Clutter

Clutter

I recently watched a documentary on clutter.  First of all, I must admit that I was pleased that I don’t have the level of clutter in the houses that were shown.  These were typical American homes; however, these weren’t hoarders, just the usual clutter that we’ve probably all seen.  You know, where you can’t walk anywhere except in the ally-ways that have been made.  None of these houses looked like that.  So, they weren’t talking about the extreme clutter.  Just the mostly normal amount of clutter that most families live with on a daily basis.

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However, while I was watching the documentary I was wondering what the effect on people is from just having the “normal” amount of American clutter.  Some of the information that I found includes weight-gain, stress, sleeping problems and anxiety.  This I can believe, since even though I don’t have the amount of clutter I saw in some of those houses, I do have more than my fair share – and it drives me crazy.

While I have no ambition to become a minimalist, I do want to stream-line my life.  I know that I’ve got too much.  Who really needs thirty or so journals? Well, apparently, I do, since I keep buying them.  Or how about twenty or so plastic and stainless steel drinking bottles?  Yes, even though I’ve gone through them, gotten rid of a bunch, somehow, I’ve managed to end up with more of them.  Seriously people?  Do we really need more?

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So, my project for the next few months so going to be getting rid of the clutter.  Have you done this?  How did it work out for you?  And, if you accomplished this goal, have you seen any differences in how you feel?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

Individualism

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In school, we learned all about “individualism” which according to Webster, is a doctrine where the interests of the individual are paramount, and the individual is totally self-reliant.  I was taught this theory by way of understanding that those who went west (“Go West, Young Man!) were the living symbol of this theory, since they were supposedly self-reliant, made it on their own, and were self-made men.  Except this never made any sense to me, because as a child I read the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and was aware that no one who went west “made it” on their own.  Houses were collectively raised, crops were collectively brought in and help was there even if it was ten miles away.  Yes, the Laura Ingalls Wilder books were a fiction, however, the fiction was based on facts.  And, the facts proved this theory as a fiction.  Read Laura’s autobiography Pioneer Girl which tells a much different story regarding the help that these pioneers gave each other.

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So why is this myth so popular and enduring?  My cynical thoughts on this are that it’s convenient to use as a way to insist that Americans historically “pulled themselves up by their bootstraps” by themselves.  However, even our first colonies were created by group effort – otherwise they all would have starved.  Individualism is a lie of massive proportions as shown by our elected officials insistence that: education, health care and a living wage are not rights of citizens.  They often insist that our ancestors were all self-made men, and in order for anyone to succeed, all we have to do, regardless of background, education or opportunities, is to work hard. That way, when people don’t make it, we can blame them.

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Therefore, even though plenty of people work two jobs, it’s still their fault when they need government assistance.  That way, we don’t have to have a conversation regarding the fact that low minimum wages are that no one can live on them, poor education, and lack of opportunities.  This blame-game is used for a variety of problems.  Welfare, food stamp and fuel assistance recipients can all be blamed, and that way we can avoid any conversations regarding why working people need so much help.  Meanwhile, CEO pay has increased a staggering 340 times that of the average worker and the poor often pay federal taxes at a higher percent than the rich.  Do you believe in individualism?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/17/ceo-pay-ratio-average-worker-afl-cio

http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/poor-pay-more-taxes-5660

 

International Women’s Day

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When I was initially talking to my husband about International Women’s Day he wondered why women needed one.  At first I was taken aback.  Seriously?  Then I realized that he looks at the world in only one way – as a man.  So, I thought that I’d make a list of why there needs to be an International Women’s Day.

Equality – women in general are paid less, however that’s only the tip of the iceberg.  Maternity leave is not a paid for; as well as a higher cost of health insurance for being a woman.  Clothing marketed exclusively for woman is sold at a higher cost.

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Poverty – women and children are the largest group worldwide to live in poverty.  At any given time 795 million people go to bed hungry.  This number is on the rise due to war and the number of refugees.  More women and children live in poverty than any other group.

Restriction of Rights – women’s rights around the world are restricted in various ways.  Some include how they are “allowed” to dress; whether they can attend school, drive or even leave their houses by themselves; in some areas women are restricted from voting and owning property.   A woman’s right to many forms of health care has been restricted.  In many countries the kinds of work that a woman can legally perform is restricted by law.

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Violence – girls as young as 12 are routinely married in many countries; rape and domestic violence against girls and women is rising worldwide.  Sex trafficking has become rampant world-wide.

These are just a few of the reasons that there is an International Women’s Day.

