Friday, December 5, 2008

Wandering Mind: To Chicago and back again

I'm sitting here in Chicago, sorta listening to the lecturer that's presenting to me and about 70 dentists and key staff members. There's snow all around and it's 18F outside. This is really different weather than what the Central Valley is experiencing right now. Having grown up in the Valley, it's so unusual to me to see snow at pretty much sea level. I'm used to having to travel up to 7000 to 8000 foot elevation before any snow stays around! Fortunately, I do have my down coat that only comes out of the closet when I have travel East of the Rockies during the wintertime!

All the Christmas lights and decorations are up and twinkle brilliantly at night with the reflected lights dancing off the snow. Last night, the hotel shuttle driver making the run between the hotel and the local outdoor mall (it's below freezing, and this Chicago suburban shopping mall is "outdoors". Funny that 100F+ weather warrants indoor shopping malls in the Valley, but not in blustery, ice-cold Chicago in December!)slowed down as we went past an ornately decorated home. The shuttle driver's country of origin is Senegal. He believes in the American Dream. He's living the American Dream. He was remarking on how his 4 year old daughter calls him every day to find out when he gets off work. She won't go to bed until he's home. To me, this is a real slice of what the United States represents. That you are given the opportunity to improve your circumstances. This is way different than just expecting to have your lot in life improve with little effort on your part.

I disagree with a recent politician's remarks that people around the world no longer respect us or that our aspirations are meaningless. We can choose to be successful...yes, we may fail in our attempts to succeed, but nobody is actively stopping us from trying. We have opposing groups and opinions, but the rule of law still plays an active role in this county. You only have to read about countries where there are warlords and tribes based on familial and religious ties and very few societal institutions that protect the less fortunate. Heck, in about 90% of the habitable areas on earth, someone such as myself, an educated, christian woman wouldn't even be allowed to exist!

So as my mind's wandering, I think: I really dislike how the media seems so eager to emphasize the negative. They so love bad news. Look how triumphant they sound the horn about increasing unemployment rates. Hey, newsflash, in our area, traditionally we have a higher unemployment rate due to less seasonal agriculturally based jobs anyway. So how valid is that statistic. How does it compare to previous years' rates? I remember a popular college textbook titled "How to Lie with Statistics". Yep, you can slant numbers anyway you want to support your opinion.

What's my point to my thoughts? 'Tis the season of goodwill. Remember and find the good in people. Seek the best out of the world and you'll attract and receive the best of what the world has to offer. Love your friends and family. Don't have any family or friends...then go make some! Read any of the books in the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series. Let's make 2009 meaningful and terrific...despite the media doom and gloom. Let's prove those talking heads on TV wrong! Power to the people...

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