Monday, December 19, 2005

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately..."

“Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life?” asked Thoreau over a century ago. If only he could see America today.

I am constantly amazed at how hurried and harried we are. How overwhelmed I feel. A friend wrote me the other day of all that he needed to do and asked rhetorically “If it ever ends?” I suppose it does—when we die. What is so remarkable is all of the “time saving devices” we have invented and incorporated into our daily lives. First we have the alarm clock to make sure we artificially rise to begin our day. For me, it’s a cell phone. The cell phone is incredibly convenient and allows me to “save” time by talking while I’m in my car, at the grocery store, on the treadmill, in the shower, or multi-tasking in any number of other ways. I wonder—would I feel compelled to keep in touch with so many people on a fairly regular basis if I did not have a cell phone at my constant disposal? I know I wasn’t as nearly in communicado six years ago when my cell phone was relegated to the trunk of my car and only for emergency use. Now I can’t imagine life without it. I can’t remember the last time I went much more than 24 hours without talking to someone.

Hmm….what other time saving devices are there? Oh, the Blackberry. I’m glad to say that I’m not addicted to that as well (the law firm where I work is just now catching onto Word and e-mail). It just seems like a way for your employer to exercise control over your “personal” time as well. My friend T.H. that worked at a large firm in Atlanta received research requests via e-mail as early as 5:00 a.m. and on Sunday afternoons. Even my friends with less consuming jobs feel compelled to constantly check their e-mail.

Speaking of which, e-mail is another “convenience” I’ve come to use with a ridiculous amount of frequency. I able to keep up with a lot of friends that way—and avoid the annoying game of phone tag. I also fear that I spend well over an hour of my free time each day on the internet, whether it’s e-mailing (why have I dismissed quality conversation for quantity?) or checking out all the sites I’m compelled to visit every day like and (I’m most ashamed of that one). Hmm…internet—time saving or time suck?

I could go on and on with my rants about our self-proclaimed “progressive” inventions, but instead I think I need to reflect on how I can change my life to best use modern technology without sacrificing living. Am I really living if I send 10+ personal e-mails a day, 10+ text messages, check four e-mail accounts as well as my online banking, have 5-10 personal calls each day, watch an hour or more of TV some days, and work 40-50 hours a week? Throw in volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters and a weekly Bible study and voila the anti-thesis of one of my favorite mantras written in Walden: “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!”

I think I’ve just stumbled upon the beginnings of a New Year’s resolution….now watch me come up with some very complicated plan to make my life much more simple….Alas, I’m going to try because life is entirely too precious to not live every minute of it. And truly live it rather than rush through it, head down and stuck in a computer, cell phone, and in constant communication with others.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

"All Relationships are Controlled By the Person Who Cares Least"

Hmm…ran across this quote today, and it rang true. I’ve certainly been in relationships with an imbalance of feelings (writing the word “power” was my first instinct; that is telling, isn’t it?). Can a relationship be healthy if the members of it are on different pages? For example, if one person wants to spend more time together than the other. Or if one person wants to get married and the other hasn’t thought about it, is that relationship necessarily unhealthy? Because in that situation, the person who does not want to spend as much time together or get married has the “control.” Unless, of course, the person wanting to spend more time together or get married sets an ultimatum. Shouldn’t having to set an ultimatum be a sign?

But when you’re the person who cares the most, it’s a most desperate of feelings. And when you’re the person who cares the least, it can be hard not to abuse that situation. It’s sad to see how we treat people when they let us. Alright, just my random thought of the day. Oh, a semi-related quote from Matchbox 20: “Be my savior, and I’ll be your downfall.” That’s a promise which could easily be kept.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Pride & Prejudice

I’ve been accused of being terribly unromantic, although my brilliant friend who made this assertion believes that my affinity for sending/receiving letters and packages makes me slightly less so. I do not completely understand what his definition of a romantic is, but I can assure you that it does not comport with our culture’s skewered concept of the word. I believe my friend is referring to my logical mind, particularly when it comes to relationships. I’ve often wanted to give dates a five page questionnaire prior to our first date—trying to reduce the intangible to a test of sorts. Sure it is somewhat practical (see the success of websites like, but it is terribly unromantic to think that relationships can be reduced to some type of formula. In fact, I proved my own desired methodology wrong last May when I met a 25 year old who lives 1200 miles away and would have failed my questionnaire simply based on age and geography. Upon meeting him, my excitement/feeelings for him far outweighed these "problems." Imagine all the joy (and Inside Out Reeses) I would be missing out on if I had ignored my feelings as a result of practical considerations.

