On Debates, Politicians and Your Economy

Last night we had the last debate and I did not see much because I was working.  When I got home, all I saw on Facebook were comments from one side or the other.  And the one thing that always comes back at this time of the year is “are you better off than four years ago?” comments.

I am sick of hearing this stuff.  And I will tell you why.  I have never depended on any politician for anything.  Whether I was still in Puerto Rico, in Virginia, Maryland or Florida.  I have always done what I want to do and made my way as best as I could.  When my daughter was young, a career was not as important as making sure that she knew she could count on me.  Now, she is turning 21 next month, and I don’t have to worry about her so much.  I can concentrate on my own pursuits.

This is what people don’t understand.  The media is not all to blame for the economy, and neither are the politicians.  It is up to each and every one of us to make a decision about what we want and how to get it.  If you want to listen to the media or follow the politicians, that is your decision too.  If you want to use that as an excuse to not accomplish much in your life, that is on you also.

After watching all the stupidity from one side and the other, I posted the following comment:  “I am so sick of this.  You know where I was four years ago?  I did not have a job.  Two years ago, I was making $9 an hour, had lost my house and I was feeding two more with govt assistance.  Now, we are both employed full-time and we are having a really great time.  Get it through your head, no political leader is going to make your economy, YOU ARE.  In the end, they are all the same and neither one is going to change your personal circumstances.  I hate to break it to you, that job is all yours”.

I stand by what I said.  When I got here three years ago, I did not have a car, I was loosing my house back on the island, and we were surviving on about $2400 a month.  I did not have a car so that income was divided between the island and here.  Then, when my partner moved up here, he had no job, and I was making $9 an hour.  We ate with food stamps and we survived as best as we could.  Eventually, he got a part-time job.  Now, we both work full-time and my daughter has a part-time job.  We are not millionaires.  The only big bill we have is the car we were able to purchase.  And you know what?  I am very proud of what I accomplished.  I am very proud of what we have been able to achieve.  And I am very proud to say that we are not in any kind of public assistance.

So what about you?  Are you waiting for some politician to give you a job?  Are you expecting the media to give you a rosier picture?  Or are you perfectly aware that they all thrive on negativity because that is what sells and they don’t have much to talk about otherwise.  Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.

Aviddiva, for the Diva in All of Us.

Habits or Choices

As I move towards creating the new Aviddiva, I watch more and read more to see what others are saying and doing.  I was struck by someone who said that a habit is something we repeat unconsciously and a new definition for a habit is that once we recognize that we repeat something we are doing, it becomes a choice.

I loved that definition because it puts the power back on me.  A habit, by its very nature, is unconscious.  Think about smoking.  You pick up a cigarette when you are happy, when you are sad, when you are annoyed.  Pretty soon you just, light one up when you wake up in the morning and right before you go to sleep.  You just do it without thinking.

If you look at it as a choice, then it is all on you.  I suspect that some people will not like this idea because it puts the responsibility back on them.  The truth for me is that it gives me the power to say no to those things that are not bringing joy to my life.

This morning I could have slept in.  Instead, I woke up early, meditated and prayed, stretched, wrote my blog post and now I am off to eat a healthy breakfast and have a great day at work.  That was my choice.  My question for you is, what is your habit in the morning?  Is it one that brings you joy and is it of your choosing?

Interesting Excuses

At this time of the year, there are two comments that always surface that make me want to scream, interesting excuses that people use.  And I do mean, every four years, between september and november, somebody will say one of these two things:

1)  “I miss the good old days when live was simpler.  Women stayed at home with their children and men went out to work” Always said by a woman who is college educated and is either a lawyer, a doctor or has some other profession.

2)  Single parent households are the cause of the rise in criminal behavior.  I have two examples to dispute that, one for single parents (Oprah Winfrey) and one against dual parent households (anybody remember the Menendez brothers).

Here is the thing.  I could spend the rest of the day arguing against these two points and boring you with statistics and facts.  The single biggest killer in history came from a two parent household, and his name was Hitler.

I believe that people like to simplify things, often with devastating results.  There is never just one reason why things happen, they are usually the result of many little things.  This is true for both good things and bad things.  The same way it takes a team for someone to win an Oscar or a Nobel Prize (have you ever heard someone saying “It was all me” in an acceptance speech), it takes a group effort for someone to do something wrong.  This is why when somebody decides to go on a shooting rampage, there are plenty of people asking themselves why didn’t they see it coming.

Criminals, like you and me, are not born thinking they want to be a criminal.  Many people are abused and abandoned as children.  You don’t need divorce to feel abandoned.  I know plenty of people who feel they were raised by an absentee parent, and their parents are still married.  And I am not a single mother trying to make a point.  I was raised in a two parent household by very good parents and I am a member of a two parent household.

Then again, my sister is the head of household for three children, whose youngest is a teen ager and I think she has done a fabulous job.  One is in college, the other one is in the Marines serving his country and the smaller one is doing well in school and liked by all.

You need parents who care.  Whether you have one or two, if your kid knows you care about them, you have part of the battle won.  They need to know that there are boundaries.  I was never one for big boundaries, but my daughter knew that if she ever did drugs or drank, she was going to be in a lot of trouble.  And next month she turns 21, she hates cigarettes, does not really care for alcohol and likes her veins the way they are.

Does that mean that parents of serial killers know what is going to happen or that those surrounding mass shooters see what is coming?  I don’t agree with that either.  I read an article about the mother of one of the Columbine killers and this poor lady was blind sided by the entire thing.  She ran home thinking her son could be one of the victims, only to find he was one of the shooters.

There are many reasons why we humans do what we do.  You can have two people raised by the same parents, witnesses to the same things and they have completely different recollections of the events.  Take my sister and me:  I heard a guy said something bad to her once and made her cry and I proceeded to jump on his back and tried hard to punch him repeatedly.  My sister on the other hand was always the quiet one who would not hurt a fly.  That does not mean that she would have not done something for me if need be.  It just so happens that I always felt protective of her, until we grew up.  Nothing like watching your sister get divorced with three small children and raise them with manners, class and a good education, all by herself, for you to figure out your sister is a lot gutsier than most people think.

Do we know what the future hold for our children?  No.  Should we rest now because they are older?  No.  I think the real problem with this society is that once kids hit 18 we throw them into the world without knowing if they are really equipped to deal with it all.

I also think that back in the day when times were simpler, the entire neighborhood looked out for your children.  And we don’t have that anymore.

Cops in many cities are not exactly the models of good behavior.  Teachers are more interested in their unions than they are about teaching.  Politicians care more about their parties agendas than they do about helping their countries.  Our kids see all of this.  And then we see some blaming mothers for all that is bad in this country.  Which is really ironic when you see all these sports figures saying “I love you mom” after they win something.

Single parent households are not the only reason why this planet is the way it is.  It sounds like an interesting excuse, it is over simplifying the matter, and it is part of the problem.