Some of My Core Beliefs

summer walks to highland at sunset

Finally, in my seventh decade, I  know myself.

I know I enjoy foreign accents, black gum drops, and mountain meadows swarmed by strong-willed wildflowers. I believe in public schools, owning too many shoes, and doubling the garlic. I also tend to interrupt others, ignore the phone, and think the world is ending when I can’t sleep.

I admit, when alone, I eat cake for breakfast, scratch my head, sing in vibrato, and two-step. I hate to polish shoes, run for planes, and shop. And I would never, ever, pierce my nose or boil a lobster alive.

Fortunately, I also have more important, rock-solid, life-molding values that define me; and though I sometimes question or modify these principles, I would neither abandon nor deny them.

I believe I should nurture my body. Shortly after turning fifty — overweight and stressed by my recent move to a new state, new job, and new marriage — I sat in my doctor’s office, hoping to learn the cause of my neck, arm, and back pain. He said my CT scan had revealed a herniated disc in my neck, so I’d need to see a specialist for treatment options.

“And, Janet,” he continued, “ you’ve put on a little weight. You might want to lose it. If you’re riding around on bald tires, you don’t want a load of sand in your trunk.”

I laughed. Then I made a plan that included more exercise and fewer snacks, followed it, and lost weight. And when the specialist recommended physical therapy, I doggedly followed the therapist’s instructions as well. I am protective of my health; I do my best to take care of it, and when something goes wrong, I do my best to fix it As a result, I am honest with my doctors and follow their orders.

Skiing River Janet

my favorite way to exercise in Craig’s long winters

I also believe in laughter. I cherish those in my life who make me laugh: fellow bloggers, long-time friends, my husband, my family, casual acquaintances. Recently a good friend and I began making fun of our husbands who were being obstinate and unsuccessful in their pursuit of a particular restaurant in an unfamiliar city. As we enjoyed one another’s harassing comments, our giggles escalated into a wonderful dose of laughter; we threw back our heads, clutched our sides, rocked back and forth, snorted, spluttered, gained control momentarily, then succumbed to laughter again. Meanwhile, our husbands, driver and navigator, continued screeching around corners, cursing one-way streets, repeatedly driving the same unproductive route, and expressing amazement each time the restaurant didn’t appear. It was glorious fun.

I believe I should be financially sound. My dad worked in the depths of the Hoover Dam, the gold mines of California, and the iron-ore tunnels of Utah. At 35, fearing miner’s lung, he went to work at an iron mill in the fiery heat of a blast furnace. When laid-off or on strike, he took any job he could to prevent “going on the dole,” which he considered more demeaning than bucking bales in another man’s field or cleaning coops at a neighbor’s chicken farm. And always, he saved, avoided debt, and made double house payments when possible. I learned at his knee, and I am grateful for his example.

Beliefs like these enrich my life. And for these values, I thank those who raised me and interacted with me as I struggled toward maturity.

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77 thoughts on “Some of My Core Beliefs

  1. Even more evidence that we are soul sisters!
    My dad used to say “your wants are many but your needs are few” , which has been a guiding principle for me. Following it is one of the reasons that my retirement is so financially secure.
    He also said he was glad that he paid a lot in taxes, because that meant he had made a lot of money. (of course, his “a lot” was pretty paltry by today’s standards, but we always had what we needed!) I’m convinced the world would be a better place if there were more people like our dads–and I’m also convinced that we were so lucky to be their daughters.

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    • We were lucky in our upbringing, soul-sister Shelley; and even as a teenager, I realized my good fortune, though sometimes I yearned for things I wanted. I like what your dad said about paying taxes; I’m going to store it away and use it when appropriate.

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  2. You and I are on the same page Janet, except that I am getting nearer to the end of the book. So many of your values strike a resounding bell for me. Many are common to those with a few more miles ; the saving of money, no debt are so important and unfortunately so many young people haven’t lived through hard times, so it isn’t a lesson they have learned.

    I laughed at your friends enjoying each others common stories. I too have a couple of friends with husbands. Nice that we can laugh together.

