Freedom vs. Security

What is more important to you?  Freedom or security?

This is a hot topic in the US lately.  It seems that the people of this country are trading their freedoms one by one with the hope that this will enable our government to make us more secure.

Personally, I value my freedom over my security, and I’ll tell you why.  I’ve grown up in a country that told me that I have the right to my own opinion and to voice that opinion, I have the right to choose what religion I wish to follow, I have the right to choose my career path, to make decisions about my own body, and to do pretty much anything I want to do, so long as I’m not causing anyone harm.  I first learned this in school.  They taught me that people fought and died for me to have these freedoms.  I also learned in school, that not every country has the same freedoms, and that I should be grateful for what we have here.  They taught me to love my country and to love my freedom.

Since learning the above, I’ve come to my own conclusions about how MY life should be.  I know what I like and what I don’t like because no restrictions were placed on me.  I always have a choice, and though some of lifes choices may be difficult, they’re mine to make.  I take responsibility for my success and my failure.  I am where I am (and you are where you are) because at some point, this is where I chose to be.

Another reason I value my freedom over my security is that, NOBODY can guarantee my security.  The government cannot keep me safe from every threat no matter how much power we give them.  Nothing in life, except death, is guaranteed.  Life is not always easy or fair.  That’s just the way it is, whether you want to accept it or not.

If I die tomorrow, I may not have lived a long life, but I spent it the way I chose to.  I would know that I spent it with the people I love, doing the things I love, having my own mind.  And that, to me, means more than all the security in the world.


Optimist, Pessimist or Something Else? (Post a Week – Topic #32)

I usually describe myself as a “glass half empty” person trying to become a “glass half full” person.  That is until a friend of mine said something that changed my outlook on the optimist vs. pessimist perspective.  He said “An optimist may see the glass as half full, and a pessimist may see the glass as half empty, but a realist sees the glass as much too big for his needs.”

He went on to say that, although I may consider myself a pessimist, I recognize that being a pessimist keeps me from enjoying life to the fullest.  The fact that I not only recognize this, but I continue to try to change my thought patterns by consciously being aware of my thoughts, means that I’m more of a realist.

Being a realist means seeing things as they really are, not how we want or expect them to be.  I think in most cases, a pessimist expects too often.  They expect your news to be bad, they expect that in any given situation, they will be burdened in some way or taken advantage of.  Whereas an optimist is more likely to see things the way they want them to be.  This is a generalization, of course.  By no means am I saying that all pessimists and optimists are the same.

I consider myself a realist, now.  By rejecting the label of “pessimist”, I am doing myself a favor, as well.  Thinking myself a pessimist, only makes me more pessimistic.  After all it’s a negative label, and implies there is something wrong with me.

I am who I am.  I may not always see the glass as half full, but I try to look at the good and the bad in every situation.  Seeing things the way they are helps me keep things in perspective.  That may not work for everyone, but it works for me.  What else can I ask for?

Are you an optimist, a pessimist or a realist?

Cell Phone Etiquette (A Public Service Announcement)

Since so many people out there seem to be completely oblivious to the above, I’m going to give some tips on how NOT to use your cell phone.

First, understand that nobody wants to hear your personal stuff.  I don’t want to hear about the wart you just had lanced while I’m grocery shopping (that’s something I actually heard once).  I don’t care how messed up your crackhead cousin is.  If you have something personal to talk about, find a private spot.  Like oh… I don’t know… YOUR HOME!  I realize that you have every right to talk on your cell phone, but do you really want every body to know your personal business?  Do you realize that EVERYBODY can hear you?

Secondly, I know that some of you are not terribly coordinated, and it’s difficult for you to walk and talk at the same time, but could you at least move to a spot where you’re not blocking traffic?  If you’re going to stop in the middle of the aisle at Kmart, I am warning you now, I will run you over with my cart.  If I don’t have a cart with me at the time, I will grab the nearest item off the shelf and huck it at your head!

Those who lack coordination also need to put the phone down when you get to the register.  If you can’t walk and talk at the same time, how are you going to talk and count at the same time?  I fully admit, I’m not a very patient person when it comes to waiting, and you’re making me wait longer then I have to.  If you were to watch me, you’d notice my face turn a bright shade of red as the minutes tick by.

New York is a hands-free state.  You must have a headset to talk while driving.  Most people are not even talented enough to do that (especially people who talk with their hands).  You’re sporadic driving is putting everybody else on the road in danger.  Is your conversation really that important that you would do such a thing?  If it is, could you maybe pull over for a second?  That’s probably better than killing somebody due to your recklessness.

