Saturday, October 18, 2008
Hey Mimi, if you are reading this, can you remind me when "National Apron Day" is? I now have a fabulous new apron to wear for the occasion. My dear friend Patricia V. from Wenatchee was here for a visit last night. She has been serving in the Peace Corp for the past year - first in Ghana and now in South Africa, doing HIV/AIDS prevention education and training caregivers to take care of those afflicted with the disease. She has a month off to visit family and friends and to be here for the upcoming election. We had the BEST VISIT last night, really a tender, reaffirming time that I will treasure for years to come. And then, the icing on the cake, she brought me this spiffy apron! My gift to her? Long johns and warm socks. She says one of her biggest surprises of her time of service in Africa is how darn cold it gets there in the winter.
Among several other topics we covered, one of our conversations was about our relationship to material things...
I really struggled with giving up a lot of stuff during our recent move, even though the downsizing was deliberate and of my own choosing. I compare that to the choices my pal has made. When Patricia went to Africa she took four bags she could carry. That was the sum total of what she would have to get her through the next two years. Also she sold her car and her furniture, putting precious little into storage for when she comes back home. She has acquired a few other items over there, but from the pictures I saw of her living quarters showing all that she owns, it is pretty darn sparse. So we talked about the difference between needs and wants and what things truly make us more comfortable, what things just clutter our lives.
Four months into living here at the farm I'm still struggling to figure out where to put a lot of the stuff I have since I no longer have my lovely walk in closets or the "harry potter room" under the stairs for storage. Maybe I need to just get rid of more?? Nope. Not yet. Maybe eventually. But I am not ready.
Still... I can't help but ponder questions of how much is enough - enough money, enough possessions, enough whatever. In recent months with the economic down turn the retirement funds set aside for both my beloved and I have taken SERIOUS hits. Thousands upon thousands of dollars have gone up in smoke. Do I panic? Do I freak out? Do I lament the loss? So far, no. I admit to being a bit jittery over it at times. Holy cow - one fund went from $20,000 down to $8,000. Others have been bit nearly as hard.
I try to reassure myself it can still bounce back...that we'll be ok, that I won't be faced with being penniless in my elder years. But even if we never regain the economic security we worked so many years to establish, what I most of all believe is that God/the Universe/life energy knows what I truly NEED and those needs will be met somehow. I may not have the cushy comfort I had thought I would. I'll probably get to do less travel than I had hoped and planned for, and undoubtedly will have to sacrifice some of the conveniences I had thought we would be able to afford once hubby retires.
But we will be ok.
As long as I have friends like my two Wenatchee Patricias, my Ohio pals, the crew back in Michigan, some folks here in Oregon and those in Walla Walla as well as others scattered around the country and world -- including some dear friends I know through the blogosphere -- I will ALWAYS be rich indeed.