November 23, 2011

thanks... giving

Britta asked me to guest post for her and this is what she got (i really hope she liked it!) :) I thought I'd also share this post here, since it's Thanksgiving and all.. well, she had told me that would probably be a good thing to write about. And she was right. 

See, I have never celebrated Thanksgiving and I don't know much about this holiday. We don't celebrate it here in Spain. I wish we did, though. It is such a beautiful thing to set aside a day to make us remember to be thankful for everything we have. It may sound stupid, since I'm a Christian, but sometimes I feel like I need a reminder so that I can stop and think about the things that I should be thankful for.

gratitude doesn't come naturally to me sometimes.

And, most of us.. well.. we have so much. I mean, we don't think we do - you know, considering how bad the economy is right now and especially if we compare ourselves to richer people, we may come to the conclusion that we don't have enough or even that we are just plain poor.  However, if only we changed the perspective and compared our lives to the lives of millions of people that can't tell when their next meal will be, then we are rich. Seriously, if they could see us right now living our everyday lives (paying a bunch of bills, worrying about our jobs, about our family, even our health), they would think we're all millionaires. Most of them would trade with any of us in a heartbeat.

I was listening to a radio show the other day and they were talking about this survey in which they had asked many people if they thought they were rich. People with low income obviously said no, and people with average and higher incomes also said they didn't think they were rich. Then they were asked a second question: "how much money would you have to make to feel 'rich'? "And the average answer was "I'd have to make double what I make now".

Therefore, people with low income would feel rich if they made what an average person makes. An average person would feel rich if they could at least double their income; and so on..

The truth is no one is ever satisfied. Because - they said -  rich is a moving target. The more you have the more you realize how much more you need.

I don't know about you, but I'd have easily answered that question the same way. But there is always somebody better off, isn't it? This is crazy!

And isn't it sad that we are never content with what we have? That even if, right now, my income was way higher than it is, I'd think that I needed more so I could feel good?? I mean, that's pretty unreasonable, isn't it? Because if we really think about it (and this is mind-boggling stuff), if we set our happiness meter to measure contentment by success, by what we have or by the things we can afford, we're basically screwed! It's probably wiser to have some perspective and be thankful for everything we have, even if it doesn't seem much to us.

Gratitude is a learned behavior to most of us and it requires practice.

See, I remember when I was younger I used to think that by this time in my life

1. I'd be married
2. I'd be living in a big city
3. I'd have a job [and I'd love it] and
4. I've become financially independent and have lots of money

Isn't it amazing that I now have pretty much everything I wanted then? Not that I am loaded with money, but I can pay all the bills and still enjoy some of what is left. Maybe rich really is a moving target - and it sucks!! I feel like our culture has been cheating us all out of confidence and satisfaction.

So I've decided to do something about it.

i am breaking that circle.

I am going to give more. Giving breaks the power of money in our lives and it helps us get our priorities right. My husband and I often buy some extra food, along with our own, to give to people that have too little. But we had never made it a commitment. Until now. So we have agreed on a number, based on an percentage of our income, that we'll dedicate to helping people every month. I encourage you to take the plunge and start doing something for somebody you don't know. Not only because of the good it does for other people, but for the good it does to us. It feels great [and it's definitely humbled us].  

I guess Thanksgiving won't be coming to Spain any soon, but maybe we have just found our own way of celebrating it.


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November 19, 2011

everything is meaningless

What do people gain from all their labors
   at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
   but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets,
   and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
   and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
   ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea,
   yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
   there they return again.
All things are wearisome,
   more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
   nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
   what has been done will be done again;
   there is nothing new under the sun.


i love these verses.
they may sound a little depressing, but they are so deep and beautiful.

because of their significance.

isn't it amazing how the feeling of meaninglessness often sets us on the path of purpose?  

November 12, 2011

men are all the same

First of all, I'd like to say that I got an amazing response to the old-fashioned marriage post! Thank you so very much for sharing some of your thoughts on that one.  [Oh, and by the way, I highly recommend you read that post first if you haven't already].  I was actually quite surprised to realize there are so many people that think like I do.  It meant so much to me! 

