Thursday, June 26, 2008

Its all relative

I was checking my budget today and realized I haven't paid an electricity bill in a while. In every other case I love my e-bills, but somehow National Grid and I don't always sync up. So, I found that there were two bills waiting for me, and the initial shock of the high price had me worried about usage. Then when I went to my bill the graph showed an increase for June! I hadn't increased since January- maybe the J months have it out to get me. In a panic I went and input my number in the Riot Calculator, it showed 2%, which had me further confused. My numbers have never been that low. How could I possible have used more electricity and had a smaller percent? Even my worst math students could tell you that just doesn't work. I finally figured out that in my last calculations I was still using the conventional box, even though I switched to renewable a while back. So in fact, even with my increase, I get to decrease my published number. And to think, all I set out to do was pay an overdue bill!

And now to the regularly scheduled post... (Do I ever post regularly? Hm, that might be an interesting regression. Focus!)

Now that its summer I get to do all the things that I really want to do, like drive 1.5 hours to Newton every day. Okay, so thats not exactly the best way to start out my summer of reduced fuel consumption but for a lot of reasons, its what happened for 3 days. To distract myself from my plummeting mileage as I sat in traffic I listened to radio lab podcasts. I love this show, it combines the child and the nerd in me. They ask a seemingly simple question such as "can you live without lies?" and get some fascinating answers from experts in a number of relevant fields. One study showed that lying to yourself (denial) makes people happier and more successful. I've always been a big fan of denial, and I love having science to back me up. This study made me think that the key to life is captured perfectly in the words of this prayer:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference.

In other words- let denial take over when worry is getting in the way of your life. When worry will motivate necessary action, you should be worried until you take care of the problem. The eternal optimist that I am, this resonates with me. Sometimes I feel guilty for not being depressed about the state of the world, but then I think of all the things that I am doing along with so many others. And none of us would be accomplishing anything if we were sitting around being depressed. So, go live life joyfully and when you encounter yet another problem, just fix it!

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