life on a budget
(though such is far better than unemployment, so don't ever take this as a complaint).
regardless of how you got here, i'm guessing a fair portion of readers will be feeling an economic pinch these days. for some, the "pinch" is more like an unrelenting vice, pinning them mercilessly between rent, food and any sort of hope for the future. for others, it's just the random inconvenience of an under-performing retirement portfolio which will have them working until they are dead as long as they prefer to stay ahead of being pinned between rent, food and any sort of hope for the future. we can debate all the causes, (i would point out that all of them sport either a D or an R on their political party name badges, but let's not digress), but it's also necessary to examine what it is that we all plan to do about it.
one thing that strikes me this morning is how profoundly confused we all remain (if the demographics and statistics are to be believed) about what, exactly, is "living well" in the first place. wags often point out that indoor plumbing makes almost all of us (let's skip the homeless for a bit, shall we?) living at a higher standard than even the most wealthy of only a few short centuries ago. but wags mistake plumbing with the substantial and persistent gap between rich and poor, which is the REAL way we perceive our wealth--and in that gap there lies a pernicious and corrosive element that is, i believe, the REAL source of poverty among those of us who would like to believe otherwise.
to wit: this morning i was struck (bowled over as by a semi-trailer rig full of it) by how differently something as basic as honey can taste, depending on whether it's the real thing, or a homogenized, pasteurized bastardization of same. the 2lb container of "country style old fashioned us grade a pure honey" (product of usa and argentina) that i got awhile back at the warehouse store cost me $4.99, and i would put it to you was more of a cheat to me and my ever-thinning wallet than the 1lb jar of raw spring blossom honey (the spring blossom type is the light kind, as opposed to the summer honey that's darker and richer-tasting, though less delicate and delightful if you ask me) at $7.75. seriously, people: if you buy crap, that's what they're going to continue to sell you, and YOU'RE BEING CHEATED. even if it's a fraction of the price.
not for nothing, but carlisle honey comes actually from carlisle, and provides actual livelihood for actual people, instead of subsistence wages for some, and pure corporate profits for others, none of whom live anywhere near here. it's also better for you. yes, it'll cover fewer english muffins and bowls of rice krispies and embolden fewer cups of (real from the tin not the bag) tea, but one taste of the real thing is a better experience than countless empty spoons full of the industrial crap, and you can quote me on this.
my theory is that we'd all be better off going without honey entirely than springing $4.99 for 2lbs of the factory stuff. and i sincerely apologize if you can't afford $7.75 for your sweetener, (yes, i know--i'm the luckiest guy on the planet, remember?), but for every dupe i see springing for cigarettes or drive-thru coffee or lottery tickets or what have you, i see someone who could be living better RIGHT NOW if only they'd choose to do so.
we can't help that we're not rich. but we can help how we choose to remain satisfied with who and what we are. there are some bees down in carlisle who are hoping to help you with your particular existential dilemma. they've done wonders for me and mine this morning.