Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Goodbye, Tarah-rizer and Hello Status Quo.

Goodbye, Tarah . . . 

Tarah, the last of my traveling friends, rolled out of the Bay Area Sunday morning with her mom to help drive the post-night-shift-sleep-deprivation-induced-intoxication-ridden-night-nurse on the first days of driving back to Minne-SOH-ta.  It is the end of a mini-era.  Sure, there will always be more people to meet and to become friends with, but these were the original Fab Five Travelers and friends I met when I first came to California.  They are special.  Tarah heads to NYC to start her new assignment there at the end of the month.  She's been great fun to have around and I will miss her unique sense of humor, sarcasm and wit.  I will probably miss her Minne-SOH-tan accent more than anything!  Okay, maybe I won't miss it the most of all, but I will miss it and laugh to myself when I think about it.  Soh long, Tah-rah!  Enjoy the East Coast, again! : )

California is finally warming up and finally feeling like it might be summer.  Although, I have still only worn a swimsuit about three times this year, all three in the hot tub at the inn (I'm having swimming withdrawals and may have to head down to San Diego soon . . . ).  The grass is no longer green, but golden brown and it's incredibly dry here.  However, the weather really is great.  The sun shines most days, it's 70-85 degrees during the day and mid 50's-60's at night.  Perfect weather, other than a little too cool for skirts/shorts in the evening and a little too cool, for a Texan's taste, to swim.  The flowers are still beautiful and there are Jacarandas in bloom and are very nice.  There are some trees that are confused and think it's time for their leaves to turn (it always seems like some trees think it's fall) . . . This is, indeed, a beautiful place.

Hello Status Quo . . . 

Some of my girlfriends from all around the globe and some here locally are doing a Beth Moore Bible study (Daniel: Lives of Integrity; Words of Prophecy) which reminds us to be present in the culture we are found and relevant to it and the people in it, but to not be held captive by it--to not allow it to rule us in any number of ways, such as being consumed by keeping up the status quo in terms of financial status, professional status, intellectual status, physical appearance, etc.

I currently live in San Jose, in the Silicon Valley, where the "dot com boom" boomed. I was about to say San Francisco or Menlo Park were among the richest cities/areas in the US, but as I just looked, according to Forbes, San Jose is number one with the median of homes costing $625k (San Fran is listed as 3rd).  So, among all the Mercedes, BMW's, Jaguars, large homes, entitlement, perfectly sculpted bodies, Louis Vuitton, Coach purses, professional competition, and large homes, it seems it can be easy to be sucked into the ultimate "American Dream" paradigm--go, go, go; get, get, get; have the best, look the best, be the best.  Competition is the way of life and I've heard some here argue this may be the most competitive place on earth, especially in terms of technology.  Apple, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, HP, Adobe, Verisign, Cisco are just some of the names we encounter every day, headquartered here.  It's the "normal" rat race to be on top and be the best, amplified.

Not everybody in the area lives pursuing wealth, the best bod, or BMWs.  I know many who are solidly grounded.  But, the pressures of reaching and keeping the competitive status quo are very loud here.  Maybe the pressures are not any louder here than in Highland Park, Texas, but, I do find it much louder than in LBK.  Maybe it's all relatively and proportionately the same, but is on a larger scale.  I don't know, but I do think it can be easy to be distracted to pursue status instead of things that are more worth our time than frantically trying to gain things that only last a few years.  This is not to be judgmental of folks with funds or find themselves with status as a result of their persistent, hard work.  People can and do use their status for good things, as well.  It's the being all-consumed, swallowed up, and held captive or debilitated by the motives and desires to obtain these things so that they define a person's purpose, time and life that I'm weighing.

The overarching question of the Beth Moore study is how do we be relevant and applicable here without our identities being consumed or ruled by this culture?  Do we obtain just enough of the status quo to be relevant to those or do we live in the status quo?  Do we just not care at all and possibly be irrelevant and unrelatable?  Does it really matter? What's worth our time and energy?  We have a life expectancy of 77.9 years, these days (CDC FASTSTATS).  Seventy-seven years to do what we're going to do, however small or big it may be.  What should be pursued?

I hope I keep my eye on the ball.  Of course, there is only so much status a nurses' salary can buy!  Nevertheless . . . I hope too much time, energy and focus is not wasted pursuing fleeting, ultimately unimportant things.

I hope you are all doing well, blessed and happy!  Happy summer!

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