Friday, March 3, 2017

Me Without My Vice


It's that time of year again, when good, practicing Catholics celebrate Lent. Four forty days there is reflection, prayer, and self denial. I am not a good practicing Catholic, but I still celebrate the Lenten season.

This year I decided to give up a vice that likely harms me most: television and movies.  I am of the TV age. As a kid I probably watched at least 8 hours a day. We'd get home from school and watch cartoons, the Monkeys and Brady Bunch reruns. Then we had dinner followed by Odd Couple, MASH, and Three's Company reruns. Then it was network prime time: One Day at a Time, more MASH, Barney Miller, Happy Days and the Friday night classics, Dallas and Falcon Crest.

Sometimes we would skip prime time for replays of classic movies on another local station. This is where I was introduced to Woody Allen movies, Alfred Hitchcock, and other classics.

Television for me became a constant companion. It's not just a place to be distracted or entertained, it's a place to find comfort, because by watching TV I don't have to think of myself and my own issues. I can divorce reality one show at a time. Sometimes, even now, I allow television, now in its streaming incarnation, to hold me in place when I should be dealing with other things. I admit, it's kind of like a drug that way. Instead of coping or doing, I sit and watch. Sometimes I lay and watch.

But now for the next few weeks I'm denying myself this vice. My choices for entertainment are still many. I still have plenty of news to read, a stack of books, and many neglected chores to be done. I'll be interested to see how I re-engage without TV, and if I make it the full forty days. I wonder if this self denial will change my habits.  I have more than a few friends who live entirely without TV. Maybe I'll become like them. It's doubtful. But at least I'll (hopefully) have a bit of a mental cleanse.

Self denial I think is a good thing occasionally. It's a practice in discipline and takes us away from habits that may be harming us.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Are The Rich Just Insecure?

I have a theory about the rich. I think they are fundamentally across the board insecure. I base this belief on the fact that they are not easily satisfied. If they were they wouldn't need to be rich.

Have you ever watched one of those "Real" whom ever of what ever place reality shows? I did once, and what stayed with me was a woman who was throwing herself a birthday party and kept going on about how everything just had to be perfect. It made me wonder, why?

Why would any of us seek out a so called perfect existence, where everything is over-hyped, over-priced and over the top? Is it because what one might believe those things reflect about our worth? And if that is the case, why then would one need to reflect that much self worth? Can we not be as worthy with second hand clothes, a used but reliable car and entertainment that consists of the company of friends sharing what we have, be it food, stories or music?

I hope I can be thus satisfied with the latter, because that's what I have. I work hard, providing a service for others, and I'm not just ok with that, but proud of what I do. I try to defer any need to impress others. If someone is impressed by me I don't want it to be because I sought it out. I don't want to need admiration based on what I have, or what kind of life I lead. I just want to live simply and have a lovely life.

But for some, specifically those who perhaps didn't earn the life they portray, it seems that worth is a thing that must be proven over and over again. Again, I ask why? Why is it not enough to live in a small but comfortable house? Why is it not enough to wear clothing without much ado? What would it mean to such a person to not have everything be perfect? Does it makes them less of a person? Does their heart pump less blood? Do their eyes see less light and color? I don't think so.

What I do think is that a rush of endorphins creates a giddiness that is mistaken for satisfaction. But I don't think it's real. If it were it would last, and the rich would have no reason to consistently need more money, resources and power. If they were secure enough in themselves, they would not need so much.

From the outside, it looks like a glass that can never be full. What a horrible way to live, not because of what they seem to lack, but because of how much they lack by choosing not to give.