Last summer, I came home from our family vacation to face the realities of life .
I had felt weary from the responsibilities of family, home, business, self, and so, naturally, vacation is when I ignore all of those things and do whatever I want! (it helps when you tag along with grandparents). Eating ALL THE THINGS was part of my responsibility-rebellion, so when I came back to life, I wasn’t surprised (but nonetheless horrified) that my clothes were ill-fitting and I looked, to myself in the mirror, well… vacaction-y (and I don’t mean tanned & relaxed).
I resolved that I would find some kind of exercise solution that would help get things back on track, and ultimately, signed up for a membership at my local YMCA. It made sense financially, because I was going to register my kids for various programs (there are discounted rates for members), it had dozens of drop-in classes included in membership, as well as a pool & the usual fitness facilities.
I have always been very motivated by the commitment of spending money. If I pay for a program, I am going to show up. Otherwise, what a waste of money! I know this isn’t a motivator for everyone (see: Gretchen Rubin’s 4 Tendencies), but it has worked for me.
But, for some reason, this time, it just didn’t. I went to classes here & there for a while, and I took the kids swimming, but the value I was taking advantage of was WAY less than the expense.
The obvious next step for someone who likes to be intentional about spending, is to cancel the membership. Right? It was certainly clear to my husband!
But, I was sooo reluctant. I didn’t want to give it up. I liked being able to go on a whim. I liked the possibility that if I wanted to exercise, I had a perfect forum & opportunity, waiting to welcome me in.
But all of this was at an expense of $84/month (that’s ~$1000 a year, for those of us who understood there would be no math). I haven’t been to a class since Christmas break, and have used the equipment floor exactly once. I’ve taken the kids swimming, but not nearly enough to make it cost less than dropping in. It didn’t make sense — why was I holding on?
I finally realized how much belonging to the membership of the club was impacting me. I liked being a part of something, and that feeling had really motivated me to spend money on this membership.
Belonging is a deep emotional & psychological need. The question for discerning consumers is: when is my fundamental need to belong being manipulated, for someone else’s gain?
For the record, I don’t think that the YMCA was manipulating me! But, there are numerous membership clubs, online groups, professional organizations, and the like, who, in many ways, sell belonging for a fee.
I need to determine, in each situation, if it is worth it to me. Is there more offered, and are the other benefits valuable enough to me? Or maybe, it is enough to pay for this belonging? Where else, and to whom, do Ibelong??
(Photo courtesy of Friends of Basha)
Reflections from my experience visiting a Brothel in Bangladesh
As impossible as it is for me to believe now, earlier in 2020 I flew around the world. The primary objective was to visit Bangladesh and see, in person, the life-changing work in which dignify has had the privilege to participate over these past 8 years.
A friend recently asked on Facebook for “the most challenging and enlightening resource you have read/watched about the problem of racism in America”. This question received numerous responses within the day: half a dozen films, dozens of books, podcasts, courses, and other hubs of information resources (as well as the astute reply, “Conversation”, which is, of course, the most relational and human of “resources”).
I think that this experience was shared by most people in early June (as protests & concerns over racial injustice had reached a critical volume): so many resources, so much to learn.
But now, 2 months later… what have we done with the magnitude of worthy, fascinating, perspective-altering information & insights that have been brought to our attention?
And this it only in the area racial injustice. In other interests & concerns: How much do we know? How much have we learned & read & listened to already?
Approximately 25 years ago (in March 2020), we did a customer/reader survey. I asked what you like to read on the blog & one of the respondents suggested a post on "living generously". What a fabulous idea and perfect for this time in history!
[The title of this post implies some kind of authority or expertise — ha! Nope, no experts here... just some thoughts on generosity from a fellow human, trying to make my way!]