Tuesday, September 25, 2018
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Balance on Black Friday

One comment I heard immediately after the election stuck with me. Basically, this person said he was a bit disappointed on both the local and national level that the debate was so centered on material gains. Candidates focused on how to get more of this, bring more of that, put more of it in your pocket and make sure the government took less of it all. He was basically asking, “What happened to the ideals? What about running on issues that make us a better society? Make us better people?”
I was reminded of his lament as I sat at the computer on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving listening to a story on the radio about how stores are opening their Christmas sales on Thursday now instead of waiting until the pumpkin pie was finished. There’s now not only the push for Black Friday but Shop Local Saturday, Cyber Monday and Go Spend More Money Tuesday. People are being told to “self gift” during these mass shopping days. Buy more, experience less. Hurry before it’s all gone!
Jobs are important and money is a real necessity. Most people can’t live here very long without both. But let us not forget as we head into the holidays that balance is imperative. We live here not to make gobs of cash but to live a life. To experience. To gather stories we can share as we reminisce decades from now.
Setting up a tent at the door of the Best Buy to be the first to buy that new 96-inch flat screen is not something you will be bragging about to the grandchildren later in life. Swallowing the last of the turkey and rushing off to Macy’s to buy the blender that’s on sale will not enhance your life. Setting the alarm on Monday so you can wake up and log on to your computer to cyber-buy a new computer is not life-changing.
Do whatever you want but as we head into the holidays, perhaps it could be a time to shop less and feel more. Instead of buying another Giulio Romano men’s watch, maybe spend more time with friends and family. Put down the credit card and step away from Temple Run or Doodle Jump on the phone. Share a ride on the chairlift and start a conversation with the stranger sitting next to you. Use your phone to call your mom instead of Instagramming another picture of you in the bathroom.
Stick it to the man and spend Black Friday on a ski slope, the bike trail or the golf course instead of the electronics department. When it is time to shop, look first at your neighbor’s store.
Let’s remember the importance of place and people. Protecting our backyard is not anti-growth (whatever that means). Mingling amongst a real small-town community is a privilege. Working fewer hours to spend more minutes having actual experiences is not a bad thing. I remind my friends and co-workers that so often we are paid in “time,” so we must not be shy about using the currency. We are blessed to live in this high mountain valley. Do not take it for granted.
As we head into the holidays and the start of our winter season, understand the importance of work and doing a good job but do not forget you are here to gather stories for your grandchildren, not because you want to buy another bangle at Kohl’s.

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