the simple minded suburbanite

April 28, 2011, 6:45 pm
Filed under: authenticity, culture, suburban, time management, voluntary simplicity | Tags: ,

Nobody’s going to “My Mary’s” charity event.

One of the central practices of voluntary simplicity is to align the way you spend your time with your values, passions, and goals.  It is a practice that I struggle to keep at the forefront of my mind but also recognize that it is a “rule” that is meant to be broken.  I will occasionally stop in for a glass of wine with a group of friends (acquaintences, I’ve learned the difference) I haven’t seen for awhile, even though a book is calling my name (okay, I guess you could say I value “community”).  I will head up the bakesale even though I can’t think of a more apron-wearing, thick-in-the-middle activity that screams “She is soooo boring!!!”.  I do it because my good friend chairs the school’s fall festival fundraiser (okay, I guess I do it because I value friendship and my children’s educational opportunities).  My point is, sometimes I take liberties with the principles of voluntarty simplicity.  But that’s the point, yes?  It is meant to be what you want it to be and is ever evolving.

So, anyway Mary is “hosting” a tailgate fundraiser for Japan at our clubhouse.  And nobody’s going.  Mary thinks it’s because everyone who lives in our neighborhood is shallow.  That may be partially true but, the real reason nobody is going to Mary’s charity event is because Mary hasn’t built community.

You may recall my post “What if Your Mary Was Right“.  In it, I disussed how Mary is very keen on the idea of living her life in line with her own vision.  Unfortunately, her vision is a little narrow…loyal, but tight.  She has a tight group of very good friends.  She spends her time EXACTLY as she wants, often manipulating other’s plans to what she would rather be doing.  All this is fine and good until…an event when she reached outside of her tight circle and expected that everyone would come bounding and skipping because the cause is a good cause.

Mary rang false by calling on a community that she clearly did not value.  It is difficult to draw a circle in for charity when you are perceived as slightly rigid and selfish.

So, the lesson in it for me is this:  When making your choices and parring down, self is very important, self nurturance is essential, but selfishness…well, though it’s a fine line, that can come back to bite you.  If you’re okay with that, well okay then.  But think big picture.  Think of future scenarios.  Think about what you truly, truly value.

And, even though I have to run 2 kids to 2 seperate bday parties and one to guitar practice, and even though I really just want drive through Taco Bell and a bottle of cheap red, and even though My Mary didn’t show to my kids’ lemonade stand for Haiti, I’mmaking a dish to pass and I’m going to theMary’s tailgate.  I value friendship and I value charity, even towards Mary.


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