#happiness #meaning #purpose #trascendence #storytelling
“There’s more to life than being happy.”
So begins the “Money Matters” column by Wes Moss, published in the July 3, 2022 edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Moss, who writes about happy retirees, says crafting a life that matters may be more important than happiness.
Moss cites the book “The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters,” by Emily Esfahani Smith, who, Moss writes, has made it her mission to show how people eschew happiness for meaning.
Her four pillars are belonging, purpose, transcendence and storytelling, Moss writes.
Belonging involves having a relationship with a person who values who you are, not for how you look or what you are willing to do for them, Moss writes.
Purpose involves the reason a person gets out of bed in the morning. It may not be what others may consider a grand purpose, but if your job was your purpose, and now you are retired, you may need to find a new purpose, Moss writes.
Transcendence is the ability to be awed by something sacred. That something may not be sacred in the religious sense, but it may give you a sense of amazement, peace or stillness, Moss quotes the author.
Storytelling is the narrative you would write about you – what makes, or made, you the person you are today.
If your life has meaning, as you see it, you are not necessarily unhappy. Your purpose may indeed make you happy.
One who does little or nothing with his or her life may be content in their relaxation, but it may be debatable whether they are actually happy. Contentedness and happiness are not the same.
Most people have meaning in their lives. As Moss writes, that meaning may be different for everyone.
Most retirees have things they can do when they no longer work. Others may keep working well beyond their retirement age.
Whatever you find meaningful, chances are it will make you happy. Meaning and happiness may go together like hand and glove.
Just as most everyone has some meaning in their lives, everyone has a story. One’s story may not be as compelling as someone else’s, but his or her story has meaning not just to themselves, but others close to him or her.
In short, meaning and happiness can be dual goals. If one finds one, the other may soon follow.
Go for both.


#incomes #SixFigureIncomes #inflation #FinancialProblems #MoneyManagement
Yes, it’s possible that a couple making a six-figure income together can still have financial issues.
Nedra Rhone, “This Life” columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution discussed this in a column published June 23, 2022.
Rhone says many people believe that anyone making six figures a year with financial problems have money management, not money, problems.
But as rents skyrocket and prices for gasoline and other goods rise to levels not seen in decades, it is possible for two people making a combined, six-figure income to have trouble making ends meet – never mind saving for the future.
Some decades back, a young couple just starting out in life might have thought that if they could just make $20,000 a year together, they would be OK.
Inflation has kicked that goal up fivefold, or more.
As Rhone points out, it’s great to teach kids, and young adults, good money management skills. It takes some discipline to watch what one spends money on. And, certainly, we all can improve our money management skills.
But, the lesson here is that costs of living can’t keep rising without some, if not everyone, feeling the pinch.
Food, shelter, clothing, energy etc. are all necessary for living and working. People certainly can cut out frivolous expenses, unnecessary trips etc. But everyone has to eat, have a roof over his or her head, drive to work etc.
Some recent trends are helping. For example, more people are working from home. That saves on energy, clothing and, perhaps, some food costs.
But, not everyone can work from home. In fact, it can be assumed that the less money you make at your job, the less ability you may have to work from home. Trades people, hospitality workers and others have no ability to work from home.
Fortunately, the world economy works in cycles. That means prices won’t stay at these levels forever.
Much of the high-price trends have to do with pent-up demand after pandemic lockdowns. More people are working than there were two years ago.
Wages are trending up, but many are no better off because of that pent-up demand. Some economic sectors are still having trouble filling jobs, even with offers of more pay and, perhaps, benefits.
A narrative is circulating that government policy is the prime driver of the inflation we are seeing. In reality, there is very little that can be done by government at any level to make a real dent in inflation.
The couple in Rhone’s column could look for a cheaper apartment. Those are hard to find in most areas. In fairness, landlords have had trouble the last two years getting tenants to pay rent on time because the pandemic cost the tenants their jobs temporarily. These landlords, along with retailers and other merchants, are trying to recover some of what they lost.
Rhone’s point in her column was not to criticize others’ financial situations. Don’t try to put a simple solution on a complex problem. Chances are, if you were in the shoes of the six-figure couple, you probably would face similar problems.
Times are tough for most of us. It’s time we all be less critical or judgmental of others, and more sympathetic and helpful.


