It sounds kind of weird coming from me, but I really believe that one of the true keys to happiness comes from at some point saying 'yes' to certain values in your life and 'no' to money.
Weird, because I openly have sold my soul for the last couple of years.
Instead of leaving corporate culture I chose the primrose path of a higher salary. There have been some nice side effects. Dumping the debt and the stress associated with it. Being able to afford to go out on the town or on a trip because I actually have the funds to. Having the opportunity to treat friends to some drinks and give gifts to family.
Okay, it totally sounds like I'm richer than I am. By no means am I a millionaire. No means. Just able to indulge in middle-class dreams.
Sure, you are thinking from this vantage point it must be easy to say that money doesn't buy happiness. Because I TOTALLY made that cliché up myself. Yeah.
So I thought of an analogy. But I don't know if it is any good, because it kind of ties into a personal story. You all can be the judge.
Once upon a time there was a really cool company. It was a self-starter, a small place. The 20 or so people who worked there all became great friends - if they were not friends already. The owner was generous with his employees, because he worked with them all day every day. Each night after close everyone would hang out together to talk, drink, and dance. Even if they didn't work that day. They just enjoyed each other that much.
The public loved this business. People would line up to come in. It was not just the product, it was the atmosphere. That many happy people in one spot tends to do something to innocent bystanders.
After about four years the business expanded. Another location opened up, and the original opened a second floor. The original management was busy with the new spot, but there was still enough of the original staff to maintain the spirit and the camaraderie. With the expansion a second generation of employees also became close, again spending not only every working day together but all of their free time.
Still these locations thrived. Business continued to grow, and it seemed limitless potential was possible.
The owner saw this potential. But what happens when you replace a handful of positive people with thirty people you hire to manage as positive? Can they carry on that spirit?
Can thirty ordinary people (with one or two great ones) replace a visionary? No.
As the company expanded and more stores opened, and more spirit drifted away. All the originals were gone, few second generations remained. The more stores the owner opened, the more he had to structure all of them to be alike. To be franchised. Individuals were no longer celebrated. They were diffused, smothered.
Eventually when the word franchise became a reality all that was truly awesome about the business was gone. Revenue per location waned. Some say due to over distribution of the product, but it was never the product alone that sold the experience. At least the owner was able to sell his entire company to a large conglomerate in the end.
Obviously that must have made him the happiest of all his experiences, right? Selling to a corporation?
If he had stuck with a handful of locations and not standardized life, he may not be as rich but his life would be much fuller. Now he keeps company with a bed of dollar bills, not late nights of talking, drinking, and dancing with twenty or more people who are friends.
You are wondering if I made this up. Nope.
I was a second generation. And you would think I would have learned my lesson the first time.
For a while now I've noticed how much hubabaloo there is for eating non-processed foods. The whole-food movement may not be new, but it seems like with the attention to organic product and the recent expansion of the name brand Whole Food markets people look on processed food as being the devil. Like it is a fact.
Granted I am exceptionally wary of genetically processed foods. Cross breeding corn is one thing, but when you mix it with mackerel and pesticides so that it repels bugs naturally?
Doesn't seem smart to me.
The whole hatred of processed food I think is a little excessive. It is like saying all medicine is bad and not necessary because of the wide distribution of medically irrelevant Viagra. Seems to me penicillin and aspirin are pretty damn good. And with the same logic some processed foods are okay too.
If you still feel some doubt I have one little thing to point out. People who are the most adamant against anything but whole food nine times out of ten are vegetarians. And what is that stuff they eat for protein?
Oh yeah. Tofu. Or Tempe. Both of which are processed food. Nice.
Seems I've been delinquent on the knee update. Mostly because I'm still in flux.
No matter what my running days are over. Bummer but okay. I got over that quickly.
Problem is that part of my cartilage is gone. And it doesn't come back. Cartilage is the shock absorber between my knee bones, so back when I was being diagnosed all the walking and biking was aggravating my knee itself and I had swelling and minor fractures in the bone.
The doc had me rest completely. No biking, swimming, or even walking until the swelling went down. He even considered having me walk with a cane.
Now the swelling is manageable and I'm working towards an 'organic' cure. This would mean 1) the cartilage remnants settle into a cushion 2) by some miracle it regenerates or 3) a fibrous tissue like scar tissue forms acting as a buffer between my knee bones.
Surgery or injecting some kind of cartilage stuff are both options, but not as good as the natural healing one I guess.
With this whole healing thing the biggest challenge is staying stationary and being patient. But I'm giving it a whirl. Because right now biking and rollerblading is looking REALLY good. Dammit I miss being active!!
Thus I’m taking it slow, avoiding walking and constantly icing my knee and taking anti-inflammatory meds. In about six more weeks I’ll know if this organic healing thing takes. So we’ll see…
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure. A stitch in time saves nine.
