronger than he is. And he is small, not big. Only his possessions are big—and he's the servant of his property. That is so, too."
Monday, September 14, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
"Pull back and look down, then look into his eyes. If he liked the kiss you'll most likely kiss again. Look at his lips, he will get the signal you want more!"
And, a thought in parting from the Ladies Home Journal (1948): "It takes a lot of experience for a girl to kiss like a beginner."
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Civic has sat in our driveway for months, neglected, unwanted, decomposing before our eyes. Yet in a Mahana-like turn of events, suddenly Civic has become desperately wanted, even coveted. Without even the advantage of Craig's list marketing, Civic has managed to muster up several suitors in just 2 days. Men have been checkin her out something fierce. She has experienced aggressive courting, men fighting over her, offers of love affairs, and ever increasing monetary promises.
Today we came home to a note of last resort:
"I would like to buy your (love) but you talked to another guy about it [unfaithful!]. I will give you *$800* cash for your (love) [money talks] and I won't even talk to the other man about it [intrigues pique interest]. It will just be between you and me [baby, oh baby]. Call me as soon as you can [sold!]. I have cash. Tonight!"
Oh, to have the suitors of a run-down Civic.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
During the pony swim, approx. 40,000 visitors wait along what many say is an "extremely over crowded shoreline". Large numbers of people wait for many long hours in an area far from the swim where the restrooms are located. There are no restrooms close to the swim since it is a tidal marsh.
People say that the best way for you to experience the wild ponies of Assateague Island is to just: "Go any other time during the season. That's when you can see them best. You can see the herds of wild ponies where they live along the island on the boat nature tour that runs from May 16th thru Oct 11th"... If you are still interested in seeing the Annual Pony Swim, there is also a special charter to get a much closer view of the Chincoteague wild pony swim (limited seats).
Um, what? Which competitor hacked into their system?
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I often feel torn between competing "goods." As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I have made covenants of consecration to God. These covenants motivate me to serve those around me - to give of my talents and time. I feel that serving and giving freely of my time - essentially turning over everything I have to the Lord - brings me great joy and fulfillment. But a person cannot give all the time. There are times when you give more, and other times when you receive more; but no matter the stage, everybody needs to take time to fill themselves and tend to their own needs. The struggle I experience is defining the point where my own pursuits are selfish. I guess it is a matter of dividing needs from wants, but that division for me is ever-elusive.
I think of Martha who was doing praiseworthy, good things: "cumbered about much serving." In a very real sense, she was providing service to God. But, as Elder Oaks mentions, her service at that moment wasn't the best thing she could be engaging in. Meanwhile, Mary sat at Christ's feet, learning about the gospel. She was filling herself and increasing her spiritual capacity. While not degrading the value or importance of what Martha was doing, Christ guided her, saying "One thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part."
So, what is that needful thing? Elder Oaks said, "just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it... Make sure that the essential needs are met, but do not go overboard in creating so many good things to do that the essential ones are not accomplished." I completely agree, but conflict creeps in as I apply the principle. It could very well be self-fabricated conflict, non-existent in reality. For example, if on a given evening I arrive at the conclusion that it is essential to devote time to myself, and deem an opportunity for service as just good, is that all right? Knowing that in every circumstance the needful will vary, could that decision be classified as choosing the needful, or is it selfish? Is doing so contradicting my covenant to give all I have, including my time and effort, to God?
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
If we're dissatisfied with society, who is to blame really? We live in a democracy, which doesn't function properly when people forfeit their involvement in it. Again, it is easy to rationalize inaction, because it isn't clear how going to a local community meeting can impact national policies. But the grand is composed of minutia. We cannot fairly blame big politicians if we are not fulfilling our civic duties. We can become disillusioned or we can get involved in our communities.
Historian Richard McCormick wrote about the final years of the nineteenth century, but it sounds suspiciously like what we are confronting now: "Amid hard times, many Americans questioned the adequacy of their institutions and wondered whether democracy and economic equality were possible in an industrial society. Answering these questions with hope and hard work, some men and women began to experiment with new methods for solving the problems at hand. Hundreds poured their energies into settlement houses where they lived and worked among the urban poor. From their pulpits a new generation of ministers sought to make Christianity relevant to this world, not only the next, by aligning their churches actively on the side of the disadvantaged. Across the country the movement for municipal reform entered a new phase as businessmen and professionals tried to reach beyond their own ranks and enlist broad support for varied programs of urban improvement. Women's clubs increasingly turned their attention from discussing literature to addressing social problems."
So, as we face our own looming problems with the economy, malfunctioning systems, and a broken people: how will we solve the problems? What will our contribution be? Not, "who is to blame for this mess?" and "what will the politicians do to fix this?" but "what responsibility do we, as members of a democracy, bear in both the creation and resolution of these problems?" This is not to say that government and politicians do not have an important role to play; it is simply to say that we also have a critical role to play. We cannot sit idly by.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
1. You will never get married
2. You will have to marry a very old man
3. You will have to marry a very ugly man
4. You will have to marry a (gasp) divorced man
Or, some horrific combination of the above. So, for all you very old, ugly men out there: I'm available!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
Meanwhile, at the office, we're working on our anti-smoking mass media campaign. We're sitting around the table discussing the pre-testing results and which logo would best convey the following ideas: “It's against the law to smoke in public places” and “Second-hand smoke is harmful to the health of those around you.” Mid conversation, our media team grab their cigarettes, put them in their mouths, and start to light up. Hmmm... guess the campaign isn't quite having the effect we'd like it to have. Well, “slowly, slowly” as they say here.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
What struck me was how hard working they all were - the endless amount they were willing to give for a cause they cared about. For all intents, the tasks before them were insurmountable. Yet they carried on with singularity of purpose. Men sacrificed years away from families, their health, their lives. Women were left alone to work the farms, take care of sick and dying children, fend off invaders, suffer from loneliness. They knew how and were willing to work for long, often indefinite periods of time, to enjoy their desired end result.
I often wonder if we have that same know-how, perseverance and willingness to pay the price for what we want. Speaking of Americans, I'm not sure we have the patience or a large enough dose of that quaint little virtue called hard work. It's interesting, though, because in some ways, I view Americans as an insanely workaholic people - but that's typically in the workplace. That kind of hard work often entails longer and longer hours - working for the sake of working rather than working hard and determinately to achieve a goal or desire.
Lack of true hard work, the immediacy of results, and the unchecked fulfillment of desires are at the root of many problems today. These things impede our ability to appreciate what we get. Ingratitude and undervaluing, in turn, affect the way we treat others and the things around us. Little effort with big returns causes a discordance that perhaps we are uncomfortable with at a basic level. For example, to communicate with one another, all we have to do these days is type a few words and press a button. The ease of communicating is wonderful, but can also cause us to undervalue our communication with each other. We can become casual or even recalcitrant in our relationships. Our lack of patience breeds impatience, while our lack of hard work engenders higher expectations.
I think part of the struggle is finding a way to use and appreciate the things that make life easier, while still maintaining a strong work ethic and being deliberate about valuing the things we have.