Saturday, February 19, 2011


Mothers.  We all have one.  They're a very maligned group, blamed for all manner of things, and the butt of insulting remarks (think "yo mama.." jokes, and words like motherf*****).  Whether we have a happy or unhappy relationship with our mother, they are a considerable influence in our lives.  

My relationship with my mother has not always been easy.  We have very different personalities and interests, and see things in quite different ways.  This has led to major clashes over the years, although both our attitudes have softened as we've got older.

My mother was born in 1930, so was a Depression baby.  Like almost all women of her generation, she learned to cook, bake, sew, knit, mend and grow a garden.  These skills were all passed onto me, and I'm grateful for them.

Through the recent changes in my circumstances, as well as the difficult economic times, I have turned my back on rampant consumerism and considerably reduced my discretionary spending.  The things that I learned from my mother have become more important to me as I reach for a simpler, more satisfying life.

What are the most important things that you've learned from your mother - good or bad?

Friday, February 11, 2011


Although we are all one species, people are all different.  We look different, with a range of skin colours depending on the climate; live in different parts of the world, from Arctic regions to rainforests to tropical islands to temperate continents; live in different types of houses, from thatched huts to cardboard slums to floating villages to high-rise apartments to homes of brick or wood; have different customs, eat different foods and wear different clothes.  Some of us are very rich, some very poor, and many fall somewhere inbetween.

One thing we all have in common, though, is the amount of time that we have in each day.  24 hours, 1440 minutes. 

Time is an elusive thing.  It can't be bought or sold, stockpiled or put aside to use later.  You can be a millionaire, but you have the same amount of time each day as the poorest slum dweller.  Sure, your money can buy you better health, better food, a better home, and often, a longer life.  But it still doesn't buy you any more time each day than any other inhabitant of this earth.

We have a tendency to forget this.  Often, we drift along, comfortable in our rut, or ticking things off our "bucket list" if we are more aware of our mortality.  We are often told to live in the moment, rather than agonise over the past or worry about the future.  I think this is good advice.  My mother is a worrier, and even at age 80, winds herself up into a state worrying about things that never happen.  I try to not do this.

I'm a person who needs to have a Plan.  In the absence of something to work towards, I drift along like a leaf in the wind, which I find very unsatisfying.  I like to think that I'm making good use of my time each day, but then, I don't often stop to think about this.

What about you?  Are YOU making good use of your 1440 minutes a day?  Could you do better?  I'm sure I could.