Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My.. Um... Future?

                I got an email about two weeks ago from my city coordinator asking us if we wanted to do a second year of LVC.  Are you kidding me?  I feel like I just started my time here in Baltimore.  Okay, its been 4 months exactly today since I started as a volunteer and I’m finally comfortable with my day to day.  I’ve made friends outside of LVC and I really like it here.  It took four months to get to this place of content and now I’m forced with the decision to do it all over again.
                In all honesty, I thought doing a year would be enough for me.  It’s great that I’m out of my element, I have got a great job to put on my resume and now I can go on my merry way to start my life.  Right?  I’m starting to think not.  I started researching grad schools and all the programs I’m interested in I easily qualify for except for 2 years of prior work experience.  I’m pretty sure camp counselor and babysitter don’t really count for my MBA.  So as I started researching more I realized that I really didn’t want to be a volunteer in Baltimore next year, I love it here and could live here, but I don’t think I could do exactly what I’m doing for another year.  So I thought to myself, what could I do?  I could go sleep on my mom’s couch for six months while working a retail job until I figured things out.  I could jump on a cruise ship and work for a while to save up money.  I could start applying for jobs and see where life took me.  None of these sound like bad options, but none of these sounded exactly ideal either. 
Then it hit me, what do I consider my home?  Its where the heart is right?  Well I have never been so in love with a place like I have been in Northern California.  It has everything I think want. (I’m 22, I don’t know what I want.)  But financially I get just afford to move back, I need a game plan.  Then I really started to consider doing another year of service in the Bay Area.  The truth is I love living in community and I love being a volunteer, so why not?
So here I am, 2 days and 8 hours away from Southern California, and I’m already planning my next excursion when I should be thinking about that In n Out Burger I’m getting as soon as I’m picked up from the airport.
I really don’t know what I should do.  I should comment on the fact that American culture has gotten us so stressed with the idea of being happy and making it that we can’t just enjoy what life has to offer us.  I should just relax and let the cards fall into place.  I could jump into action and plan my life and not be afraid of failure.  But alas, I’m confused and okay with it.  So on January 18th I may be signing up for another year, I may not.  Am I stressed about the decision? Heck yes.  But that’s okay, right?

It could be worse, I could move home.  Right Mom?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Buy Nothing Christmas?

    So living this life of simplicity, we are encouraged to participate in “Buy nothing Christmas” where instead of spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on expensive, not really needed gifts, we focus more on the family and spending time with each other.  Now granted, living on a $105 a month leads me to want to celebrate Christmas this way, because let’s face it, I can afford to show up to family events and that’s about it. 
                My question isn’t really should we spend lots of money, but should we spend the time to go out there, face those malls from hell, search with all of our might, and end up with a present that you know the person you are buying for will just adore?  Why yes, I don’t see the harm in this.
Don’t worry, I love homemade gifts too, (this isn’t a gift registry blog, don’t worry!) they make me feel all warm inside to know my loved ones worked hard (and thought ahead, which is something I’m not so good at).  But to no avail, homemade gifts can cost just as much as a gift plucked from the aisles at Tar-jay.
So stuck in this conundrum of materialist woe, what as consumers are we supposed to do with this commercial holiday where gift giving is the American version of a prophet being born?  I could throw in cheesy slogans like shop smart, not hard; be thrifty and nifty, etc.  In reality, just buy stuff the person needs.  Not needs like I need a new corvette, but like need as in my last pair of socks have a hole in them, I guess I should get a new pair (in my case tights).
 I look around my bedroom sometimes and feel that I have a lot of “stuff” and I can tell you exactly where I got it and usually how much I paid for it, especially if it was on “sale”.   Don’t worry I’m not getting rid of any of it to join a commune, but it’s just interesting think about our thought process of “need”.  Though I adore every shoe in my shoe collection, each a reminder of the hard work I put in to be able to afford the beautiful artwork I put on my feet, would my life be any different if I hadn’t bought those particular pair of pumps? Probably not.  Would I buy them all over again? Heck yes.
So this Christmas, one of financial scarcity (though even in good financial times we believe this to be true), my goal is to focus on needs, not  wants, because in reality, our wants will change in a month anyways, right?  Then again who am I to talk, with $105 a month, I need everything! J  Or I could pull out my business side (the one that’s torn every time some preaches their anti-consumerist ideals) and say go shopping, spend lots of money and help our economy, gosh darn it!
So pick and choose who you are this holiday season, the only answer I can come up with this war of morals, is to choose wisely.  Great advice, huh?  I feel like Yoda.