Friday, January 27, 2006

What do we do about it?

My son Adam and I got this post from my brother after he read Adam's post about sustainable development in Montpelier, and I asked him if I could post it. I think he captures what many of us are feeling about how to integrate meaningful activites into our lives.

He writes:
I just finished reading your piece about that land Sabin’s Pasture and it really hit me. I’m really grateful to know people like you and your father who will speak up about things. Most of us go through our lives without much response to what’s happening around us. Right now it’s really cold here (in the single digits and teens) and homeless people are dying. We raise our eyebrows and move on. In Montpelier some small piece of land is about to be developed and we shake our heads and move on.

[My wife] says, “What’s the value of freedom of speech when people with money or power do what they want anyway?” To a degree she’s right; might usually gets its way. But freedom of speech doesn’t guarantee changes; it offers the possibility for change. I like that.

But let’s get back to you. Better to say, to me. I’m sitting in a warm office, typing this semi-clandestinely, because I share an office with at least one person who is willing to report anything to our boss. This is a huge company, a subsidiary of an even bigger corporation. My pay is decent. The benefits are good. I’m not selling, I’m teaching English, nothing reprehensible. I’m not a workaholic. I go home and spend time with my wife and kids.

But when I get home I’m tired. I don’t have the energy for other things lime my writing or little projects (like starting up a neighborhood newsletter) or helping to revamp the English department at my children’s school.

One thing I could do is quit this job, take on more translations and work totally freelance. On the other hand, I would still be busy and tired at the end of the day. I’m not sure how to resolve this situation–ho to support my family and engage in meaningful activities?

How I solve the problem isn’t the most important thing at this point. What’s important is that I read stuff that you and John write and I say, “sonuvagun, they’re right.” Whether I make the next move or not is my business. The big thing for me right now is that you and John did your job. You moved me an inch.

So thanks.

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