Monday, January 9, 2012

When Is Enough Enough?

Normally reflective, I become even more so over the holiday and this year, having a nasty head cold, confined to bed or huddled under an afghan in my favorite recliner, I have given a lot of thought to this seemingly need/drive I have to create alternatives, to consider options, to seek other possibilities.  Some of what I have to share will probably make anyone who knows me say "DUH, that's obvious! You haven't known this before?!" I have, but I don't know that I've considered some of the implications that have become clearer - and that I want to address. So, here goes:
  • Being raised by strict parents and educated by even stricter nuns to think and behave by limited rules and imperatives, I resist anything that smacks of 'because I said so.'  I particularly resist dogma and polarized options.  Either/or, right/wrong, good/bad, all/nothing - too simplistic, too limiting. No wonder I have so little patience with our so-called political debate. Why I am close to despair about the lack of public discourse. Why I can't bear the talk shows, the political pundits.
  • Conversely, my experience in the 60's, meeting foreign graduate students for the first time, exposed to alternative cultures, differing opinions in an atmosphere of challenging thought and long-held beliefs, I developed a deep appreciation for learning from and with others that persists to this day. Aha - so that's why I'm so pleased with the little book club I've found. The discussions there remind me of these earlier conversations.
  • Later,trained in skills of critical thinking, committed for years to teaching youngsters to think critically, I love open-ended, provocative questions. I enjoy the process of examining issues from different perspectives, and see the cost to our reluctance to doing so in our public life.
  • And, seeing alternatives and having several choices before making my own decisions has become my measure of personal success and independence.
All understandable, benign, certainly has served me well in difficult times. But I am seeing some of the I declutter, remove 15 books on the same topic, toss projects begun but incomplete, donate clothes I've rarely worn, contemplate yet another diet.  And in the midst of it all, I came across this little quote, "Happiness is a place between too little and too much."  So I leave this entry with the questions foremost in my thoughts right much is too little"?  How much is too much?  When is enough enough?

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