I loved photographing this beautiful barn. I didn’t dare go inside – fear of rats, nails, and sudden collapse.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Moment in Time.”
I am a traveling doctor and I have a new job for a few months, in Fargo, North Dakota. Brr. Everyone is really nice here, and the facilities are awesome. In the center of the hospital is an atrium that goes all the way up to the top floor, which is where I work. The first time I leaned over to look, I got dizzy. My next thought: I gotta get a picture of that! Then I thought: I will probably drop my phone over the edge! It took me two days to work up the nerve to take the pic, clutching the phone with both shaking hands, visions of the phone falling six stories and smashing into a patient at the bottom. Good thing the phone had vision stabilization.
Nothing much warmer than a hothouse full of orchids. One of my husband’s memories from his dad: he inherited an orchid and that started our collection. This bloom arrived in time for my daughter’s ninth birthday.
The Beadstork family is a bit eccentric. I will seamlessly offer proof in the form of a list of our Christmas Day activities:
1. My husband did actual billable computer work. On Christmas. He works EVERY DAY. And he fixed my Mom’s computer.
2. My father consumed an entire pound of homemade fudge between the hours of 9 AM and 7 PM.
3. My daughter’s favorite gift was a bow and arrow – a toy, but much better made and high tech. She spent the entire day shooting the suction cup arrow down the hall into the front door. By bedtime she had a blister.
4. We ran the dishwasher 3 times.
5. I gave my husband a sterling silver chain maille choker that I made, worth hundreds of dollars. He gave me a library book that he made my daughter wrap.
6. We spent a good part of midday creating multicolored polymer high bounce balls with a chemical reaction that occurred in our kitchen.
7. My father read me poetry out of his poetry book that he published.
8. We had an exhaustive conversation about social status and personal responsibility. Somehow it turned into a discussion about how longbows and crossbows had rendered body armor obsolete.
9. My mom Facebook messaged me from her computer upstairs to my phone downstairs : “So where are you spending Christmas this year? Ohio? North Dakota?” From downstairs I messaged back: “Um… at your house?”
10. An enormous Wile E Coyote wearing a Santa hat sat in one of the living room chairs the whole weekend.
11. My mom gave me this AWESOME “Happy Light” designed to treat seasonal depression that I can also use to make my jewelry. Bonus: she says she got it free with the purchase of a lightbulb that cost a fraction of the free lamp!
12. We drank 3 pitchers of Crystal Light lemonade.
13. My father spent the day reading my “gift” book from the library. He’s a quarter of the way through already.
14. My seventy-something mom showed us videos on her smartphone.
15. My husband spent the evening reading a book on beginning meditation. New obsession!
16. Mom turned the sound off for every TV commercial during The Grinch.
17. My daughter and my mom made the annual “granddaughter-grandmother” cheese ball from scratch – a tradition now spanning 4 generations.
18. There were exotic chickens roaming through our yard. The peacocks were off duty today.
19. We temporarily lost the cat.
20. We found a picture of my friend’s dad on Facebook that had a mysterious glow between his legs, and three generations giggled about “Christmas balls”
21. I tantalized my daughter with tales of a tongue twister that results in horrible obscenities if said incorrectly.
22. We schemed to take up money to buy the neighbor a new muffler, since the poor man clearly can’t afford one.
23. My dad would have eaten all the mint brownies, so mom had to hide them.
24. We discussed the pros and cons of collecting copays up front in a doctor’s office.
25. I taught my daughter about super-nummerary nipples. She asked me if I have an extra boob, and when I said no, she said “Aww… I wanted a special mom!”. I told her that I am way too special already without one.
26. We discussed the importance of protecting book spines and dust covers.
27. I ranted about super-conservatives who equate using the word X-mas with satanism because ” you’re taking the Christ out of Christmas “. I worship Satan because I don’t write the word out longhand on every box I put back in the attic? Honestly, I told my husband, it’s not like we’re replacing the word Christ with a SKULL or anything, at which point my husband said, ” Bwa ha ha! Merry Skullmas!”, which became an instant family classic.
28. I got an email notifying me that I made Delta Diamond Medallion. It’s good to be the queen!
29. We argued over whether or not Will Wheaton was in Stand By Me (he was – ha!)
30. Mom read aloud an entire article about 18 little known facts about the movie A Christmas Story.
31. My daughter’s second favorite gift was a huge hardback set of the Lemony Snicket books. She lugged the box up and down the stairs all day.
32. My husband picked all the nuts out of his fudge.
33. I ate my husband’s ice cream, which made him avow eternal wrath.
34. My mom’s tuner croaked Christmas Eve, necessitating that we stream free Amazon Prime Christmas playlists off my phone via a little bullet speaker. We listened to Straight No Chaser nine hundred times.
35. I spent, like, a whole lot of time searching for sterling silver letters I bought to make a gift bracelet. I SWEAR I brought them. I KNOW I brought them.
