I've been away from home for a few days, enjoying an annual "ladies weekend" with my mom, grandma, aunts and cousins. We always look forward to this adventure, knowing we'll be in for a lot of snacking, window shopping, board game playin' and chatting. We have a great time and literally laugh until our sides hurt. I maintain this is good for the soul, and probably the cheapest therapy you can get.
Its good to have time away from "life" every so often. I especially enjoy it, as a homeschooling mom, because being detached from the little lovlies that I'm generally with 24 hours a day most the year, gives me a nice break. You wouldn't believe how cute Iggy and Ooky are when you haven't seen or dealt with them for 80 hours. In fact, I'm pretty sure they might have grown an inch or two since I last saw them.
The most important part about getting away from life, however, is the simple fact that one can get perspective. Now I know people joke tease me about living in "the cave"...but seriously. Sometimes I think I have no grasp on reality. For me, on this particular ladies weekend of being out and about, perspective meant opening my eyes to the fact that there are a LOT of people in the world who don't live like my family does. (Shhh. In the back of my mind I knew that. But its one thing to know it, and an entirely different thing to experience it.)
I guess its all relative. The world you create and live in will in turn dictate what "normal" is for you. And you tend to assume the way you live is pretty close to what everyone else's "normal" is. I mean, obviously there will be differences, but on the whole...aren't we pretty close?
After this weekend of perspective, I would have to answer with a hearty no.
I remember when we were in the hospital after just having our Iggster. Hubster told me some time after that, that someone had come in and gave him information on WIC and foodstamps and things like that. I screwed up my face and said "How in the world could we even get that?" Then I realized that we totally qualified for it. In my little cave-ish mind, I figured everyone lived in a house where money was tight, (which we did) and that WIC and foodstamps were reserved for people who really needed it. I didn't know we were one of those families who could have technically taken it.
This weekend was a bit like that smack-in-the-face realization, but in a reverse way. We window shopped in stores that held customers whom I'm pretty sure aren't aware we're in "a recession". Or, probably more accurately, customers whose idea of "cutting back" is still living a life that I will never afford as long as I live. It was really strange to be out of the cave and seeing how people are living outside my circle of reality. But then it explains a lot, like how people can be inspired by articles that tell you to save money by getting your haircut every 8 weeks instead of every 6 or learning to change the oil yourself. Things people on my end of the spectrum have been doing all along. And not that those of us on this end of the spectrum should get all high and mighty. There is nothing worse than learning to do something (save money) and then being excited to have figured it out (cut corners where you didn't think you could) and have someone else (like me) steal your fire by saying something like "Yeah, so? I've been doing that since I was 10."
However, I do think its interesting (and possibly necessary) to keep things in perspective. Saving money and cutting back mean different things to different people. The perimeters of simplicity and frugality will vary within each group. I mean, when you get out in the world and realize how simple or complicated or different or whackjobby you really are...it might shed some light on how you view the world.
Ah. Perspective is great.