#power #”WomenTalking” #Oscars #ReligiousRestrictions #dreams #action
Imagine life in a religious enclave, in which men had total domination over women.
It got to the point that some men were physically attacking the women at will.
That is the premise behind the movie “Women Talking,” which won at 2023 Oscar for best adapted screenplay.
The movie is set in decades past in a village of deeply religious people. Even though the women were regularly attacked by men, they held fast to their religious beliefs. (One has to wonder about the attacking men’s religious beliefs).
As the attacks mounted, the women had to decide to stay and do nothing, stay and fight or leave. Many meetings and raucous debates ensued.
Ultimately, after much discussion, they left, with all the horses, wagons, livestock, food and other supplies, as the men slept.
The movie never shows how the men reacted when they woke up and found the women gone.
It may be hard to envision that scenario in modern times. But, pockets of such behavior undoubtedly exist today.
It begs the question: why was it such a difficult decision for the women to leave?
In the movie, part of the debate centered around their religious beliefs. Their village was the only life they knew, and they wondered whether they would ever go to heaven if they left. But they came around to realize that for a good life on earth, they had to go.
Have you ever been in a situation that you felt it difficult to escape, but also impossible to endure?
Life sometimes puts difficult decisions in our path. Sometimes, our difficulty in making a decision involves, as was the case in the movie, self imposed limitations.
We grow up in a certain household, with certain beliefs engrained in us. As we mature, we start to see that what we were told was, if not false, not realistic for our own purposes.
That may be why some parents encourage their kids to stay close to home. For if they venture out, they may discover other ways of life and adopt, if not embrace, them. They may even discover that they are not who their parents think they are.
Maturity brings a sense of self. One has to find that, and do what one needs to do to fulfill it.
If one endures hardship, he or she must find ways to eliminate it, or, at least, put a limit on what he or she has to endure. Some hardships may have good outcomes in the end, and one has to have the grit to take them on.
Your difficulties may not be as obvious as the ones faced by the women in the movie.
And, often, one may not have a way to avoid hardship befalling them. But, one always can find a way to eliminate, or at least mitigate, that hardship eventually.
It starts with discarding self-imposed restrictions that make very little sense as they relate to the hardship.
Then, one has to dream of what life could be. Once that dream is in place, figure out what you must do to achieve that dream.
Yes, it may involve taking drastic action – doing something you thought you would never do. You may be surprised that, once you take drastic action, it wasn’t hard to do as you thought. The women’s decision to leave in the movie was hard for them, but once they decided to go, they knew it was right for them.
In short, know who you are and remain true to yourself. Eliminate self-doubt and self-imposed restrictions on achieving what is right for you. If where you live is incompatible with life and safety, decide whether moving or fighting obstacles others impose on you is better for you. If moving seems a hard choice, try it and see how hard, or better, it will be.
Don’t let others claim power over you.


#baseball #RoboticUmpires #umpires #BaseballSeason #pitchers #catchers
Baseball season is coming.
They are trying to see whether robotic umpires can call balls and strikes, and how smoothly that would work.
Reports say that they will be tried in the minor leagues (Triple A) this season.
One might think that robo umps will be better than human ones. After all, human umpires can get it wrong.
Folks believe the robo umps will always get it right. (One might add that they have to be working properly).
Players are objecting to the robo umps because Major League catchers have become adept at framing pitches that are borderline, thereby converting what might be a ball to a strike.
The reports say the robo umps will not be fooled by even the best pitch-framers, and it seems some, if not many, players don’t like that.
Umpiring a baseball game has been a classic human, and fallible, science. The plays happen so quickly that it’s possible the umpire might not have a complete view of them all the time. So, they make calls to the best of their ability. And, yes, they don’t always get them right.
Calling pitches behind the plate can be a matter of human interpretation. When one watches a baseball game on TV, he or she often sees a square (or rectangle), invisible to those on the field but visible to the TV audience, over the plate. Theoretically, the pitcher’s job is to get the ball inside that square for a strike, unless he purposely throws it out of the strike zone to see whether a batter will chase it. But, inevitably, pitches inside the square might be called balls, and those outside the square might be called strikes, because the umpire’s “square” is in his imagination.
In decades past, pitchers got to know how each umpire interprets the strike zone. That gives a pitcher a better idea where to locate his pitches when that umpire was working behind the plate. Some umps had a “high” strike zone. Others had a “wide” strike zone etc.
Some Major League umpires, mostly in the National League, had wider strike zones. Thereby, some pitchers can do better in that league than in the American League because they may be “given” pitches that are an inch or two off the zone. That makes them better pitchers than they would be with a narrower zone.
As mentioned above, catchers began to hone the skill of framing pitches. If the pitcher throws the ball an inch or two off the plate, a catcher could not just catch it, but slide his mitt over an inch or two as he catches it. That might make the umpire call the pitch that was not quite a strike in the pitcher’s favor..
The robo umpires will electronically watch only the flight of a pitch, not where it ends up in the catcher’s glove.
In short, no one likes to see machines replace humans, especially when fans enjoy every aspect of the game.
Some fans actually love watching players, managers etc., argue with umpires, or, at least, give the umpires the stink-eye after an unfavorable call.
On the other hand, fans of the game may not like to see players (humans) manipulate the game to make it look like “cheating,” unless, of course, one’s favorite team is doing it.
Technology has helped a lot of sports get things right. Instant replay, or other electronic reviews, are common in many sports, and calls on the field, or court, get overturned by them. (Some resent the delays of the game this causes).
As a fan, one should let the baseball authorities know how they feel about technological innovation.
Getting things right all the time can take a lot of debate out of a fan. Sometimes, debates are the fun part of fandom.