It was a tumultuous time, with the world at war. The boys were enlisting to fight and defend their country. Uncertainty hung thick, covering every aspect of day to day life with questions. As the boys went to fight, their family hung a star in the window to represent them. All too quickly, many stars were replaced with a gold star when they found that their loved one would not be coming home.
Every effort had to go to protect and support those dear ones so far away. They collected metal, saved every scrap that might help. They shared cars when transportation was needed. Basic necessities were rationed so that everyone would have just enough and those fighting overseas would have all they needed. Folks planted victory gardens in their city yards. It was an all out effort, uniting the citizens. They all knew that what they did could make a difference.
Though our circumstances are different, this generation has it’s own fight to win. Our economy has faltered due to some staggering blows. There is war. There are hardships. Where once we had such a bright future, we are now faced with uncertainty and unemployment.
What will the future bring? How high will gas prices climb? Which countries have nuclear weapons? How will the U.S. recover from the debt it has accrued? Will our dollars be worth anything when all is said and done? How will climate change affect our everyday lives?
With no clear answers for our future, we find ourselves worrying. We worry about our jobs and our family members who are unemployed. We feel the strain at the gas pump and the grocery store. We all know folks who are overseas fighting an enemy that is elusive and dangerous. We question the science of climate change, the effects of the chemicals we use, and the reality of energy constraints.
And we fight.
We fight to keep what we have grown so accustomed to having. We want to fix what is broken, as long as we don’t have to feel any of the pain. We just want to go on living in the dream where we have all we want or need, financing to get what we can’t afford, and everyone is provided a “good” life. We want to have our party without seeing or feeling any responsibility for the mess we create.
All of our selfishness will come to nothing.
Hanging on to this unsustainable way of living will only dig our country deeper into the mess we have made. So why do we continue?
I’m ready for a change and I have been for a while. Working and striving to accumulate cheaply made, often toxic, plastic junk that will soon break leaves me cold. Walking through the chain stores that sell these items gives me a headache and makes me want to cry. I’m sick and tired of this “good life.” I’m tired of picking up junk. I’m tired of putting bag after bag into the trash or the recycle. I want more.
I want to live a life that is rich in the things that matter. I want to eat nutritious foods that taste good. I want to find more of what I’ve been missing, like the farm fresh, free range eggs our hens produce and the fresh, sweet heirloom tomatoes that grow in my garden.
I want to shop in stores that are owned and operated by local folks who care about how my kids are growing. I want to buy things that are worth having, made of real materials that cause minimal damage to the earth and the folks who make those items. I want a wheelbarrow that is made like the old one at my mom’s house, with it’s heavy metal wheel and unbelievable strength despite it’s years.
I want to spend more of my time with friends and family and less of it being entertained. I want my kids to be outside playing or by my side learning about life. I want to watch them play and hear their crazy, imaginative stories. I want to cherish these moments that really matter.
And those things, that kind of life… That’s what I’m seeking.
As long as Americans seek out homogenized, plastic filled, full bellied, soft couch, and fully entertained lives, we will continue to go down the same road we are currently traveling.
While it may be fulfilling for some, it’s not enough for me.
If the United States wants to recover, I believe it will take a united effort from it’s citizens. Budget cuts just won’t cut it.
I’m not sure what our “victory garden” will look like. I’m not sure how deeply we will need to sacrifice. Perhaps it’s time to find out. Maybe, Americans will find that putting down the toys, letting their bellies get a little empty, and rolling up their sleeves to do a bit of hard work is a better way and a worthy sacrifice for the benefit of our homeland and our children. They may even find it to be a better way of living.
What do you think? What has living in these times taught you? What solutions do you see for our problems?
All respectful comments are appreciated, even if they differ with mine. ;) I look forward to hearing from you.