Sunday, September 07, 2008

Lying With Dogs...

You'll be sure to get a few fleas.

Are your friends and acquaintances keeping you from making necessary changes to your life? Just something to think about. It's an issue that has arisen a lot in my life lately, with one of my stepsons to be exact. Now, I have yet to be fond of one of my stepsons' girlfriends, with one exception. (Hi Diana!) But Petar has reached an all time low with this one. And it ain't doing him any good.

Girlfriend seems, um, spoiled. Rotten. And not as a term of speech. I mean, she has no grounding in reality. She honestly thinks people should give her whatever she wants, and right now, thank you. For instance, she drives a very nice new SUV that her parents bought her. She told me they were going to buy her a different very nice SUV and she threw tantrums until they got her the exact one she wanted.

:-\ It's wearing off on Petar. Heaven help us.

She lives at home, does as she pleases, and doesn't seem to have a plan. Her parents are okay with that. More and more, that describes Petar as well--except for the parents part, and, no, we're quite ticked off about the whole thing. He has become very difficult to live with and is spending more money on clothing and room decor, less money on saving. More time on hanging out and fiddling with hair, less time doing his only assigned chore and working toward a future that does not include living in your parents' house. College? Doesn't fit neatly between hanging out at wine bars and whatever else they do.

So they both work at Macy's and that's where they'll both be for the foreseeable future. But enough about my kids.

I've noticed I also have a certain tendency to copy my friends. Some of the similarities are because like attracts like, but, for instance, I stopped wearing surf-brand t-shirts every day a few years ago because I had a friend who thought tees were juvenile. Suddenly I felt too old for them. And I know I am most tempted to fall off the simplicity path when I am surrounded by people with a lot of nice things. If someone tells me they don't believe in global warming, I just smile and nod. I am easily swayed, and I don't think I'm the only one.

What has worked for me so far is to remember why I do what I do. It's not to prevent global warming or because I like feeling deprived. It's because I don't think it is morally acceptable to take more than my share. When I picture different places on our planet in my head, I see a lot of need. We probably have enough food for everyone except--oops--we throw so much of it away. And it's the same with everything. There just isn't an infinite supply of stuff, so I try to take only what I need, and be thankful for it.

There are other reasons for being green. I don't like the thought of our earth being one big landfill and, as a lifelong asthmatic, I do appreciate breathing more than most people. But the taking-only-my-share is my personal mission. And it's what I hold onto in a sea of wasteful people who may or may not think less of me if I don't fall into step with them.

It's good to examine your heart and know exactly what your principles are. You see, I can feel comfortable rolling my eyes and walking away when people try to engage me about global warming. Global warming is so beside the point to me. I'm about being equitable, and no one can argue with that. That's my stand. And it has saved me from a lot of backtracking and slippery slope-ing.

And here's another good thing to remember: if people only accept you when you consume or waste at the same level as they do, who cares about their shallow, close-minded opinion anyway? If Petar had a backbone and a mantra (I'm saving for culinary school, so no Dolce and Gabbana tees for me), he would be able to stand up to Miss Thang. She would fade away, which she'll do eventually anyway, and he could move on to someone with substance. And get an education, too.