36. I gave my dad a beaded bald eagle I made to add to his beaded bird collection – he has four now. I stayed up late Christmas Eve because I HAD to finish it.
37. My husband took four or five fists full of vitamins every few hours because he is attempting to purge mercury from his body.
38. Mom and I went through ALL of my daughter’s school pictures, only to discover that she has three sets that I don’t. What?
39. I caught my sweater on some blinds and knocked over a window-worth of Christmas decorations.
40. We discussed how the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors changed the Mayan social caste system.
41. Also, my husband texted me AS ME on my own phone demanding hot Christmas sex.
42. I ate something other than yogurt today.
43. My daughter made a Lego set containing police alligators with red and blue lights, moving tails and (SCORE) mouths that really open.
44. My husband gifted me an awesome fossil ammonite pendant from his trip to Slovenia.
45. I don’t think anyone ever got dressed.
Last flight home to the North Pole! A Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
The question was posed: is it more dangerous to want everything or nothing?
I think desiring everything can be an indication of ambition, if what you want is intangible. Failure to narrow down these aspirations make one the proverbial “Jack of all Trades, and Master of None.” Those of us with this issue of course refer to ourselves as “Renaissance” persons. It sounds better.
I had no goals in high school. Except to survive.
Desire for things is a symptom of the commercialization fed to us every day; we are bombarded: ads on TV, ads online, the lure of a glistening store.
The sellers know, the more we are dissatisfied with ourselves, the more we are likely to buy a product. “If I just bought this wrinkle cream, I would look younger and more desirable.” “If I bought this treadmill, I would lose weight and be sexy.” It is human nature to desire to improve, fit in, and of course, find a “better” mate. And society has persuaded us, tragically, that this results from conspicuous consumption, not from internal change.
Desiring many things can also indicate greediness, addiction, hoarding issues, and narcissicism, where people may spend more than they can afford, landing themselves in debt and jeopardizing their family’s finances.
I confess, I do want everything. Things. In my case, I want to improve my looks, and to fit in with my peer groups, and I have definite packrat tendencies. I love to shop, and sometimes I engage in retail therapy. I shop when I feel bad, I shop when I feel good, I shop because I love to bring home piles of lovely things to add to my treasure troves of clothing, art and jewelry supplies, books, stationery, eclectic decorating items. My interests are wide. And since high school, I have harbored the conviction that the more “cool” things I have, the safer from criticism and ostracism I will be.
Wanting no material things; that’s good. We could use more asceticism in life. A simple life is examined and confident.
But wanting nothing; that can be scarier still. I realized one day, a few years back, that despite hoarding my precious supplies of material things, that I have no goals left.
I had a goal to go to college; I finished with a whopper GPA . Check. Next goal: have fun. Did that in spades. Overdid that. Next stop, medical school. Made straight A’s my first two years, and nearly that the second two. Check. Next stop, residency. Chose a specialty and spend a grueling 4 years training, being hazed, overworked and psychologically abused. Survived it, and I never let them see me cry. Check, check, check, check.
I bought the car of my dreams, a Porsche Carrera, after graduating. Goal met. I wanted to get married. Finally met and married my husband at the ripe old age of 35. Goal met. We wanted children, and I produced a daughter with frightening speed.
And one day, I woke up and I realized there was nothing left. All those life goals, done. What else is there? What do I want now? What life achievement is out there?
I’ve given this a fair bit of thought.
Many aspire for grandchildren, which would be nice, but it is not a goal for me.
I want to make more friends. I guess that’s sort of a goal.
I’d like to simplify my life by divesting myself of these possessions. But I don’t really want to.
I want to improve my jewelry techniques and make selling my work more of a career and less of a hobby. It’s a dream I cannot realize, since the loss of income would be unacceptable. That would be a goal, but it is inconveniently imaginary.
I want to get in better shape, but do I really? I abhor gyms; they bore me, and I don’t go. Must not be much of a goal, if I’m not doing anything about it..
I would like to write a book. It may or may not happen. I know I do have one in me. It’s probably the only true goal I have left.
What I really want is to quit my job. Scarcely a positive move.
Not wanting anything is an abyss you stare into. There is nothing at the bottom of it, at the end of it. In essence, life is over. I feel I should just cede what’s left to the next generation.
Not wanting is the end of the road. It brings on an unsurmountable depression. I am reminded always of Peggy Lee’s song “Is That All There Is?” I learned it as a kid, but didn’t realize the sadness and truth in it until I was older.
If you want material things, at least you are alive in a small way. You are moving toward something, persuading yourself that amassing collections is a vital “hobby”.
I’ve always felt I want too many tangible things, but that never gave me this sinking feeling that there is nothing left to achieve. That is a special kind of hell. A bottomless pit. And when hope is gone, that is a very, very dangerous thing. A person with nothing to lose is a disaster waiting to happen.