And to all the business people who answer their cell phone and then start talking LOUDER… nobody cares how important you think you are.  I’m not impressed by the numbers you so conveniently throw out for all to hear.  How ’bout you get in your fancy sports car and drive it into the ocean!

Just a few simple rules.  They really aren’t that hard to follow, and it would make the world a little more tolerable for everybody else.  If you could see past your own selfishness, common sense would kick in.  For most of you anyway.  I’m sorry to say that for some of you, there is no hope.

Here ends your public service announcement.

The Best Sound in the World

I love everything related to our five senses.  Sights, sounds, smells, texture… don’t take these things for granted!  They improve our quality of life here on this planet.  Relish them.  Savor them.

A hundred things went through my head when I saw today’s topic “your favorite sound”.  A crackling fire, crumpling paper, the ‘pop’ that bubble-wrap makes when you squeeze it, the steady ‘click-clack’ of high heels on pavement.  But there is one sound that can put a smile on my face any time, any where, no matter what or how I’m feeling.  That sound is, a laughing baby.  Can you listen to this without cracking a smile?

I definately can’t!  In fact, I can count on this sound to cheer me up.  I keep this video in my ‘favorites’ just for that reason.  The only thing better than this, is listening to my own 3 year old son laugh.  His giggle makes me giggle and his belly laugh practically dares me to be in a bad mood!  There is NO GREATER SOUND in the WORLD!  None.

“When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. And now when every new baby is born its first laugh becomes a fairy. So there ought to be.” ~James Matthew Barrie (author of Peter Pan)

My Bucket List

Things I’d like to do before I kick the bucket (in no particular order).

I’d like to see the world.  I really mean that… THE WORLD.  I can’t think of any place I don’t want to go.  At the top of my list is Europe, Egypt, Russia, Israel, India, China, Japan, Australia and of course all 50 of our beautiful states.

I’d like to see my boys grow up and have families of their own.  To hold my grandchildren and spoil them rotten.  My mother-in-law always says “I only had children so I could have grandchildren.”  She gets all the fun of the kids and can send them home to us.  The best of both worlds!

I want to see a real, live Komodo Dragon… from afar.  I don’t want to get too close to those bad boys, but I just love them!  The way they walk reminds me of a bulldog and I giggle every time.  Along those same lines, I also want to jump on a gator.  On ‘Dirty Jobs’ they went to this place that teaches you how to do it.  You start with a little guy and work your way up to a 6 or 7 footer.  That would be awesome!

I want to learn another language.  I’m not sure which though.  Narrowing it down would be the hardest part for me.  Japanese, Russian and German are just a few I’m interested in.  I’ve thought about buying RosettaStone or even Muzzy.

And lastly, for once in my life, I’d like to finish something.  It doesn’t even matter what it is.  I have a bad habit of starting things and never finishing them.  Like the blanket I was crocheting when I was pregnant with my first son, the cross-stitch pattern I’m halfway through with, and the glass painting I’m too chicken to even try.  I’d just like to see one thing through to completion.

What’s on your bucket list?

My Window

I stare out the window at the damp, grey sky and I feel the heaviness of this day down to my very core.  I notice the cars as they drive by, but I don’t really see them.  I don’t wonder where they’re going or care what they’re thinking.  I am only annoyed for the inconsiderate interruption.

I notice the light beginning to fade and the shadows shifting.  It will be dark soon, and I will see nothing but my own reflection in the window I look through now… but I don’t budge.  I want only to sit and wallow in my misery.  Staring at the rain helps me wallow and this is why I do it.

Thoughts rush through my head at speeds that would put Earnhardt to shame.  I can’t keep up with these thoughts, they make me dizzy and push me further down the hole I find myself in.

My thoughts are suddenly broken by the sound of the wind whistling, and I again notice the window.  I can still see through it, but I am starting to see my opaque reflection.  And at the moment, my life makes perfect sense.

In the light, I can look through my window and the view is clear.  I see the world and its inhabitants as they pass by.  I live my life based on what I see through that window.

But in the darkness, I see only myself when I look through my window.  In the darkness, I live my life based only on my own selfish motives.

It’s easy to see in the light.  I can get through whatever life throws at me because I can see clearly.  But in times of struggle, it becomes difficult to see past my own reflection.  I cannot see so clearly what life throws at me.  It requires an effort to look past myself.

My thoughts are broken again.  This time by the sound of my children playing.  I turn away from my window to see their happy faces, and my mind stops racing as I watch them play.

My window has reminded me of the importance of what lies beyond myself.  The answer to the question I didn’t realize I was looking for, was in my window all along.