In my last column, I suggested that we cling to our old ways of doing things because we need to feel comfortable. I questioned whether new, unfamiliar ways of doing things might be threatening.
I thought about these suppositions all week, and in response, I here are my present conclusions.
When I lived in Illinois, I had to declare a party affiliation in order to register to vote. Now that I have moved to Washington state, I have been told that this declaration of Party affiliation is unnecessary.
This change from my old method of voting along Party lines has me thinking more critically. My recent study of both party’s platforms poses an enigma: I find both parties have become pretty much the same, so my old way of voting straight ticket is no longer a given and, now, I do not wish to vote for either party.
I suppose it feels a little unfamiliar to not be affiliated with a political party at my age, but rather than feel threatened I am feeling liberated. I can now embrace a new way of voting – as an Independent.
As an employee, I earned a comfortable salary. When I went to the store for groceries, I looked for anything new to try and shopping was a pleasure trip for new taste experiences.
However, as a retired person I have very limited funds, so shopping for groceries has become a challenge. Given my proclivity toward organics and fresh whole foods, I find this unfamiliar territory a bit threatening.
However, a new way of looking at this issue has presented itself. I now have the responsibility to put into practice some of the ideas I have been dreaming about: I now must act decisively on my intention to grow some of my own food.
In addition, I must also seek out ways in which I can purchase local, inexpensive produce from farmer’s markets and local farms, as well as learning to can that produce for future use. I’ll have to stretch my food dollars as creatively as possible.
For most of my adult life I have purchased a new vehicle every five years. When the car loan on my vehicle was paid in full, I would turn around and use that vehicle for a down payment on the next one. That way, I always had a car payment, but also, every five years I had a new car.
As a retired person I now have to come to terms with the fact that I am not generating enough income to purchase a new car. Now, I have to take really good care of my present vehicle so that it last’s as long as possible.
This situation would be very threatening because as a woman who does not know much about cars, I have always felt more secure with the dependability of a newer vehicle.
There is however, something good to be said about this new situation. In a short while, I won’t have to make a car payment!
The day may even come when I decide that I don’t want the burden of a car at all.
No car. No car insurance. No gas…but then, no independence either.
This is a big one.
I’ve always prided myself on being independent. But now that I am really thinking about this, is it really being independent when one has a job, good salary, healthcare, a home, good food, and dependable transportation?
I was totally dependent on the system, on a job. If I lost my job I would have none of those things nor have that feeling of independence.
Retiring is extremely unfamiliar and threatening because now I cannot fool myself into thinking that I am so independent. Now I know for certain that I am dependent – on Social Security. This leads me to the core issue: Loss of independence is uncomfortable, unfamiliar and threatening.
We are all part of a family, a neighborhood, a planet, and as such, are any of us really independent? Is there a better way?
In these terrible economic times, so many people have lost their jobs, had their homes sink into foreclosure, and don’t have enough food for themselves or their family. So many depend on their own two feet to take them where they need to go.
Embracing “Interdependence” as a new way of being is a truer reflection of what makes humans feel comfortable, non-threatened and at home.
I can ask for help when I need it and I can offer a hand when one is needed of me. I can share a meal or a ride with someone, and I can open my heart and accept this new way of being with grace.
In conclusion, I have decided that old familiar ways, although difficult to give up can become wonderful new ways.
© 2011 Paula Morris
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