Readability

Free Indeed

by baldilocks

The week­end posts at Ace of Spades HQ are, for the most part, interest-​specific. The guns, food, gar­den­ing threads, and my favorite, the Sun­day Book Thread, are posted by Ace’s co-​bloggers, giv­ing the pro­pri­etor the week­end off. Usually.baldilocks

Today, how­ever, there’s a peo­ple story posted by one of the co-​bloggers, Weird­Dave; it’s a recount of a pos­si­ble attempted grift/​robbery. Or, per­haps it was merely a cav­al­cade of incom­pe­tence from an observer’s view­point; Dave isn’t sure. Go read it; then come back.

In the com­ments, many are lament­ing the decline of com­pe­tence – that old can-​do spirit – among Amer­i­cans born later than the Baby Boomer Gen­er­a­tion and I agree. I’m a late-​born Boomer – 1961 – but I can’t point the fin­ger too much, how­ever, with­out point­ing at myself. I’m a city girl and a bit of a BAP. How­ever, there are many things that I learned to do in my mid­dle age or had to do because of per­ceived lack of resources.

A small exam­ple: I sell items on the usual web­sites know for sell­ing and when I went shop­ping for pack­ing mate­ri­als, I was appalled at the prices. So, I went online look­ing for DIY pack­ing mate­ri­als. When I found them, my response was, “of course.” I made vir­tu­ally free pack­ing mate­ri­als using things I would nor­mally put in the recy­cle bin: balled-​up cir­cu­lars – which peren­ni­ally clog my mail­box – and shred­ded paper stuffed and sta­pled into brown paper lunch bags. (The bags did cost $2 for two hun­dred.) I was proud of myself for find­ing the infor­ma­tion, but, in hind­sight, it seemed so obvi­ous. And, therein lies another revelation.

You can do what you have to do when you are deter­mined to do what you want to do. And, more often than not, your solution(s) will be right in front of you if you are look­ing for them. It’s a fea­ture of God’s grace.

And I think that’s the issue which Dave and the com­menters are observ­ing: lack of desire to learn new skills , lack of desire to acquire new abil­i­ties, lack of desire to impro­vise, to adapt, and to over­come. It’s a dearth of vision and of faith.

We have become so used to con­ve­nience that, when faced with incon­ve­nience and/​or adver­sity, many of us panic or become angry – as if our rights have been vio­lated. We have for­got­ten that this is a world of Murphy’s Law–if we ever actu­ally learned it in the first place — and, there­fore, we fail to make con­tin­gency plans for feces to hap­pen. And when feces does hap­pen, we give up — or throw a fit, which amounts to the same thing.

Deter­mi­na­tion is the miss­ing ele­ment in much of 2014’s Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tion, and I pre­dict that determination’s pres­ence will be the key ele­ment of sur­vival in the tougher times to come.

The good thing about deter­mi­na­tion, though, is this: it’s free…like God’s grace.

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was pub­lished in 2009; the sec­ond edi­tion in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

by baldilocks

The weekend posts at Ace of Spades HQ are, for the most part, interest-specific. The guns, food, gardening threads, and my favorite, the Sunday Book Thread, are posted by Ace’s co-bloggers, giving the proprietor the weekend off. Usually.baldilocks

Today, however, there’s a people story posted by one of the co-bloggers, WeirdDave; it’s a recount of a possible attempted grift/robbery. Or, perhaps it was merely a cavalcade of incompetence from an observer’s viewpoint; Dave isn’t sure. Go read it; then come back.

In the comments, many are lamenting the decline of competence–that old can-do spirit–among Americans born later than the Baby Boomer Generation and I agree. I’m a late-born Boomer–1961–but I can’t point the finger too much, however, without pointing at myself. I’m a city girl and a bit of a BAP. However, there are many things that I learned to do in my middle age or had to do because of perceived lack of resources.

A small example: I sell items on the usual websites know for selling and when I went shopping for packing materials, I was appalled at the prices. So, I went online looking for DIY packing materials. When I found them, my response was, “of course.”  I made virtually free packing materials using things I would normally put in the recycle bin: balled-up circulars–which perennially clog my mailbox–and shredded paper stuffed and stapled into brown paper lunch bags. (The bags did cost $2 for two hundred.) I was proud of myself for finding the information, but, in hindsight, it seemed so obvious. And, therein lies another revelation.

You can do what you have to do when you are determined to do what you want to do. And, more often than not, your solution(s) will be right in front of you if you are looking for them. It’s a feature of God’s grace.

And I think that’s the issue which Dave and the commenters are observing: lack of desire to learn new skills , lack of desire to acquire new abilities, lack of desire to improvise, to adapt, and to overcome. It’s a dearth of vision and of faith.

We have become so used to convenience that, when faced with inconvenience and/or adversity, many of us panic or become angry–as if our rights have been violated. We have forgotten that this is a world of Murphy’s Law–if we ever actually learned it in the first place—and, therefore, we fail to make contingency plans for feces to happen. And when feces does happen, we give up—or throw a fit, which amounts to the same thing.

Determination is the missing element in much of 2014’s American population, and I predict that determination’s presence will be the key element of survival in the tougher times to come.

The good thing about determination, though, is this: it’s free…like God’s grace.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!