When it comes to my skin, I'm all about a pound of prevention because I'll be damned if I want to deal with a cure at all. I know that my obsession with looking young is probably fueled by the media. I know I know. But at this point I'm addicted to keeping up appearances as long as possible.
Not being one to keep secrets, I promised Mrs. Ferries over the weekend that I'd list all the crap I use. Because my skin is uber-sensitive, and if this stuff works for me it definitely will work for others.
Morning Cetaphil Cleanser Kinerase Intensive Eye Cream Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
At first when I think of the car-free streets I think recreational fun, like back in the day when I was part of the Motor-City Rollers. It was a group of 50-100 people who would converge a few nights a week in downtown Detroit and Rollerblade the city. It was possible because after the 9-5ers went home the streets became a ghost town. Which was AWESOME for us.
But then the idea that someday a safe bicycle commute could really exist like in Portland? I really, really love that idea. Car congestion here is awful and this won't help. But more people used alternative transport? Eh, who knows. Just sounds like a good plan.
Well, the whirlwind home trip went over great. The parents were surprised and thrilled with the visit, spent some serious quality time with the sister and the friends. And yes, we even made it to City Club. Which I have to say was damn fun.
And lucky you there are pictures.
This was so enjoyable I'm thinking that I should come home one summer weekend each year. Short and sweet, and the great weather offers so many opportunities of fun. Way more than the freezing xmas holidays offer. So we'll see...
p.s. I was too lazy to write much on Boston, but if you check out Thigh's post you'll get a much better idea of the trip.
First there was Boston this past weekend. I accompanied Thighs to Fenway as part of her quest to conquer all major league baseball stadiums. It was definitely a good time, and there were three statements that dominated the weekend:
1) Wow. Fenway.
2) Geez this place is clean.
3) My god I love the shade.
It was mother frickin hot. And air conditioning? Seems they don't really believe in it in beantown. Seriously, after all day in the heat I actually got physically sick late in the night around 4:00 am. Which oddly was not as bad as being sick from drinking too much. Who knew?
Overall it was awesome. Lots of history, food, drink, and good times. My knee was swollen as heck which was a bit of a drag.
This weekend is the Detroit trip. This one is impromptu so it feels much more spontaneous and therefore adventurous. Even though being my hometown and is all familiar territory. Or maybe part of the thrill it is because I'm staying in a hotel downtown?
My fight gets in 10:00 pm Friday, and then it is drinks and maybe some late night cityclub. (yay!) Saturday starts with a surprise father's day brunch with dad. Surprise as in the parents don't know I'll be in town. THAT will be fun. The rest of the day is to be played by ear, which frankly is pretty darn thrilling.
Then Sunday is the goodbye party for Dev and fam before they shove off to India. Which will be neat, being the reason for the trip and all.
So the real question on my mind - if you always are busy on the weekends do you still feel rested enough to survive the workweek? Or is it the anticipation of the week to come that really makes time fly by? With the trip to Chicago at the end of the month still on the docket I've got a great chance to find out.
What the heck do you get your dad when he turns 70?? Really??
He's retired, with my mom. They don't go out, they don't have hobbies. They go to church on Sundays, read the paper, and watch analog nighttime TV.
Okay, he also talks on the phone. A lot. (Where did that gene go, Spaghetti wonders....)
But overall he and my mom pretty much have everything they want. Each Christmas my siblings and I rotate between getting him gloves, hats, and ties. Because there is nothing else he wants or needs.
To this I argue - shouldn't 70 mean something? Isn't there something I can give?
All I have is to call. Which I suppose in some ways may be a lot But really not so much. The idea is grand, but it is limited to what my father will do with it. I don't know what he would like to hear, and he is afraid to ask any meaningful questions. If I could read his mind yes I would talk more...but I can't.
Thus I am left with so little to give. Unless there is a gift he can't foresee that would rock?
Crap. Who knows. People who are seventy don't blog, thus no insight. Guess I'll just try and read his mind.
You know what is fun? Going on adventures. And it seems I have a few lined up.
This weekend? Boston. Thighs is adding Fenway to her roster of ballparks visited and I'm comin' along for the ride. Being that the one and only time I've been to bean town it was in the middle of February and freezing, this should be a blast.
Next weekend I'm back in Dtown for a quick trip. One of my friends is packing up an moving herself and her family to India. As in a whole different continent India. Talk about a reason good enough to get me to visit...
Finally, at the end of the month the piece de resistance - bachelorette party in Chicago. Five of us (six including the bride to be) are flying out to join the native windy city friends for revelry and mayhem.
My god, this is just the first month of the summer. How do you top all the major cities in the Northeast quadrant to start a summer?
Lets see if I can find a way without breaking the bank. My rent did recently significantly increase after all.