Wow, the days are really just whirring by. What has happened since I last posted? Hmm…
First order of priority, which colours all the other news, is the fact that I successfully pulled off a 67 hour work-week. *pats self on back* Only.. seven more of those to go… It was good though. My nearing total lack of a “life” makes it relatively easy to spend most of my waking hours at work, since I’m not taking away from anything to do so.
I got to call Third World on Friday night/Saturday morning, which was super jolly. Given that it was after midnight when I called, and I had already worked an 8 hour McDay, I don’t think it was the most intelligent conversation on my part, but it was lovely to hear her voice again. *grins*
Then Saturday night Fraulein and I watched How She Move after I got home in the evening. It was a very fun movie, and I think rather better than the other heartwarming-tale-of-a-dancer-who-struggles-to-escape-the-ghetto movies I’ve come across. The people reacted more realistically, the set-up was not really far-fetched, and the characters said believable things. Yeah, on the topic of “saying,” there were definitely language issues. But in traditional fashion, I didn’t really notice until I was repeating the dialogue in my head. “Hmmm, I shan’t be repeating that one- or that line- or that line- nor that one either. Hmmmm…” Yes, it was fun.
Then on Sunday, we all watched Nancy Drew. The movie had been the catalyst for the movie watching of Fraulein and I the previous night, since, if they were going to have a special movie, we needed one too! *cough* And, since we weren’t doing anything special, we watched it as well! I know, we’re bad. It was a fun movie, though I personally wouldn’t watch it again. The characters were somewhat- how shall we say- shallow. Best part? Nancy performs an emergency tracheotomy on an anaphylactic party-goer. (Am I serious? You’ll have to see the movie to verify.) This was the first almost-grown-up movie for the small ones, due to the tense music and made-you-jump cuts, and they were very seriously excited about it. I overheard them talking about it the day after, debating whether Nancy was smarter, or the bad guys were. One was arguing that Nancy was smarter, since she escaped in the end, while her debating and dish washing partner was arguing that the bad guys were smarter, since she didn’t know what was going on until they caught her.
My, but I have cute siblings.
Mommy and Gid came through McDonalds for ice cream on Monday, almost simultaneously as Fraulein and the Small Ones came through the Drive through for Ice Cream, (it was a hot day), and I was struck by that fact again. Gid’s eyes are so huge, and he was dancing around a little in anticipation of his ice cream cone. Not CUTE!
Oh, and on Sunday I was feeling rather tired, so I decided to curl up with a cup of coffee and some cozy books. And what cozy books did I choose? The Wild Children, about displaced children in Russia during Stalin’s ascent to power, and Animal Farm, by George Orwell.
Wild Children was good, and I’ll probably read it again. Animal Farm, however, was whole nother kettle of fish. “It was nasty. I loved it.” I really surprised myself with how much I loved it. It was just so balanced! And yes, I know that made no sense to anyone… Anyhow, I started to read 1984 last year, and I had to stop. I found it too hopeless and nasty. This time, however, I loved Mr. Orwell’s work. *shrugs* What’re ya gonna do?
Mommy and Daddy and Gid returned from St. John’s, and a course of Gid’s new chemo drug, on Sunday evening. They’re going to be back for a week, Lord willing, which is extremely reassuring.
That’s most of what has actually been happening lately, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, since both my jobs are not exactly highly intellectual. You engage anywhere from 50% to 5% of your brain, and the remainder goes into hiding. Anyhow, the main tidbit which the remainder of my brain has been chewing on has been- a wedding announcement. In fact, the wedding announcement of an OLD friend. How old? We played with caterpillars together when we were both three, in Germany. Our families hung out, and since we were only 6 months different in age, in the logic of our age group, it was decided that we were going to be married when we were really old, like 13 or something. Then, as we grew older, (try age 8) we both realized that more is required for marriage than close ages. Anyhow, I’d barely heard of him for years, though our parents remained in contact. Then our family receives a wedding invitation to this guy’s upcoming wedding.
(Remember, he was only six months older than me.) So, my first thought, when we received the little slip of embossed plastic, ribbon and paper, was “it has begun.” At college, several of the other students, at age 22, had talked about how most of their contemporaries are marrying off and/or having children (both with and without marriage as a prerequisite), so I heralded this guy as a front runner. An early front runner, I suppose, since he was only six months older than me.Wait a second; that really does seem awfully young, you know… Especially since the average age for marriage around here is, um, 26. There seems to be a discrepancy here. I’m sure that the others said that their cohorts were pairing off in the eyes of God and Man at age 22 and 24. 24 being late. But around here, 24 is positively early to get married. I mean, you’re not even done with you Masters, and if it took you a while to decide on your major you might not even be done with your Bachelors.
