“Question: have you found that the percentage of your worries that are "real" have changed since the start of your trip? I guess that could sound like a cynical question, but it's not meant to be. What I mean is this: I find I waste a stupid amount of my time worrying about non-material things (which I suppose I would define as meaningless things, vain things or things that I have no ability to change--or perhaps, wouldn't even want to change if I could). For instance, I worry about some stupid conversation I had with a friend or about whether Anjie is going to like the movie that I'm making her watch or whatever. Obviously you're not watching movies, but I've often wondered if my/our worrying is a product of the fact that we have nothing "real" to worry about or if it's just part of who we are and we'd do it no matter what?

Do you worry about the stupid stuff at $1/day as much as you do at $20 or $50 a day? And if not, do you prefer worrying about the stupid stuff or the real stuff? (And if the real stuff, then can I have your car?)”

        Hmm, good question from the dumb… The first thing that came to my mind when I read this was the overwhelming dominance that lacking a simple necessity has on one´s mind and thoughts. When you are hungry or tired, every thought or decision you have or make is done with respect to this “real” concern. In that way, the percentage of concerns that I would consider “real” or important has increased. We worry significantly about pulling a high enough number (make enough money) by market day so that we can feed us all for the week, or to pay off our Microfinance loan, cook dinner for our neighbors family, or save for an emergency.

       Given my inability to separate my thoughts from connecting to hunger or body pain, its true that I have far fewer insignificant concerns. I think it is important first to recognize where our concerns originate though. I am going to make the claim that our concerns stem from our minds natural response to continually desire more. I think that our ¨concerns¨ over whether or not our girlfriends like the movie we put on is out of a desire to make sure that they are as happy as they could be. For you, that is a relative desire, because you already know that she has enough to eat and a bed to sleep in and is generally doing well. And while I don’t have a TV, here I worry far less about the little things, such as a conversation, or how I look, or smell, but it does not mean I don’t think about stupid things. I would consider the fact that I draw pictures of delicious steaks and think about how excited I am to play tennis when I get back, insignificant in my situation. As long as I have food to eat, I should be appreciative. And while my sleeping arrangement isn’t perfect, and consists of a shared blanket and a pad for my upper body, it could be worse; yet I think about how nice a bed or a pillow would be all the time.

          I guess what I am getting at here is that I believe that it is a sadly natural response for our minds to fill their time with thoughts and concerns over our relative desires. While my desires here might be simpler and seem more ¨real¨ than my desires in the US, I still get frustrated at myself for always wanting more, or what I don’t have.

         What is incredible about an experience like this though is the perspective that one can gain and apply to their life in the US. When I get back and find myself worrying about an awkward conversation I had with a friend, I hope to be able to harness my mindset here and put it in perspective. Because that conversation doesn´t matter when a billion people continue to go to bed hungry at night. And while I can´t relate exactly to the struggle of poverty because my time here is finite, I am hoping to be able to apply the knowledge I have gained to look past the bullshit that plagues our minds in the western world and apply my mind to more productive endeavors. And with a bit of luck, maybe I can provide an outlet, through video and blogs, for someone else, who didn’t have this amazing opportunity to live in Guatemala, to gain and learn as well.

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