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    • I’m so pleased when I discover that bloggers I like and enjoy share many of my values; and, yes, they are usually those who, like me, have been around a while.I’m glad I made you laugh; I really believe it is the best medicine we can find.

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  3. I am in so much agreement. I absolutely love the story of picking on your husband. When I’ve been lost, and my family did that, it defused everything. You are one of the special members of this community. I love reading your posts, seeing your comments, and now I know why. Have a great weekend, Janet.

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  4. I knew I liked you. Now I have proof. The one thing I keep having to learn and haven’t mastered is discipline. I’ve gotten better over the years but mostly I am still a mess. But I am working on things. So by 100, I shall be pretty damned perfect.

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  5. Our core beliefs and values change over time and it is good to revisit them. This is a wonderful reflection of just that and I particularly love that laughter is a core belief. I had never thought of it as a belief but now I do and I’m totally embracing your insight and wisdom. 🙂 Linda

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    • Interesting that you picked up on my feeling that laughter is a belief, QP. I’ve grown into that idea as I’ve seen its benefits in the classroom, when working with adults, with folks who are ill, and those who are grieving. Gradually, I began deliberately trying to cause laughter and looking for increased opportunities to laugh myself.I think doing so has made my life better.

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    • It does take time to gain some perspective on ourselves, Laurel. I have other core beliefs as well and plan to write about them in the future. I would be interested in reading yours as well.

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  6. The bit of wisdom I remember from my father is, “The most valuable thing you own is your good credit.” He could walk into a car dealership, purchase a car, and call the bank to cover the loan. The good old days of personal bankers. He also died too young because he didn’t take care of his health.Yet another thing he taught me.

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    • It sounds like our fathers had the same financial beliefs, and we both benefitted. I’m sorry he died too young; that must have been hard. I miss your blog, Troy. Do you plan to start posting again sometime?

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  7. Good advice all round. Especially the part about staying out of debt. And making double payments. Another slam-dunk essay, Janet. “And I would never, ever, pierce my nose or boil a lobster alive.” That pretty much covers the whole range. I’m in agreement on the nose piercing; looks uncomfortable to me. The first time I saw a young girl with a nose piercing I thought it was a pimple–never could get that out of my head. 🙂

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  8. Pushing through fifty, starting over to in new Province and job, I despaired of finding friends my age, I did not want a 19 year old, nose pierced boss who did not read..Luckily, laughter is part of each day- as yesterday, my co-worker could not find his chair, took three tries for me to show he was sitting in it. This is a great post, Janet, all about fearing not life, and its’ grand guffaws.

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    • What a grand guffaw you and your co-worker must have had, Sheila. My laugh this morning came when Joel and I were watching talking heads do their thing on TV, and Joel said about the politician they were interviewing, “That guy has so many sides to his mouth he forgets which one he’s talking out of.” I know the worry about friends and bosses when we open up new territories for ourselves. But my story of change had a happy ending, and I think yours did as well.

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  9. I’ll pass on the black gum drops. I wish I had the ability to ignore the phone. I use common sense to get through health issues usually. Sure, I probably shouldn’t be that way but I hate doctors. Even the one I have now who is more of the country type bugs me. I do exercise but I still can’t lose the weight. However, the point of exercising for me is more of a case of how I feel rather than how I look.

    Is it still “country-like” in Craig or have the multitudes of people taken over the hills and valleys in the area? I miss the Colorado that wasn’t so populated.

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    • Craig is still a small, slow-paced town, Glynis. Steamboat has exploded, and its tourist season is pretty much year round now; but so far it hasn’t spread much beyond its city limits. Both Hayden and Meeker are still small. That’s why I enjoy living here. When I have to go to the front range, I can hardly wait to get home. I like your attitude about exercise; it has always been mine as well. And it’s OK about the black gumdrops; I understand that they’re not a universally popular taste.

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  10. Love your Doctor’s advice…gotta listen to it myself and stop eating cold pizza for breakfast and maybe cut out the toll house cookies for lunch and while I’m at it maybe consider cutting back on the ice cream for desert! Another heartfelt, funny piece, Janet. Happy 4th!😎

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    • I laughed aloud when he said it, Lucie, and, tickled at himself, he joined me. And obviously I haven’t forgotten his words.Your diet sounds heavenly to me, but maybe not on a daily basis; perhaps alternate Thursdays in months with 31 days. I hope your 4th of July party is its usual fun self.

