The Casting Dock

Quality Consumerism

I am an American, therefore I consume.  That’s one of those profound philosophical statements up there with Descartes’ I think, therefore I am. My life is filled with a good bit of I want in the same vein as a 2 year old stretching her hand out of the grocery cart for a piece of tasty candy or a shiny new toy (read: cheap trinket of junk).  I like to think that I am slightly less consumer-driven than the average American, but don’t we all like to think we are just a little bit better than the average person across pretty much every measure?  I mean, have you ever heard someone answer the question, How smart are you? with Umm, I’d say below average. Of course not (granted, no one really asks that question, but it’s the principle…).  We all think we are above average, but clearly, about half of us are wrong (we in the psychology field so cleverly call this the better-than-average effect).

Anyway, the point being, I am a consumer, regardless of how my level of consumerism compares to the general American population. I see things; I want them. But lately, more so than goods and services, I have found myself desiring to consume qualities that others possess in good measure. I see things I like in others and I want them. I see this as both a healthy and unhealthy mental preoccupation: healthy in the sense that it’s good to strive to develop positive character traits and to continue learning and growing; unhealthy in the sense that, as a card-carrying member of the culture of comparison, sometimes I get caught up envying the positive traits of others in a way that devalues the strengths and positive qualities inherent in me.

But regardless, here are just some of the qualities that have had me salivating lately:

Zest for Life: Jerry has this friend from high school named Adam. He is seriously one of my very favorite people, and a completely unique character.  I have truly never met anyone like him and I wouldn’t even know where to begin to describe him. He has an unquenchable thirst for life, loves doing new things and taking on a fresh challenge, and is an unbelievable people person. He is a learner in the purest sense of the word. He just moved to San Diego to start up his own trading firm. Why San Diego? Because he heard it was sweet, and after 3 years living in Chicago trading with a firm there, he wanted a change of scenery and a fresh challenge.  So he decided to move to San Diego and start his own firm. At 25. And I have no doubt that he will be remarkably successful.  He’s bright, fearless, and willing to takes huge risks. Plus, he just LOVES life and new experiences.

Generosity: Jerry’s parents are probably THE most generous people that I know. They give SO much money away all the time, it seems.  And not just to family members, but to anyone they hear of who is in need. Our friend Keith who started up So We Run? Well, they sent us shopping to Walmart for a bunch of kids shoes to donate (on their credit card, of course), hosted their own shoe drive down in GA to collect shoes, and then offered to fly Keith down to speak at the school, collect shoes, and do whatever else. They have a nice house, but I wouldn’t call it extravagant in the least, and they’ve been there for something like 25 years. Jerry’s dad has a good job.  I’m sure he makes a great deal of money, but you would never know it. I love that about them: very abundant givers with very humble hearts.

Compassion: My friend Steph is just a compassionate soul.  Most of my female friends are, really. Somehow I missed that gene. I mean, don’t get me wrong–I care about people. I went into counseling for goodness sake, but compassion doesn’t come naturally to me.  I have more the male bent to assess a situation and fix the problem. Sometimes I struggle to just listen and have compassion. Steph does this so well.  She is a tender-hearted little thing.

Humility: To be honest, there are multiple qualities in Jerry that I envy.  I always say (only half-jokingly) that he is just a better person than I am. He is so patient, servant-hearted, non-judgmental, and genuinely humble–those are the four that especially stand out because they are not qualities that I embody well or consistently.  Humility is a quality that I have always supremely valued and highly desired, so when I see it in someone, particularly someone I know so well, it stands out. Jerry doesn’t seek praise or attention for all of his accomplishments and talents, but is just faithful to consistently do everything to the best of his ability. He has a meek spirit in the absolute best sense of the word. And, as I’ve mentioned many times before, a great sense of humor…

5 comments

1 Jer { 11.18.10 at 8:02 pm }

What’s more awesome–Stephie’s curly hair or my leopard-print snuggie?

2 k&c's mom { 11.18.10 at 8:20 pm }

Your leopard-print snuggie, Jerry. Hands down.

3 Oki-tama { 11.18.10 at 11:35 pm }

Dear Lisa,
Just wanted to say that reading your blog brings a smile to face. We miss you guys and think of you often! Every blessing,
Seulgi (for the rest of us)

4 Lisa { 11.19.10 at 12:36 am }

SEULGI/Oki-tama!! I almost put you guys in my post today but I literally couldn’t think of only one category to describe what I love/envy about y’all and I figured if I put “a mutual, well-balanced marriage” it would appear that I don’t think of my own marriage that way…whereas, in fact, I just hope my marriage continues to grow in such a way that it follows the mold set by your marriage and family life. Glad to have a UK reader! :) Miss you guys!

5 Rhonda { 11.22.10 at 11:07 pm }

What a wonderful concept to be a consumer of great qualities? Don’t sell yourself short. I see all of those qualities quite alive and well in you already!

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