The holidays bring about a lot of things. One of those that we seem to focus on most, shopping. Theoretically, shopping will improve the economy. However, realistically, shopping also puts people in serious debt. With the state of the current economy, this cultural construct that has associated love with gifts has made us into a materialistic nation - an image we quite literally can no longer afford to uphold.
The idea of living within your means has become an outdated notion as credit cards have taken over financial woes. Lack of cash has been replaced with layaway and payment plans, loans and lines of credit, and even better - the offer of bankruptcy as a quick fix with limited strings attached.
We are living in a generation where money is being thrown around like it does grow in the community garden. College graduates are so far in debt, with no job in sight, that the prospect of debt-free doesn't seem like a phrase they should consider in their vocabulary. Citizens are facing an economy that can no longer pretend to support ideas like 'long-term security' and 'low risk.' Yet, the holidays always bring new hope to struggling businesses.
Why? Because people are unwavering in their willingness to dole out wads of cash [read: credit] during the holiday season to perpetuate tradition, to keep the status qou. And I am no exception.
So amen to a legitimate excuse to spend money you don't have on the people you love (and yourself, especially yourself)!
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Altered received a special set visit from the AFP News Agency (Agence France-Press) during this last round of filming.
Check out the clip below!
Check out the clip below!
To: The Loves of My Life,
My parents have always been big proponents of diversity, so it's no surprise that my friends don't fit into any one category. We never lived in places that were predominately anything like us. They raised my siblings and I to believe that it's the differences between us that make us special. They encouraged us to surround ourselves with people that could offer us an unique perspective on life.
Over the years I have built an epic resume of friendships. They span racial, ethnic, and religious groups, geographic boundaries, and cross generational lines. Some of them have been around since before I can remember - they know my everything (and they love me anyways), our memories weave in and out of each others. Others have come along the way - meeting me at different points of my life: high school, college, grad school; through organizations, mutual friends; or at parties, work, random chance encounters. Even more recently has a new group of friends found their way into the mix.
Not everyone sticks around and even more than those are the ones that come and go without a plan. My brand of pretty complete honesty combined with my propensity for sticking my foot in my mouth has severed a few ties. I don't always make the right choice, sometimes I make the decision that makes the most sense whether it's "right" or not. I never give up on the people I care about.
I love with my whole heart and it has earned me a long list of extraordinary friends. I am in constant awe of them and owe them more than I'll ever be able to repay. Life has given me amazing opportunities and presented me with more than I can ever fully appreciate. I have more than a few friendships that I would go to the ends of the Earth to protect, and that phrase may make you laugh, but that probably means this letter isn't meant for you.
This past year has definitely had its moments - some that have definitely effected me in a forever kind of way.
Today is my 26th birthday. Nothing spectacular happened - there were no surprise presents, no orchids, nothing shiny, and the man my heart still unequivocally and irrationally beats faster for didn't suddenly decide he wasn't better off without me. It was just another day. There's no mystical guarantee that life will change just because you will it to, no matter how many stars you wish on. Maybe that's the point. Sometimes we all need reminders that things don't turn out the way we want them to, even if we haven't found it in ourselves to let go and accept it yet. You can still know that your life is complete just the way it is.
So embrace your emotions, the good with the bad, because the beautiful moments in life aren't always the ones that came easy. Be scared and go for it anyway, chase a dream that doesn't want you, love without excuse - and remember, that at the end of the day, you are loved, and that love is just as good as any kind that exists.