Wednesday, July 21, 2010

craigslist magic

One upside of having the summer "off" is that it affords one with time to explore things that require some time and energy.  I have been curious about craigslist for a number of months now, based on the experiences of some people that I know.  Thus, I gave up close to four hours yesterday, setting up an account, taking photos of items I am ready to part with, posting ads in the appropriate categories and then dealing with the responses that began to arrive in my gmail account.  While time consuming, I decided that it was my 'learning curve' day and made peace with the fact that today- one day later - I am $10 richer and two items lighter.

I stated in an earlier blog entry that there are other currencies besides money.  This was in great evidence today as I executed my two transactions with my first two 'customers'.  The first woman arrived by public transit, expressed deep gratitude for the bike that I was selling 'as is' for $10, and shared her story with me of being a single parent immigrant with a young child making a life in our city.  I felt like I should be the one thanking her instead for taking the bike off my hands and presenting such kindness and thankfulness on a hot, humid morning.  My time spent with her truly lifted my spirit.

One hour later, I arrived at the local subway station at the appointed hour to hand over a 'free' cat carrier bag.  This was the real prize...I received at least twenty emails from people hoping to obtain it from me.  I second-guessed posting it for free after I discovered that it retailed for at least $60.  The real goal was to get it into the hands of a cat owner who could use it, however.  The young woman who met me at the station was lovely, appreciative and gracious.  The cat carrier would be of use during a future move as she had two cats and only one carrier.  Just when I thought that this exchange was perfect enough, she pulled a book out of her bag and asked me if I would be interested in it.  Yes,  I definitely would be!  And so beyond exchanging items and pleasantries, we shared a  mutual sense of happiness as we parted. 

Yes, I have given this exercise a lot of time and energy in the past twenty-four hours.  No, it will not be my path to future riches (although I plan to take myself to a movie this afternoon using my monetary proceeds).  I now have two items out of my household, and the knowledge that two kind, grateful women made the effort on city transit to invite these items into their lives and put them back to good use.  I also have a few hours of delicious summer reading awaiting me, thanks to the thoughtfulness of the new owner of the cat carrier.

Most of all, while on-line endeavours of this type have the potential to go very wrong, I have instead experienced two encounters with all that is good about humanity.  I have been gently reminded that I have so much and that sharing with others blesses both the one that receives and the one that gives.

Wondering what to post for sale next and who might benefit along with me...

Wondering Woman

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Black and White

I have been saddled with a brain that likes to organize, categorize, systemize.  I do this at every opportunity throughout the day.  I have a need to take the colour grey and shift it one way or the other.  I accuse myself daily of rigid thinking, recognizing that it seems to be how I operate but that it is not a life-enhancing quality.

These difficulties are magnified at this time in my life by the fact that I live with a large number of people in a family system vastly different from my family of origin.  I presently operate in the role of 'mother' which I am finding to be fundamentally isolating and challenging within the family unit.  I believe that every social unit ends up with someone playing the mother role - and wishing he or she could be the father or one of the kids instead.  I accepted long ago that being a mother is generally a thankless slog-fest, joining the multitudes of women who came to the same conclusion long before I did.  I also accept that mothers operate as the sun or the axle, and the other family members rotate around the centre force that we provide.  Further, I completely accept that our children at least need to be able to fully take our being for granted so that they might launch their own lives from a stable platform.  All of that said, I am very glad that I am a mother.  The role has expanded me beyond myself.

Two thoughts have risen to the surface of late in my efforts to comprehend the multitudinous relationships that govern people.  The first is that people are either of the narcissistic persuasion or they are not.  Second, people are either of the impulsive 'live for the moment' persuasion or they are not.  We all then live within combinations of these two traits; e.g., the impulsive narcissist who is incapable of thinking beyond today or beyond him or herself, or the person of service who can and does plan, prepare and set goals, or the self-absorbed individual who competently plans for the future, or the unselfish giver who has great intentions but can never get his or her act together to execute anything.

I have been able to tease out causes of friction and difficulty between people as I explore the dynamic that happens when the self-absorbed work or co-exist with the service-driven individuals.  Similarly, there is little or no congruence between those who operate with rational thoughts and those who are driven by impulsivity and magical thinking.  One group is very black to the other group's white.  Getting to grey is hardly an option when behaviours are so much a part of the essence of who each person is.  These traits exist in different combinations within my immediate and extended family and are proving to be an increasing source of frustration to me (and probably to some of my family members near and far). 

I count on time, counsel and reflection to soften the walls of my thinking.  The family ranks are swollen given the ages and stages of the children.  This will subside.  I am definitely hoping to mellow with age.  I work hard to understand that we all are who we are and to govern my expectation of others and myself accordingly.

Figuring it all out, one day at a time,

Wondering Woman