If I offend you by calling you an idiot..I am sorry. But, if you are guilty of what you are about to read, then no offense…you are an idiot.
Guess you have been reading in the newspaper recently that Canadian household debt is getting crazy high and while although we are supposedly earning more as a nation, our level of debt is not decreasing.
When we make more money, we spend more money.
I understand that in a capitalist society, we purchase goods and services to not only satisfy our wants and needs but to also help stimulate the economy. On the surface it makes perfect sense.
But it makes absolutely no sense at all when the thing that continues to motivate us (making more money) is also killing us and taking away our time with loved ones, impacting our health and increasing our levels of stress to crazy levels.
I believe that the majority of us work because we have to…not because we want to. While I generalize, I believe that work is a means to an end. We disguise our desire to work in the form of building careers and contributing to society through our efforts in the workplace. Some of us are more passionate about this then others.
In order to put food on the table, a roof over our heads and clothes on our back, we need to earn money…and the only way to do that is to work.
But for many of us, simply eating three square meals a day, living in a modest house and wearing clothing that is affordable and not necessarily chic, isn’t enough.
We want more….lots more.
We work too hard so we buy overpriced prepared foods or go out for dinner because its easier (yet more expensive). We shop at fancy-shmancy gourmet food stores because its trendy to do so, even though we are being gouged at the cash register (and we know it). Our houses aren’t big enough or trendy enough, so we take out lines of credit or re-finance our homes to build additions so we can put in stainless-steel appliances or subway tile backsplashes or have our hardwood floors stained that perfect coffee-bean color. We fill our houses with flat screen TV’s, tablets, computers, gadgets and other high-tech gizmos…mostly because we get pressure from our kids to do so and because the only way to shut our kids up is to give them what they want. We fill our shopping malls to capacity as retailers entice us with more and more reasons to stay and max out our credit cards paying enormous interest rates in the process. We get sucked in by companies to buy the new and improved model because our latest and greatest is worthless. We even stand in line at all hours of the day (inside abandoned shopping malls or in the dead of night on city streets, just to be the first ones to walk out of the store with our new-fangled gizmo…leaving behind hundreds and hundreds of dollars.
Just as we finish getting and doing all of these things, we have to start all over again because what we have now amassed isn’t good enough. So we go through the process again…and again and again.
Oh, by the way, we put in stupid hours at work…sometimes doing the job of two other people because companies are continuing to find ways to save money and the easiest way of doing that is by firing or laying off people. We lay awake at night, the weight of the world on our shoulders our brains swirling at supersonic speed as we worry about paying the bills, mentally preparing for the next day, worrying if we will have a job to go to and figuring out a way to pay for all of this shit that we supposedly need. In the process, we take medications to help us sleep, to control our blood pressure or to deal with other ailments that affect us because we have no time to get outside, enjoy nature and enjoy our loved ones.
We are in the midst of watching a historic moment in world history take place as the United States elects a new President that either might take the country in a new direction or maintain the course its on hoping to have its citizens live the American Dream.
The problem is, our defintion of the dream (be it American or Canadian), has been horribly distorted and we, the idiots, are chasing it, making us sick in the proess.
Instead, what I think we need to do is to stop and take a very hard look at ourselves. We need to look at how we live our lives and think long and hard about what is truly important to us. Is that new Rolex really that important? Is killing ourselves to get the bonus at the end of the year so we can buy the new Porsche really that important?
Once we do this, we need to make a choice: either continue to follow a direction of greed, ill-health, failed relationships, a false sense of contentment, debt and general unhappiness…OR…a direction that requires us to re-prioritize what is important to us in this life. The second direction can take us down a path of renewed committment to our children, our spouses, partners, family and friends. It can take us in a direction of longer lives filled with quality because our health is good (both physical and mental) and a committment to our environment and our appreciation for it.
Just like any major change in life, it requires dedication and committment.
If the decision is to continue on the first path, then I am right…we are all a bunch of idiots.