How Comes Jamaica Full Of So Much Screwface

How comes Jamaica full of so much screwface
Same time mi lift mi head to the sky
And a tear drop fall from mi eye

Look pon di gully side
Do you see anything fi smile bout
Look at that hungry child
Do you see anything fi smile bout
Look at the school weh deh youth dem go fi get dem education
Do you see anything fi smile bout
Look at the conditions of our police stations
Do you see anything fi smile bout

From “Morgan Heritage – Nothing to smile about

Where’s the beach resort?

I can’t afford the cool new jeans I want. I hate my car but don’t qualify for a loan for that new Cadillac Escalade. My job sucks and all my friends make way more money than me. My house is only 2,000 square feet and there’s just not enough room. I just can’t face all the traffic and crowds at the mall. I just don’t have the energy to go for a walk or make it to the gym. Seriously? The amount of complaining and whining here in the US about first world problems is nauseating.

If you live in the United States and are relatively healthy, not disabled, and have an IQ higher than a garden snail, stop bitching about your problems and start enjoying life. It’s short, we only go around once (apologies to my Tibetan Buddhist friends), and you never know what’s waiting for you around the corner.

In 2010, in the United States, the poverty threshold for one person under 65 was $11,344 (annual income). This does not include the value of food stamps, earned income tax credits, rent subsidies, etc… I’m sure you’ve seen the stories – many of the “poor” in the US have more than one TV, air conditioning, and two cars. Just this morning I read that the US spends $1.6 billon providing free cell phones to low income folks. Does it suck to be on that end of the income spectrum? Yep. Been there, done that. Spent part of my childhood on food stamps, welfare, and rarely getting the newest/cool clothes for school.

There is more opportunity in this country than anywhere else in the world. Does that mean everyone will succeed? Nope. But even what we consider low income is a standard of living that much of the world would fall on their knees for. The official poverty line for India is $12 a month. 40% of Ethiopia’s population is below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day. Why am I and my family/friends so much more well off than those folks? For no reason other than in life’s lottery we were fortunate enough to be born in the US. No skill. No ingenuity. Not a well-managed 401K. Just luck of the draw that we were born here and not Zimbabwe.

So… stop your complaining and excuses and go do something many folks on this planet aren’t lucky enough to have a chance to do. Enjoy life.

Dude, Where’s My Stuff?

I’m slightly concerned. Maybe concerned isn’t the right word. Intrigued might be better. I’m intrigued at my fascination with the TV show Hoarders. I can’t help it. Flip through the guide and I’ll invariably land on some 2009 episode of Hoarders. I can’t seem to tear myself away from their train wrecks of a life. How do you let yourself get to that point? I can understand clutter. Unable to climb into a room due to garbage and dead cats… uh, no. Don’t get it. Yes, I understand it’s a sickness and these folks need serious help.

Which brings me to my point. We recently had to give up ninety-five percent of our stuff. We walked away from our possessions six months ago and had no idea how we’d survive without it all. We had a 2,700 square foot house in an affluent neighborhood. Every room packed with what you’d expect in a house – dining room stuff, kitchen stuff, backyard stuff. Computers, gardening equipment, tools, sports paraphernalia, closets of clothes. More closets of clothes. Knick-knacks. A porcelain clown collection (don’t ask). We walked away from it all.

Here’s the shocker. I don’t miss it. If you had told me a couple of years ago that I’d have to go six months without one of my ten toolboxes, snow boots, or five pairs of jeans that I’m saving because I might fit into them again someday, I would have thought them certifiable. Crazy. How could I live without my stuff? But I have, and been perfectly happy.

I’d like to say that I found supreme enlightenment, embraced the green, hippy, crunchy granola movement. Unfortunately I’m a little

A Small Closet

more shallow than that. In reality we sold our house and packed everything up and put it in storage while our new house is under construction. We moved into a thirty-six foot motorhome in the meanwhile. Not exactly living in a tent, but space is significantly limited. We went from jam-packed closets to what can fit in a tiny space.

I’ve been surprised how satisfied I’ve been with what I brought with me. A handful of shirts, a few pairs of jeans, some shorts and a couple of pairs of shoes. I no longer even remember what other clothes I own. I was shocked at how liberating it is to be free of stuff. In our new, temporary, smaller space I’m even finding myself thinning out and throwing stuff away that we haven’t touched in a few weeks.

The level of consumerism that our society has become is a little frightening. Our economy is now built completely on people buying stuff. Sales, super-sized, bulk purchases from Costco, keeping up with the next door neighbors. It’s crazy. George Carlin had it right way back in 1981 with his bit on “a place for my stuff“. It’s so easy to get caught up in the frenzy of “I need”. How could you possibly expect me to survive without a new Starfrit Automatic Rotato Express Electric Peeler? Only $19.97 at Walmart. Please don’t tell me you’re doing the old fashioned manual way? Neanderthal.

The test of this new-found enlightenment will happen when we move into the new house. All our stuff will be there waiting for us. How will I react? Will I fall to my knees and thank the gods above that I have my stuff again? Or will I embrace my new-found, uncluttered self, and get rid of much of stuff we’ve acquired over years and years?

The twist, in part, is why we’re living in a motorhome in the first place. The “new” house is actually one hundred years old. A classic craftsman bungalow. We fell in love with it instantly. Well, except for the closets. How in the world did people live way back then with such tiny closets? Seriously, those closets were probably smaller than our motorhome’s closets. So, of course we did what anyone else faced with such a first-world problem would do. Let’s do a massive remodel and put in big walk-in closets!

Such is the way of the universe. We tired of our big, boring, track home. Bought a smaller, historical house with no closets for our stuff. Put all our stuff in storage so we can build bigger rooms for our stuff. Forced to live without our stuff for months. Really enjoying being minimalist. Now about to move back to the new, old, house with room for our stuff. My head hurts a little thinking about it.

I think I’ll go watch an episode of Hoarders. Then go throw something away.