Slowly, light dawns. Oh, this is a cultural thing. Hmm, so marriage age is cultural, even within Western civilization. What are some other things that are cultural? I muse over the fry vats. Well, alcohol, to drink or not to drink, is certainly cultural within Christendom. Around here, if you’re a Christian, you just don’t drink, while to some of my classmates from the mainland, staunch Christians all, underage drinking is “no big deal,” so long as you don’t overindulge. And whether you download music with payment or no is cultural, and whether your church has evening services, and whether you date or court, and whether you sit in close physical proximity to guys- or any other people- or not, and whether you hug your family often or not, and whether you read fantasy or not, and whether you call your parents by their first names… etc, etc, ad nausem.
So, this is where I tear out my hair, and cry, “Everything’s cultural! There is no “one true way!” There is no truth!” Right? That’s what one is supposed to do at this point in one’s ruminations? Right?
Um, no. (Thank you, Professor Tingley and Alistair MacIntyre.) Repeat after me, class, “The jump to point three of post-modernism is insufficiently supported. Cultural differences are all different ways of striving for the same goals. Peace, harmony, fidelity… Because different cultures define modesty different ways does not mean that there is no such thing as modesty.”
But, it does mean that you have to think about, um, EVERYTHING. You can’t take anything for granted, since, after all, it’s a cultural norm, not necessarily absolute truth. It may in all actuality be absolute truth, (thou shall not kill? Yep, that one doesn’t need much thought), but you can’t assume that the way things are done is the right way to do them, simply since that’s the way they are done. You have to weigh them against the way things are done in other places, and most of all against the bible. (I’m not sure if that made any sense to anyone, or if I seem to be advocating heresy, but I’ll try to explain it if needed.) Nice, a very interesting thing to think on. But it does make for a lot of thinking!
And the other thing the wedding announcement made me thing on- (oh yes, there is more. This is what happens when I don’t get on the computer for almost three days. And don’t try and follow my jump from the invitation to the following thoughts. You’ll strain your brain.)- was one of the founding and motivating principles of our present society. I am referring to the truism;
You can do anything you set your mind to if you work hard enough.
This is, of course, a lie.
Strong words! What do I have to support this accusation? Well; what is necessary to accomplish something?
- Money (everything needs some)
- Time (again, every accomplishment needs some, even if it’s just 30 seconds)
- Opportunity (as in, I am not banned from said activity by law or ironclad custom.)
- Inclination (I need to want it)
- Ability (I need to be able to do it, by virtue of my God-given gifts and talents)
That seems to cover it. The problem is that all of these things are finite and limited. For example;
- I do not have either the time, money, inclination or ability to be a quantum physicist. I have the opportunity, but it is still something that I am not going to accomplish, so far as I can see.
- I may have the time, money, opportunity and ability to pierce my ears in the bathroom with a needle, or shave my head in the kitchen with a knife, but I do not have the inclination. That is something that I am most likely not going to accomplish.
- I may have the inclination, opportunity, money, and ability to write a novel this summer, but I do not have the time. Not a probable accomplishment.
Why is this important? Because, for most of us, the accomplishments our inclinations and even our abilities lure us towards outweigh the time and money we can invest in them. It’s the eternal quandary; when we have money, we don’t have time, and when we have time, we don’t have money. It’s one of the less fun things of becoming an adult; realizing that we can’t do it all. It is fairly easy, in retrospect, to accept that those things that lie outside our abilities are most likely not going to be accomplished. Planing to win an Oscar for my acting abilities is not the best idea, given my stunning lack of acting abilities. Once you learn to look realistically at what you can and not do, you can line off a whole host of accomplishments with a minimum of suffering. (It is hard to learn to look, but that’s just growing-up 101.)
However, it’s harder when you look at your short list, and realize that there is still not enough time in life to fit it all in. Much less money. I want to travel, learn languages, learn, have a family, write, and manage to eat while I’m doing so. Eating, as we all know, requires money, which requires time, which cuts down on time for “fun” things. So, some things have to fall by the wayside, as certain accomplishments take precedent overs.
I think I’ve seen this in the lives of adults I admire. For heaven’s sake, I’ve seen my own parents give up an awful lot for the sake of their family. They put that “accomplishment” over top of things like “a thriving career,” “money,” “travel and vacation time,” even “social standing.” I know for a fact that they were offered opportunities that a lot of people would have taken without a second glance, and they put them on the side for the sake of a passel of unruly children, and their own relationship with each other.
So, as I try and weigh the things I have opportunity to do, as I acquire the necessary money and time, and whether I actually have the inclination and ability to accomplish said things, I have some very good examples close to hand!