Thursday, May 29, 2014

What a Week

I'm back!
I enjoyed a long and fun trip to the beach with friends. It was the "annual spontaneous gathering of Mormon singles at Duck Beach" for somewhere around the 30th year in a row.
As usual, our house was incredible, the friends were desirable, the food fantastic, and a good, wonderful time was had by all. (And there were some pretty intense Phase 10 games, made even more entertaining by spontaneous outbursts of song, that I may never stop laughing about.)
And somehow I've also kept up with the tradition of coming home from the beach with a nasty head cold. I have no idea how that happens every single year. It's one tradition I wouldn't mind killing off.
I read a ton, got a decent tan, and even got some good writing done. My goal was to meet Maslow's first 3 levels of needs, and relax, so that I could reach the top 2 levels, and find my creativity again. It took a few days, and I fell victim to lots of fun distractions repeatedly (for which I hold no remorse), but I'm happy to say, I did relax and write eventually.
The week was also (interrupted?) punctuated with the publication of "A Love Letter to the Single Men." It was an article I wrote for Meridian before I left town, that caused a few ripples and waves in the singles pool. I predicted I'd get positive and negative feedback, and I was right. It was just unusual to be surrounded by singles day in and out when the article came out. There was no escaping me or them, for better or for worse.
All in all, it was a great experience. Now it's time to put my energies into preparing for Russia, Serbia, and Romania. And finding a way to make a LOT more money. No one is getting rich on unemployment around here, believe you me. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs or Why I Hate the Word Funemployed

I've been thinking a lot about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs lately. Specifically, in relation to creativity and unemployment.
The truth is, I don't recall much about studying Maslow's Hierarchy in school, possibly because I never took any psych classes. (I was a political communications and broadcast journalism major. I can tell you all about Lasswell's theories of communications. I won't tell you how many years it took for me to realize that Maslow and Lasswell were two different things. And yet, you'd be surprised how many similarities they share.) But I digress.
I hate the word "fun-employed." Lest you think this refers to people who love their jobs, it doesn't. It's a completely inaccurate way to describe unemployment. It's far from the truth. There's nothing fun about unemployment.
In fact, most unemployment is a struggle to meet Maslow's first two levels of needs. In theory, most people have that third level. (Except a single person who isn't really physically close to her friends and family would also struggle to meet this level as well.) When all of your resources are going into meeting those first two levels, it's hard, if not nearly impossible at times, to reach those top levels.
And that can be frustrating! How is unemployment ever "fun" when you are fighting and struggling to reach your basic needs? Fun can't be had until you've reached those basic needs. Creativity (which keeps me going) can't be achieved or sustained until all other needs are met. (No wonder I find it so hard to write and be creative during this time where supposedly I have nothing else to do but be creative.)
It's only just now, as I write this, really hitting me why it is so important to me that I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way for fun these days. For instance, the annual trip to Duck Beach next week. On one hand, my guilty side says I shouldn't do it. My time would be better spent at home, job hunting, saving my pennies.
On the other hand, Maslow and I can both see how a week at the beach fills all levels of my needs. Yes, including stability, food, etc. (It's all paid for and provided while I'm there.) For the one week I will have companionship and friends. Each level of the hierarchy will be met for just the one week, and I desperately crave that. And maybe, just maybe, my creativity will return once that has happened.
You may call it "funemployed." I call it meeting my most basic needs.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Why Is Everything so Beautiful?

I'm visiting Roanoke for a few days, taking a much needed break from reality, and my normally scheduled life. I've been busy, busy, busy, ever since arriving here on Friday. I plan to stay 1-2 more days to work on a huge project, distraction-free. Or at least I hope it's distraction free. We shall see.

Yesterday was "church prom" for my "baby ducks." (For those just tuning in to this blog in progress, the baby ducks are the young women from my church in Roanoke that I worked with and took to girls camp a few times. They love their nickname, and I use it often.) Church prom is an alternative to school prom. They still get all dressed up in their fancy dresses, and some girls even take dates. But there are standards for the dresses (nothing too short, too revealing, and shoulders must be covered). From what I've heard the kids really prefer church prom because "no one at school knows how to dance." At church, the kids have been going to dances since they were 14. But at school, a lot of kids have only ever been to prom or homecoming, and don't really get how to dance. In their words, "they only know how to jump or grind." So the church kids prefer the church dance where they know the music, and they can all dance and have fun.
Well, you know how much I love my girls. So when they told me it was prom, and asked if I wanted to chaperon, of course I said yes. And next thing you know, I'm not just chaperoning, I offered to host dinner before the dance.
And that's how I ended up making a 6 course dinner for 15 kids at my house. I originally thought we would only have 5-6 kids. But then I didn't want any of my girls to get left out. So... yeah. 3 boys, 12 girls, 6 course meal! Insanity. I did have some awesome help from a dear friend to serve the food. I don't know how I would have served all of it without her.
Dinner was delicious, and the dance was a lot of fun. I always get a good work out at the dances, since I always participate in the line dances. I haven't danced since I left Roanoke, and I'm feeling sore and old today!

The other big reason I came to Roanoke this weekend was to attend the baptism of one of my baby ducks. (She's going to remain nameless, since I haven't asked permission to share her name.) She's been attending church for a year. She has a wonderful spirit about her. And I'm just thrilled she chose to be baptized. I was more than happy to drive down here to support her today.
She and I sat next to each other in church today. There were a few talks on mothers and a musical performance. It was all very touching. At one point she turned to me with tears streaming down her face and said, "Why is everything so beautiful?"
And it was. It was a beautiful day, but I was getting by without waterworks. (And I cry quite easily these days.) But she was crying for different reasons. She was just so filled with the love of the Holy Ghost, she could only see beauty in the world around her.
Oh how beautiful it must be to be so pure-hearted, so in tune with the Lord, as to see the world like that.
I could only hug her and tell her I adore her.
But I've been thinking about her comment all day. "Why is everything so beautiful?"
I hope that I can be so pure and true as to see the world her way, even if just for a few minutes. 

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