One of the fun things I do for myself is to watch Ted Talks, listen to podcasts and visit youtube.com and click on a topic I want to learn more about. In doing so, I have found educational, intriguing and informative talks that take me places, teach me things and expand my world.
Last week, I watched a video called The Story of Stuff on youtube.com. I had read about the author in a Rotarian magazine article titled Watching Your Waste and then spent the next 21 minutes watching the video.
The story and video by Annie Leonard has been watched in more than 200 countries and translated into 15 languages. The documentary is shown in churches, community rooms, college campuses and schools across the world. The trash talking film about how we dispose of our waste and why we buy so much in the first place is just as relevant today.
The 21 minute documentary about our material goods and their lifecycle was launched in 2007 and has been viewed over 50 million times.
Watch the video (below) and then visit the storyofstuff.org.
You will not be disappointed.
Many times over the past seven years I thought I would quit blogging. Then I would take time off and come back refreshed and ready to write. It’s the writing part I love the most. And sharing what I learned, or saw, or tasted or observed.
Blogging was the vehicle to help me get thoughts out of my head and into a realm where once published they became real. It became a journal of sorts and now when I look back and read posts most times I can put myself right back to that point in time and remember what I was feeling.
When I went away this summer, I kept seeing things I wanted to share in this blog. Things I learned in Ireland. Things I learned in Switzerland. But the essence of these things comes back to learning about me. About my role in the world. About my role in the family.
I spent time going over shared moments with my siblings.
“What do you remember about …?”
“Where were you when ___ happened?”
“When did you …?”
To my surprise, each shared memory included things I didn’t remember. Words were said or not said. The time of day was different. The people in the room varied. It unnerved me that my memory wasn’t their memory. That something was altered, something minor – sometimes it was major. I often wondered if we were really experiencing the same thing.
I’m in the process of putting together the puzzle of my childhood. The major historians in the family have all passed away so now I have to seek out the individuals who might be able to toss some memories my way.
I realize now that the stories that were the glue of my childhood are just outlines. Each of us fills in the story in our own way from where we stand. Those moments I was so sure of … vary from sibling to sibling. It was like we all had different versions of the same story.
So, I started to gather up their stories too. To see where they stood, what they thought, how they processed the event. The on-going conversations are engaging and I am learning about the events (car accident, illness, birth, death, travel) again for the first time from another point of view… making it all real again.
Where oh where has this writer been?
Off to the trails, lakes and camping again?
Will she start blogging, like she promised I wonder?
Perhaps and yet … her time is asunder.
She say’s she’ll do this and she say’s she’ll do that
She rarely has time to sit down and chat!
So, let’s give her some slack and watch where she goes
She’s sure to come back, smelling sweet like a rose.
— The End —
100 Days of learning will continue at the end of July. 50 down & 50 to go!
I am learning as I go. I still say Yes to most things that align with my beliefs and values. I know when to say No and step back. I am learning when to voice my opinions and when to keep quiet. I am also learning that for every mistake I make, others are willing to work with me to help get me to the next level.
I am learning to let go when it comes to the world of travel. There are lines, searches, more lines, delays and frustrations. And with each line, there’s an opportunity to chat with the person behind me or next to me. To learn what book they’re reading, to learn their destination. With each search is the appreciation that someone is doing their job and I am just part of the process.
I’ve learned that people-watching can take the place of television, videos, youtube and other distractions that often keep us occupied. Watching families and how they interact (or fail to interact) is fascinating. People of all shapes and sizes come with their own hidden stories. Every now and then a story is shared but for the most part, the world is filled with possible movie scripts. Off we go!
FYI– I just read The Rent Collector by Camron Wright. So far it ranks as one of my favorites!
In the United States we celebrate Memorial Day to remember the people who died while serving in the armed forces. It’s the time to visit cemeteries with flags and flowers. It’s the time to attend parades and celebrations.
I often think about the men and women who did not die in the war but took their lives after they returned home. The veterans who couldn’t deal with the trauma of what they experienced. Those who couldn’t turn off the sights, sounds, and terror of the night. They returned in a wounded state and were unable to function. Are they considered heroes as well? Are they celebrated and memorialized or is there a stigma attached to their death? It’s clear they weren’t killed by an enemy bullet but the enemy did have a part in their death.
The suicide rate for returning veterans is over 10 times higher than the general public. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not track suicide trends among veterans of specific military units. And some units do not track suicides of former service members at all. I’ve read that over 100,000 returning Vietnam vets have committed suicide. And now the younger men and women are following in their shoes. I’ve learned that we all have a story. This one needs to change.
I’ve learned to say Yes more often. To accept leadership roles, to hike a steep mountain, to visit large cities and small shops. I learned that I can say YES and if life gets too overwhelming to say, ENOUGH for now. I’ve learned by saying Yes, I am inviting an entire new set of circumstances into my life. New people, ideas, books, articles, opinions, tastes and vistas.
Saying Yes is scary too. It forces me to show up when I’d rather lie low. It makes me take deep breaths and look around with fresh eyes. Yes gets me in the door and then I can decide how long to stay.
Yes forces me to move whether I am ready or not. I said Yes at an early age to marriage, to motherhood, to uprooting and moving across the country, to returning to college to get my degree, to working as a waitress while I worked on my degree, to living life in a way that could only happen then. Without saying Yes, I would have missed out on meeting so many people who are now friends. At each workplace, I met someone new and wonderful. I learned from amazing bosses and bad administrators. I took chances and had friends in place to catch me when I fell.
I like going to the edge of my comfort zone and just sitting there for a bit until the discomfort fades away. The fear slowly subsides while I’m interacting with my environment – visiting the sites, meeting people, starting conversations, and staying engaged.
When I find myself in a rut, I start finding reasons to say Yes again. Yes to joining organizations, Yes to cleaning out my garage, Yes to asking for help, Yes to reading a new author, Yes to listening to new musicians, Yes to relocating, Yes to a trip — HECK yeah!
Then, in the quiet hours I reviewed the things that I said Yes to and get scared again. Why did I say Yes to that and that and that and that? What was I thinking? And yet, I learned something new, enjoyed a new band, walked a new trail, made a new friend. I know there are times to say NO and I will when the time comes. I promise I will but for now I realized I have more fun when I say Yes. I get more done and feel more satisfied at the end of the day.
For now, Yes is my friend and teacher.
I learned (once again) how much I love walking in the morning. I love the way the light shines on flowers and how clean the air smells. I try to take my camera with me in case there is something I want to capture. My favorite things include landscapes and colorful flowers. I wish I could capture the smell as well – that fresh early morning dewy smell.
Random thoughts from midlife
"From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him." Proverbs 12:14 NIV
Spiritual Moments in the Human Experience
A dad telling his 2 sons about their lives
Painting with oil pastels
Adventures in Building
A place to gather women's wisdom
Doing Something Good and Green Every Day