Sixty Things (21-40)

21. Life is short. Don’t hold grudges. (I know this. I’m just not good at doing it.)

22. Live below your means if you can. If you can’t do that, try very hard not to spend money you don’t have.

23. Everyone was someone’s child once.

24. From F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby: “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.'”

I have had the great advantage to be born into a family with two parents in a stable relationship (at least until I was a teen) with a stable income in a nice neighborhood in a town with good schools. Those same parents raised my siblings and I the best way they knew how. I never went hungry or without proper clothing. My family valued education and expected us to at least try to get a college education.

Also, I’m white, and whether or not you agree, I believe that fact means my reality is vastly different from someone who isn’t, even if all the other conditions are the same.

Admitting this doesn’t take away from my achievements. It doesn’t mean The Engineer and I didn’t work hard for what we have, nor does it negate the decisions we have made to keep us safely on the paths we have chosen.

It just means we were born with a few advantages not everyone has. In some cases, these advantages were provided by our parents. Other advantages were simply by luck — being born in a first world country, for example.

Fitgerald’s words ring true for me, and I think it’s important to remember them.

25. Even now, the US is a good place to live. But I do not believe we have any right to claim it’s the only good place to live.

26. Every family has problems. If yours hasn’t had any, you’re either a liar, or haven’t lived long enough.

27. Every country has problems. Some — climate change, COVID-19, income disparity, crime — are fairly universal.

28. I believe the earth will survive long after we have destroyed its capacity to support human life.

29. I also believe we need to do what we can to reverse, or at least stall, climate change and stop destroying our world. Obviously, I’m not claiming to be perfect in my own efforts, but I’m trying.

30. This one may seem like a radical notion, but I think the world was designed for men, mostly because most of our ways of doing things were designed by men, and therefore men are considered the default. But here’s a newsflash: Women aren’t men. We aren’t even smaller men. Our bodies are different so we react differently to drugs. Heart attack symptoms are different for women, and thus frequently go undiagnosed. We are 47% more likely to be seriously injured in a car accident (statistic from Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez) because seatbelts are designed to fit men. (If you’d like to read a good summary of Criado-Perez’s book, go here.)

Don’t even get me started about bathrooms and “potty parity!”

Here’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about: I decided to look up bladders to see if there was a difference in size between women’s and men’s, and look what I found: A diagram entitled “Picture of the Bladder” on WebMD. Spoiler alert: It’s a man.

Our lives differ because women are usually the ones providing unpaid care work including child and elder care. (For many women, this fact and COVID-19 has stretched them to the breaking point.)

Safety is always more of a concern because rape of women is exponentially more common than of men. And if you’re someone who still believes a woman shouldn’t have been in a certain place or shouldn’t have worn that outfit, I’d suggest you look at this exhibition of what women were wearing when they were raped.

This is not whining. It’s merely asking to be included in decisions that affect our lives.

31. Having said that, I believe men can also be hamstrung by society’s traditional expectations.

32. Honey bees are fascinating.

33. If you look hard enough, you’ll find something interesting about almost everyone.

34. It’s good to sometimes shut up and listen — another fact I find hard to act upon.

35. The more things you can do yourself, the better off you are.

36. But sometimes it’s cheaper in time and money to pay someone to do a task.

37. Being educated and being smart are two different things. And both educated people and smart people can act stupid at times.

38. There’s no excuse for willful ignorance.

39. A birdfeeder is a relatively cheap way to add joy to your life.

40. Many times when the world seems overwhelming, it’s because you haven’t eaten.


6 thoughts on “Sixty Things (21-40)

  1. Point 40: … or stopped to pee. See point 30 above.
    And don’t you find *that* issue gets tougher the older you get?
    Criado-Perez’ book is so enlightening, but it did demonstrate one very salient point: Men know all this stuff. They just don’t care enough to do anything about it, because it doesn’t inconvenience them. That said, I am seeing different minor behaviours in the Husband since I read large chunks of the book aloud to him. Some men do care enough…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does get tougher, and more annoying. I began notice many of the things she mentions more and more as I got older. I think a lot of it comes down to laziness and not wanting to know because then the “system” would have to change, and that would involve effort.

      As Ruth Bader Ginsberg (my shero) said, “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”

      One of the things Criado-Perez talks about a lot is the unpaid labor that women do, a topic that is especially important with COVID. It sounds horrible, but I am so grateful Darling Daughter is grown, and I haven’t had to deal with online schooling.
      It’s such a huge task, and I’ve actually read about people who have said, “You shouldn’t have had kids if you didn’t want to take care of them.”
      EXCUSE ME?!!!! What a shame most parents didn’t plan on raising their children in a pandemic — something the people commenting probably never dealt with when they had children.
      And, of course, the comment was aimed at the moms.
      Must stop now. I can feel my blood pressure rising.
      Grrrrrrrrr!!!!

      Like

      • If there can be said to be one good thing about the pandemic, it’s that most men spent unprecedented amounts of time at home and saw first hand what women had to deal with on a daily basis – and hopefully, took on a share of it.
        As for the uninhibited commenting that happens on social media, it’s probably the chief reason I don’t participate in FB, IG, Twitter and all the rest of that ilk. They are all enablers of hideous bad manners, exhibitionism, bad taste, downright sleaze, entitlement and unabashed displays of bigotry and bullying. You can keep them, I’m sticking with old-school good manners.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I’ve given up on FB and Twitter, though I do enjoy Instagram — sharing pictures of hiking, flying, and of course, the bees.

        From what I’ve read in the news, women are still bearing the brunt of the extra work, with many leaving the work force because they can’t do both. Since most women make less $$ than most men, the unfortunate result is they are the ones to leave work. It’s not that I wish for men to leave their jobs, it’s just sad that COVID has affected women to a greater extent.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great words of wisdom. I struggle with the balance between points 35 and 36. I always want to do everything myself, but the older I get and the more home renovation projects I get bogged down in, I’ve come to realize the wisdom in 36.

    Like

    • It’s definitely a fine line. My husband (The Engineer) tends to avoid plumbing and major renovations, but handles the rest just fine. As for me, I’d love to raise chickens, but I know the work involved is daily, and we just like to travel too much.

      Liked by 1 person

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