Monthly Archives: May 2014

Just don’t do it!

stop symbolAs the writer of possibly one of the few blogs on the internet that openly celebrates the rather maligned state of “being shallow” I have always felt it important to share with those who are interested, how to traverse this one little life of ours on the shallow side of the road. No doubt, those of you who have been with me from the beginning, can recall the helpful life lessons presented in posts like “Forgetting, It’s an Art”, or the entire “Folk Fest” series, not to mention the little gems of advice found in “Shallow People Travel Too”, “Blasts from the Past” and/or “There is such a thing as a free lunch”. But lately I’ve been reconsidering my approach to self-help. Lately I have actually been thinking that there could be some value in sharing with you the things that, as a truly shallow person, I would never think of doing. Because knowing what not to do seems to me to be important too. So here’s a list. Not an exhaustive one but a list just the same.

Buddhist Meditation Classes: It may surprise you that this would be at the top of the list as it probably isn’t something one considers doing each day or even lands upon by happenstance. As a matter of fact, there may not even be an option for this type of learning experience in your place of residence, depending on how large and/or diverse that place may be. But suffice to say that in my hometown there is in fact such a class and one of my dear friends has opted to give it a shot. Don’t ask me why. The mere mention of it brought back long, repressed memories of team bonding exercises, all of us lying on the floor with our eyes shut while some self-appointed new age guru recited, in what can only be described as a “nails on the blackboard” monotone voice, relaxing mantras, cajoling us to conjure up images of where on this earth we would most like to be at that moment in time. For me that answer was easy. Anyplace but here. And while my outside voice responded to my friend’s news with “Good for you. I wonder if I’m free that night” the little voice in my head shrieked “just don’t do it!”

Join a Cult: When I was a kid in the “big city” there was lots of opportunity to pledge allegiance to an almost endless number of street corner deities. While the sales pitches differed, some were happy, some sad, others just plain scary, all welcomed new members with open arms. Looking back I have to admit that while the ones with the long black capes were “de rigueur” in the day, I think I knew in my heart that the whole cult thing really wasn’t for me. And it wasn’t just because this particular group (despite their appealing garb) tended towards what can best be described as “the dark side”, given their fixation on the fella down below. It was because no matter what the choice, whether it be the sun, the moon or the capes, belonging to a cult requires an enormous commitment. I mean all that fundraising, chanting and dancing in the street, well wow! It all takes so much time. And even then, even before I became the “shallow gal”, officially, I knew I wasn’t prepared to get into anything like that. And I was right. Shallow people just don’t do that. They don’t join cults.

Exercise: This one is a little more complicated. It’s not that shallow people don’t do exercise. I mean you know I do. As a matter of fact, I frequently go down to the basement to get on that treadmill of mine while watching a couple of my fav shows on the tube. So this one isn’t so much about “doing or not doing” but more about “why” you’re doing it. You see some people exercise because they know it’s good for them. It’s good for the heart, it’s good for the bones, really it’s pretty much good for all parts of the old bod. Shallow people, on the other hand, exercise to lose weight, plain and simple. You put on a few, you gotta do a little exercise to get ‘em off. So in this case I suppose it’s ok to “do it” just as long as it’s for the right reason.

Write a blog: Oops!

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This is my Everest

mountainThe other day I found myself thinking about stuff in general. It’s something I do on occasion, sometimes without even realizing it. Not sure why. I’ll be sitting watching the latest episode of whatever reality show happens to be on the tube (yes I still call it that) and it just happens. Thoughts come tumbling into my head whether I want them to or not. And they are not thoughts about the show. They’re other kinds of thoughts. Sometimes random. Other times quite focused. Like when I think about cleaning up the house for my garage sale this June. I think a lot about that. But so far that’s about all I’ve done because honestly, the idea of getting rid of all of the things I should get rid of is a bit overwhelming. Though I take some solace in knowing that my junk will become someone else’s treasure for whatever reason that may be.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s because of all the inspirational commercials on the television (see values.com) or maybe it’s just the time of year (new season, new life etc. etc.) but whatever the reason, the other day I got thinking about how most people, and when I say “most people” I really mean “other people” love a good challenge. People, it would seem, enjoy stretching to their limits by taking on tasks that push them out of their comfort zones, striving to meet lofty goals they set for themselves. Of course as an impartial and nonjudgmental observer of this phenomenon, I have come to realize that not all of these challenges are equal. On the contrary, there appears to be a rather broad range to choose from on the “challenge spectrum” ranging from the somewhat sublime “I’d really like to drop 5 pounds” to the absolutely ridiculous “better start training for that Death Valley Ultra” and everything in between.

Now don’t get me wrong. Not all challenges are physical. The things people choose to take on are many and varied, and from what I can see, limited only by their imaginations. Some are inspired to do good, helping those who are not as fortunate as they are. I know this to be true because, as we speak (I’m not exaggerating) there’s a spot on the telly with a guy rowing solo across the ocean to raise money for cancer. Turns out it’s also an ad for Advil. I think he’s going to need some. Others have more instrumental quests often involving jobs or school or some kind of heretofore hidden talent. Still others have goals that are vaguely esoteric and, in my mind at least, a little nebulous because who can really say whether or not you have “become a better person” even if that’s what you intended to do. And yet, with all of the choices out there, it seems that for a lot of people the ultimate challenge is to climb Mount Everest. Not sure why, it just is.

That’s when it hit me. When it all became clear. As much as I have never gone looking for a challenge, never even suggested that I have a bucket, here I am, plopped smack dab in the middle of it. This my friends, is my Everest. Writing the blog is my mountain to climb. My river to forge. My row to hoe. That’s right…”row”.  It’s like it found me when I wasn’t looking. And no matter how hard I try I simply can’t seem to claw my way out. So here I am. Week after week, month after month, year after year. Seems I’ve taken lots of steps but there’s no sign yet of the top.

My son tells me that climbing Everest is no big deal anymore. What with all the wealthy adventurers looking for a challenge, hiring the locals to do the heavy lifting, there’s practically a clear, paved path to the top.  Which makes me wonder. Maybe I too could find a couple Sherpas to help me along the way.

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