So anyway thinking about this genius friend and romance reminds me of the e-mail I received from him on Valentine’s Day. Instead of trying to explain his feelings on VD (my mother’s nomenclature for the holiday, which I find hilarious), I’m pasting a portion of an e-mail he sent me on February 14:

“With no disrespect for your cookies or cupcakes, I personally score Valentines as the nadir on the holiday score card. The crass commercialism generally makes me feel like I ate a Hamdog [a hamburger with chili, cheese, bacon, etc. that is served on a Krispy Kreme doughnut]. Perpetuating the notion of it being a barometer for romance makes it the most ironic of holidays, as I see it as the asylum of the intrinsically unimaginative and unromantic. It only wants a heart shaped tub and a bottle of cheap champagne in the Catskills to reach perfection. Forgive me the cynical venting; I had to keep a stoic stance going all day as the kids still think it's cool and I'm against jading them prematurely.”

Wow. I told you my friend is brilliant. My response did not do his e-mail justice, but just so all of your curious minds know how I feel about VD (in case you were going to send me flowers….please note: I will accept gift certificates to Spa Sydell in lieu thereof):

“Although I agree with your scathing review of Valentine's Day and have often said that it is a Hallmark created holiday promoted by florists who charge 3x their normal prices (and deliver subpar products), restaurants that are overcrowded and overextended, and the candy industry, I don't think VD is all bad. My take is that (1) any holiday on which you are encouraged to give/receive candy has some value, (2) if that is what it (sadly) takes to get some people to be nice to others, then it is better than nothing, and (3) I look good in pink, so VD provides yet another designated day on which I am to wear that color. Plus being sour grapes doesn't change anything and watching men scramble around the mall/grocery store is entertaining. So I refuse to buy cards or flowers or go to a restaurant on VD, but I still made a card for my niece and ate a few chocolates.”

Ok, anyway I originally was talking about romance. So I never go to the movies, but I actually felt compelled to see one this last weekend. Pride & Prejudice. I’ve never read the book, although I feel like I should. There are a lot of books (and museums) that I feel like I should enjoy, but I do not. Oh well. The movie was AWESOME. It was so refreshing to see a movie in which no one got naked, cussed, had sex, etc. Keira Knightley did not look as hot as usual (for my male readers), but the sentiment of the movie was lovely. I simply cannot write a review that does the movie justice, but I am pasting in a link to a fantastic article that discusses the important themes in the movie including what people are really searching for—a different kind of romance than we typically think of in our society. It’s a notion of love and romance that I find very appealing and that is much more biblical than what we are typically exposed to in popular culture.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

What I Love This Week....

"Dancin' where the stars go blue, dancin' where the evening fell..."

is the beginning of the song I've placed on repeat this week in my car (compliments of my friend Carson--Ryan Adams' CD Gold). I have so much to be thankful for, so I though I would write about what I love this week. So...this week I love that song ("When the Stars Go Blue"), wrapping Christmas gifts in newspaper (although wrapping paper is pretty, it's incredibly wasteful of both landfill space and money), mailing packages, venti upside down caramel macchiatos (and the fact that several employees at Starbucks now know my name and a special button has been added to the register for my upside down preference--they even know me when I order at the drive through--fun!), looking at photos from Thanksgiving (for example the photo of Lauren following her Aunt Ally's example and brushing her teeth), chicken caesar salad from Offbroadway, my beautifully decorated Christmas tree (thanks Sambo), asiago bagels with sun-dried tomato cream cheese, and kind of getting back into the swing of working out.

Things that I'm not that crazy about this week: the post office's hours, billing, the distance between Boston and Macon, lack of free time, being responsible, Reeses's peanut butter (what a disappointment--it's OK after a few tablespoons full with chocolate chips sprinkled on top), and leaving my cell phone charger in Calhoun and being too cheap to go buy another one.

What do you love this week?