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Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Not enough greed

It isn't easy, job hunt

Excuse me for being a little cranky.

The job hunt is not going well. Every day I pore through lists of jobs, most of which want impossibly little or impossibly much.  I won't open the mail telling me how much my painfully saved little retirement fund has lost: who needs to know that now? What would you do with the information? Sometimes ignorance postpones grief over things you can't do much about anyway.

It's lonely without kids in the house or coworkers to toss around ideas and the little events that make up a life.

And now I can't even listen to the radio for that illusion of being in community. The smart guys of the day on National Public Radio are discussing the moral failure of greedy human beings and the financial crisis it has wrought. Only the commentators aren't talking about the greed of those who made huge profits by lending money they didn't have to people who couldn't pay them back: they are blaming, ever so gently, the little guys. The ones who steep in the warm oil of our consumer society and then have the temerity to. . . want things. Houses and cars to park in front of them, like that. Jobs with benefits and pensions, if they still have those.

I don't know about you, but I'm not taking the blame for the financial crisis. Or listening to some smarmy professorial type talk about how good it might be for my soul to have less and, being jobless, plenty of time to reflect on that.

More futile job searching on the Internet and then I stumble on the blog 37 Days. One title smacks me between the eyes like things do when you don't know you are looking for them:

Why have we made a silent, unspoken agreement to not do significant work in the world?

Author Patti Digh was talking about the failure to root out discrimination. But you could apply the question to most of the mess we stay in until the status quo stops working for us. Then it's time to remind ourselves that the people who made the systems that don't work are unlikely to be the ones who can fix them. But maybe we can.

Maybe it's time to be more greedy about doing significant work, work that matters, work that makes a difference. Maybe that's our real moral failure: being too content to settle for things the way "They" tell us things should be. Maybe it's time, as Digh suggests, to be greedy about our own desires for the way things could or should be. And then to "fund our own revolutions." 

You have probably surmised that I am not talking about desires that have to do with increasing your own personal wealth above all other things.

If you had just 37 days to do something you love, make a change that needs to be made, fix the banking system or other government problems, or even to live, the premise of Digh's blog and book Life is a Verb, what would you do? What good thing would you be greedy enough to act on?


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