Ardent Eden

Ardent Eden is a place to explore my thoughts about the interdependence of life - humanity and nature - and to engage with others for collective problem-solving.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Out of Whack

I'm wrapping up an intense week at the office: late nights, early mornings, too much coffee, too few hours with my daughter, and a grumpy attitude. The amenities of modern culture - cell phones, blackberries, conference call dial-in numbers and the like - have facilitated the encroachment of work life on more and more of my personal life. It's a battle that I know many people struggle with, but it feels isolating to be running around at breakneck speed all the time. For once, I don't want to "think on my feet." I want to think in a chair, damn it! Preferably with a cup of cocoa, a good book, and a warm blanket.

I can't help thinking that priorities in our society are out of whack. The rich are lavished with free stuff at every turn, while the poor struggle and toil without reward. Many spend all day in a building without windows that open in order to make enough money to take a vacation and breath some fresh air. There's much talk about so-called family values, but maternity leaves are short and consumer culture has overtaken the lives of some children. Apples are carted in from Argentina while grains are exported around the world. Pollution billows from coal-burning power plants while health care costs rise.

If it sounds like I'm in a negative state of mind, that's only partially true. I am feeling particularly overwhelmed right now. Most young parents probably do. There's always that glimmer of hopefulness under the surface though. I know that we can do better and that many people are. I know that individuals are devoting precious time and depleted energy reserves to working for a better world. It's humbling to step back and realize that, despite the burdens that everyday life can pile on me, others are working to dismantle the systems that stifle our better nature. Maybe the best I can do right now is hope that we can all share some of the burdens and some of the joy.

A burden shared is only half the trouble
I knew you cared - I knew you'd understand
A burden shared is only half the trouble
Joy shared is joy made double...
- Michelle Shocked


  • At 8:25 PM, Blogger Jim said…

    I'm with you Lauren, this almost sounds like one of my little rants.

    Remember when blackberries were something yummy you ate.


  • At 1:09 AM, Blogger Norene said…

    i completely related to the late nights, early mornings, not enough time with loved ones. the very words "cell phone" and "dial-in numbers" make me restless.

    that cocoa, book, and blanket sound mighty nice. i hope you get to indulge yourself in that fantasy sometime soon.

  • At 8:20 AM, Blogger Melissa said…

    Even if I had a lot of money, I'm sure I would still end up poor. I would be the one asking a stranger on the street, "Need money for daycare? Does your car need repaired? Got enough money for food and heat and health insurance this month?"

    I had to stop myself from gagging when I read your link about the gifts that Hollywood stars get. Even if they don't keep most of that "stuff," they have to realize what a powerful position they are in to help other people who don't have as much. The ones who actually put their earnings to good use seem few and far between. Do they really need more jewelry and electronics and trips? What about making a hefty donation to a food pantry or SPCA or county library about to close for lack of funds.


  • At 10:38 AM, Blogger Katie said…

    Work can be so overwhelming at times and I too hate when it invades upon my personal life - here's hoping you get that cocoa soon.

  • At 12:15 PM, Blogger breadchick said…

    Amen Sister...

  • At 2:45 PM, Blogger spiral said…

    I was wondering what had been happening in your world--thanks for taking the time to share!

  • At 2:11 PM, Blogger SustainableGirl said…

    I hear you completely when you talk about being in a hurry. I changed my life to eliminate that feeling. I couldn't live in the city and work the corporate job anymore, because I found I was rushing from this to that, and none of it had any personal meaning or made the world a better place. I didn't think it was possible to leave it but I did. Currently I'm on food stamps and will be getting by teaching some online classes. Money is tight but now that I don't drive or buy things anymore (that aren't food or health related) it really eases the strain. I am almost never in a hurry. I am so excited to hear about your homesteading plans. I know you will share with us the ups and downs. Sometimes making the choice is the most difficult part, but I have found that when you jump, a net will appear. I applaud how you are putting your daughter's needs and ultimately, all of our children's needs (and their children) at the forefront of your efforts, and thinking about the larger picture. Sounds like you have a great partner to boot - I have one too and it makes a world of difference.

  • At 9:15 AM, Blogger lauren said…

    Thanks for the encouraging words! I really needed them.

  • At 2:59 AM, Blogger TDharma said…

    I hear ya. Conspicuous consumption is such a sickness; the richest getting richer -- the great injustice and imbalance of it all. We need more rich folks willing to give it away and live simply. There really is a freedom there, and an ability to truely live life rather than scurrying after the next "new" thing and keeping up with the Jones'.

    Life is so much sweeter than that, and those who understand that are rich indeed.

    Thanks for your posts.


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