I was thinking the other day about how independent and self-sufficient women have become. 

And I love that. 

See, I can't even picture a world in which women can't vote, study or work outside the house.  Women whose voices don't count for anything.  Women who don't even have basic control over what happens to their bodies.  And let's not forget life looks exactly like that for millions of women in many countries these days. 

I love that I was able to study and choose what I was going to major in.  I love that I can work, that I am the one who decides what to do with my life, even when I don't have the slightest idea of what is best for me.  I love that i can wear whatever i want, even if I look absolutely ridiculous in it.  And that nobody will ever tell me what I can or cannot wear. 

See, I grew up with all these things and I can only i.m.a.g.i.n.e what life must be like for millions of women that weren't so lucky as I was to be born an raised in a free country. 

Anyway, I read something on Facebook the other day that really caught my eye: some kind of passive-aggressive status update that you know is directed to someone in particular.  This girl was talking about men and how independent women scare the hell out of them.  Oh, you've probably heard stuff like that before: that men are ssscaaaared of independent women; that they are scared of commitment.  

Please don't hate me because of what I am about to say, but that's so Sex And The City!  (which, by the way, is the spitting image of most women nowadays).  Oh, they're so beautiful and so successful and so rich and intelligent...  They're feminists.  And independent.  Everybody wants to be like them.

But at the end of the day, these women are always looking for a nice and steady relationship, aren't they?  That's why they're so mad at men not wanting to commit.  They never seem to like when the guy doesn't call the next day.  They are not comfortable with the casual thing.  Not anymore. 

Because when women do it, it is okay.  But when men do it, it is not. - they're jerks.  And that's pretty unfair.

These women don't only want to be independent and self-sufficient financially.  It doesn't seem to be a matter of supporting themselves at all.  They just wish they were self-sufficient in their own relationships as well.  As if they were destined to fulfill some kind of prophecy.  As if they had in themselves alone the power to get revenge for centuries of humiliation women have suffered.  So they go from one extreme to another: from being self conscious to acting as if they were in charge.  But being equal is not the same as believing to be superior, is it? 

It's unbelievable how so many women say men are all the same. "Oh, they are such pigs and they don't take me seriously and bla bla bla".. Oh, come on! Really?? If you truly think so, will you please tell me why you keep expecting to find something different each time?

I can't stand generalizations. I just can't. 

So men are all the same.  Right.  Then you'll go on and on about how always end up doing the same things, how they always behave the same way, how they're only interested in sex...   (have you met that woman?)  And all of the sudden you're telling me all about your relationships: *you and John*, *you and Jack*, *you and Jim*... and how all of them had the same problems.  Not all men are alike. And it's not that hard to figure out the common denominator in all those dates. 

And that would be you.

I mean.. come on!  Not all men are alike.  Maybe the ones you go out with are.  Stop fooling yourself already!  Not all men are alike. 

Beware: I'm about to unveil the best kept secret ever just for you, darling.  Are you ready?  Sure?  Here it is: just like you, men are allowed to choose.  And,  just like you get to choose them, they get to choose you.  It is that simple.  Some women are good for one night and some are marriage material.  But you knew that already, didn't you?  (Remember: "Caesar's wife not only has to be virtuous, but seen to be virtuous").  And you may think it's unfair all you want.  But the fact is, at the end of the day, you just hate it that a) when it comes to commitment, men are a lot more picky than you are and b) they don't take you seriously.  So shake it off and move on - and start behaving like a respectful woman should, in case you're looking for a respectful man. If not, then keep doing whatever you're doing and you'll keep getting the same results each time.

So sad when I hear women say men are scared of independent women. Wake up, sister!  Men are not scared of independent women!  In fact, men are not at all scared of pretty much a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g. that involves women.  

virtuous men are proud of their women.  Believe me.  They actually love and admire them for being strong, professional and independent. 

I once heard a very wise person say: are you who the person you are looking for is looking for?  Think about it.  So why don't we all start with a deep look in the mirror? 

become the kind of people you'd like to find and you will most certainly find them.