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  11. I love this post about your core beliefs. It’s so good to know yourself, and to be comfortable in that knowledge.

    I share many of your beliefs and sentiments, Janet.

    And that cross-country ski photo is amazing! Where was it taken?

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    • I really like your idea that the biggest purpose we have is to know who we are. It might also be one of the most difficult tasks we face, or maybe better said, one of the longest in duration tasks we have.

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  12. Janet, your thoughts trigger my own. I just love reading your posts. Perhaps it’s because we are of a similar age and have similar values. It’s so good to see that we can share such deep and meaningful things. I’m just sorry I didn’t think of it first!! ❤

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    • I know the feeling of wishing I’d thought of a blog topic first, Barbara; I experience it often when I read the blogs of those like you who reflect my life and values. Being blog friends is nice, but I often think how much fun it would be to get together over a cup of coffee with someone like you. I think we’d have fantastic conversations.

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  13. Pingback: Some of my core beliefs – Jeffrey's blog

  14. Hi Aunt Beulah
    Looking at that beautiful photo of you, it’s almost like if you shook the photo all the snow would float around you like those glass Christmas snow globes. It is an amazing photo, I can see why it is a fave thing to do. I love all your core beliefs, certainly no sand in your trunk Aunt Beulah, looking like you got that body serviced and it’s looking amazing. Love, that I am not the only one that finds my hubby makes for a good old giggle now and then, he amuses me how he can be ever so clever yet do the darndest things at times. I am so glad that shoes are non negotiable in the fiscal belief, I can never say no to a fab pair of shoes.
    You always make me smile Aunt Beulah, I would love to share cake for brekky with you one day.
    Hugs across the miles
    From
    Annie in Australia 🌞 🌴 🌊

    Liked by 2 people

    • So good to hear from you, Annie, I missed the sunshine your comments always bring into my life. Aren’t husbands something? At times I’ll look at Joel and think, “Why did you do that?” Other times he makes me laugh so hard I feel good for hours. Oh, shoes. They are the culprits that too often make me buy something I want rather than need, whether my dad would approve or not. I love your comparison of my photo to a snow globe. That’s how the world felt to me that day. As always, thanks for your kind words. You made my day.

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  15. These are wonderful beliefs. I especially relate to your belief about laughter. I think it is so important to laugh and enjoy the lighter side of life!

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  16. Janet, once again your post affirms the reasons I’ve admired you from afar, and up close and personal. I can hear you saying, “Maaary??” as we then laugh over some absurdity. I agree that aging has given time for deeper introspection into who I am…and was all along, but didn’t recognize. Your wonderful posts show a vulnerability that not many are willing to share. And, if I had known that you, too, like cake for breakfast, I wouldn’t have served steel cut oats and berries!!

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    • Ah, but I remember the steel cut oats and blueberries fondly, Mary, and treat myself to them whenever fresh blueberries can be purchased in Craig. But, next time, perhaps one morning we could enjoy cake. Oh, how we have laughed over absurdities: some of my favorite memories. And, finally, I like the way we’ve formed a mutual appreciation society.

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  17. I share some of your values, but am not good at discipline. Laughter is the big one, for me, though. In my home, laughter is the fuel that keeps me going – and, thankfully, keeps my husband going too!

    Oh and substitute chocolate cookies for cake, and we could be twins!

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  18. I see this wonderful post as a benchmark for honesty, clarity and fun. While I’m right on board with your values (except I’d rather have pickles, fish and rice than cake if forced to deviate from my usual oats, fruit, nuts and yoghurt), the point is rather that you know yourself so well and accept the beautiful conglomeration that is you alone. I’m also noticing some lessons for writers here — how one seemingly arbitrary detail floods the reader’s mind with possibilities, which doesn’t happen with a scientific list or a generalisation. Love it, thank you muchly!

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    • What a careful and perceptive reader you are, Rachel, of both posts and comments on posts. I suppose we are all beautiful conglomerations, and I appreciate your thought about a lesson for writers. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

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