Sunday, January 3, 2010

Good Advice from Janis Joplin

I don't know about you, but 2009 was one of the hardest years of my life. And yet, I learned many valuable lessons.

I broke my ankle and was out of commission for almost 3 months, unable to earn any money, drive, walk. It really taught me a lot about what the disabled endure every day of their lives for their entire lives. Just a few examples:

1) People treat you like you are stupid just because your legs don't work.
2) There are not enough disabled parking spots at popular venues - like grocery stores - Duh!
3) It is hard for others to know when you really could use some help and when it's unnecessary.
4) It brings out your creativity and resourcefulness.
5) You gotta have a sense of humor or you are finished.

A few lessons for the year...

Everyone should know the following things:

1) How to shop.
2) How to cook from scratch.
3) How to eat right.

If you know how to compare prices, remember which stores have the best buys on items you use a lot, and stock up when there are sales on items you regularly use, you can save a lot of money. Buy family packs of chicken and meat, then repackage into small bags and freeze.

Cooking does not take as much time as you think. You can prepare large amounts, divide it up and freeze meal-sized portions. You can do a lot with a crock pot, although I never leave one on when I'm not home, because I fear fire.

Maintaining your health by eating right can save you from getting sick.

Pawn shops can help you with short-term loans. Don't get more than you think you will be able to pay back, even if you feel the item is worth a lot more, unless you don't care about losing the item. There are finance charges, but if you fail to pay and lose the item, it does not affect your credit record and haunt you the rest of your life, because they have your collateral and the deal is over. You pawn your diamond ring, you can't pay them to get it back. They keep it. End of story.

Live in present time as much as possible. In every moment, find any small thing to be grateful for. A full belly, a hot bath, a bed, a roof, your T.V., your dog... whatever. Things could be worse. I guarantee the more you can do this, the better off you will be. Worrying about things you cannot change right now, is dangerous to your health.

Try to negotiate with those you owe money to. The worst they can do is say NO. They might say YES, but if you don't approach, they will not offer.

You can make a few bucks bringing your cans and bottles to a recycling station. If you don't need the money, give it to the attendant. I know they can use it.

Be as generous as you can even if you have very little. There is always someone worse off than you and generosity gets energy moving. I know this to be true. The more you give, the more the Universe gives you.

Allow yourself a treat once in awhile. "Splurge" and rent a movie or buy some food item you really love, but "can't afford". I'm talking $5.00 items here, not a new Mercedes. This will lift your spirits, which, again, is a way to bring in the light energy.

Now, of course, none of this applies if you are flush and having no financial challenges at all. But....who knows, lately even millionaires are going bankrupt and you could find yourself needing this advice after all.

Recently I was talking to the guy who runs the recycling station in town. I asked him how was his Christmas. He said, "I did without." He said he'd better shut up because he had to be careful what he said to people because they complained about his attitude and he could lose his job. This did not surprise me. Having worked as a 'public servant' most of my life, I knew that people treat you like shit and expect you to keep smiling. When you defend yourself, they report you. I took a lot of abuse from the public when I was a letter carrier. There were many nice people too, but the majority treated me like I was "less than", inferior and stupid.

I mentioned this to the guy hoping to convey some empathy about his situation.

I also said "Look, if the shit continues to hit the fan, or it gets worse, those same people are going to be coming to you for advice. Remember, you are the expert. You know how to live on nothing, how to survive the cold, sleep in your car, stay alive. They have lived their pampered entitled lives for so long, they don't have a clue how to keep warm without the heater on. And...since their self-esteem and self image are so tied up with their material possessions, if/when they lose it, they are going to go nuts. They're gonna need our help."

We had a good laugh over that one.

So, to the words from a Janis Joplin song: "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." For those of you who have nothing or feel you are on the road to having nothing, think of it this way - the less you will have to lose later. And... the more you will value what you do have, which is the real message. You will then be on the road to true freedom.

And remember, nothing lasts forever. You may have already noticed that in regards to
'good' things, well, it's true of the 'bad' things too. The tide always turns. Learn to endure. Learning to be patient can serve you in ways you cannot even imagine. Start when you are standing in line. Do not distract yourself with your cell-phone. In fact, throw your cell phone away, right now. It is an enemy to your peace of mind, yes... really. Studies are showing that the latest addiction is to cell phones and texting. Anyway, back to the line. Just be there. Observe where you are, who is in line. Take it all in. As soon as you begin to truly be where you are.... believe me, you won't be there anymore. It's almost a law of nature. The line will move so fast, you'll have to adjust to that. Ha ha!

I feel this is going to be a good year. I have no real basis for this belief, just faith and trust, two of the gifts this year gave me.


Suse said...

Hello! I just left a bad year behind me and understand a lot of what you have written in your blog entry. But, as my grandmother always said: after a rainshower there will be sunlight. When I was young I did not believe here, but there is a lot of truth in it.
2010 will be better!
I wish you all the best for the new year! Lots of greetings from Germany, Suse.

seanymph said...

Really good advice here on your page. I agree, 2009 was a hard yr. Family issues, money and just generally being so stuck I was beginning to wonder what was going on. But for now thats over. We finally made the move to Oregon. Found a house, everything happened really fast. I sold the old and bought the new within a month.

My old house sold on Thanksgiving,before it actually was listed and I closed on this new place Dec. 31. Its been a wild ride. I just got my stuff moved up there this week and am living out of boxes trying to find things.

But before that, we bough a blow up bed and a tv, hooked up our computers and ate out for about a week. It was fun at first but my back didnt like it. Im very grateful for my bed coming this week, Its heavenly.

I dont know what the future will bring. The property is not what I wanted so I could do my business. Ill have to reevaluate that after I get settled. But I know that everything happens for a reason, we just dont know what that is sometimes, until much later. For now tho Im really happy and Im going to enjoy the view out my windows of the hills and the sound of the ocean. Nature is the best medicine for everything.

marsha said...

We are the same age; you are not too old to work. You just need to find something you can do, and hopefully feel good about it. The concept of having enough money to retire and last the rest of our lives is very weird.

Last year stunk for me, too, and I don't even know how to explain my problems to other people, so I kinda keep to myself, thinking that things will get better soon. They have to.

We may be able to reach out to others on Facebook or our blogs, but the internet keeps many of us lonely by keeping us satisfied to talk via on our computers, instead of speaking face-to-face. My laptop is practically an appendage to me, but if I don't make myself put it away for more hours of the day, I'll never meet my neighbors or other people in my town.

It is a bummer to break your ankle. I was in a wheelchair for quite awhile long ago. People bumped my chair and stepped on me. I was quite amazed. Things will be better once you can get around, but you must work that ankle in physical therapy or you won't get the range of motion back.

Most of my friends are either working or looking for work. They are not retiring. Please don't feel alone.