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Attending Free Seminars

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I must admit, I love the Internet.  There are so many good things on here.  Of course I don’t really look at any of the crap that’s out there, instead I try to stick with the positive.  I’ve been attending my first free seminar on becoming an entrepreneur.  I was unaware of the time it would take, so my goals last week were not accomplished.  However, I did learn a lot of really good things, so the take-away has been great.  My major problem was that I didn’t even turn on my computer last Tuesday, so I had to listen to both Tuesday and Wednesday speakers on Wednesday.  This set me back on my goals, and left me feeling really unsettled.  By Thursday, I realized that I was learning a lot of new, really important things, and that I would just have to let my goals go for the time being.  Luckily the seminar has ended, and I’ll be able to concentrate on my goals.

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However, even though this process left me feeling a little bit shaken since I’ve realized all the things that I don’t know, it also showed me that I should take advantage of the all great information that’s out there for free.  I’ve learned really great stuff, and found new places to find even more information.  I do know that I’ll use these resources in the future, and the whole process has left me a lot more informed than I was before.

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So, if you don’t know something, make sure you look around for free information before you purchase an expensive package not knowing if it will indeed help you.  There are so many resources out there that have great information.  Take advantage of them, and keep on learning.

 

I’m Dyslexic

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I am the worst speller.  I can remember writing my spelling words every night in anticipation of my Friday spelling test, which no matter how many times I wrote my words, I’d still only get a C or less on my test.  When I would get home, I had a guaranteed spanking in store since in my household the only acceptable grade was an A.  Even though my mother was a teacher, this was the 1970’s and learning disabilities were relegated to the mentally impaired only.  Due to my math scores, I was placed in with the “low-average” students who couldn’t have possibly cared less about school.  At this point in time I was reading at a college-level, but everything was based on math.  Junior high school couldn’t have been more painful.

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Enter high school.  At fifteen I decided to skip school one day, and the following day handed in a note from my mother in which I’d misspelled her name – I know I am the cleverest person in the room.  When the office got in touch with my parents, they didn’t really care about my absence, they wanted me tested for learning disabilities.  The woman who tested me was so wonderful, she even gave me a new I.Q. test since I told her that my version of taking an I.Q. test was to make patterns out of the bubbles, not to answer the questions.

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That was when they discovered that I had multiple learning disabilities, dyslexia being just one of them.  I also have spatial relations issues, which goes a long way in explaining my ability to walk down hallways and bounce off the walls, my inability to skip until I was 12, and my failure to even remotely understand geography and geometry.  There are other disabilities, but these are the ones that mostly impact my life.

Dyslexia seems to be the gift that just keeps on giving.  I not only transpose numbers (which as everyone knows can be issue with record keeping), and misspell words, but I also mispronounce words.  I will often pronounce words the way they’re spelled, and not even phonetically, but actually spelled, making me feel like a fool when I’m in company.

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I strongly urge anyone who even suspects that their child, or themselves have a learning disability to get it checked out.  School systems are often required by law to provide testing for children who show evidence of a disability.  You can go on-line and find help for a variety of disabilities, along with coping mechanisms to help you circumvent your specific issues.   When I was four years old I taught myself to read, but this was unusual in a person with dyslexia.  My mother read to us all the time, and that was the motivation.  However, every problem usually has a solution.  Educate yourself, learn new ways of doing certain things, but most importantly, never give up.  Never ever think that you’re stupid.   A learning disability doesn’t mean you are dumb, it just means that you have an opportunity to learn to work around it.  As a child who not only felt stupid, but was told I was stupid, my letter from MENSA showed me that I wasn’t stupid, and other people believed I was bright.  You may not receive such a letter, but believe me, learning disabilities do not define you anymore than your shoe-sized defines you.

Looking Back on my 2016 Goals

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I wanted to take a look back over 2016 and see how many of my goals I accomplished.  Here is my list, in my own words from last 2016:

I’m planning on following a schedule, which will include:  working out, writing, setting up websites, getting better at cooking vegan, and finishing all my coaching certificates.  Along with:  making curtains, quilts and other crafts; keeping up with my organization skills; and working on meditation for my own peace of mind.

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Okay, this is enough to make me jump into bed and hide under the covers.  Did I achieve any of these goals?  Well, I have been learning new vegan recipes; bills have been paid within two or three days after receiving them, so my organization skills have gotten much better in that aspect.  I can now find all my paperwork in the filing cabinet, filed in the right folder, so whoopee for me!  See, that did get done.  I still haven’t finished my certificates, nor have I been putting my quilts together.  I’ve completed quite a few squares, but not set up the sewing machine to start putting the quilts together.  No curtains, either.   I have been working on my writing, and won NaNoWriMo this year!  Okay, I’ve fallen off my exercise routines lately, but have been walking almost every day for a year.  Both good and bad as far as exercise.  No website yet, nor actual meditation either.  I do repeat affirmations in bed while I’m waiting to fall asleep.  So, I think that’s a type of meditation.

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Okay, so, both bad and good this year.  A lot of room for improvement.  How did you do with your 2016 goals?  I hope that you achieved more of them than I did.  Let me know in the comments below.