Here’s the gist of it:
What happened to my bonus? What happened to my job? What happened to my country?
Why can’t it all go the way it’s supposed to go?
Why don’t these drugs make me feel better?
Where’s that goddamn waiter with my salad?
Have you seen the stupid weather today? Is this really all there is?
You have but to take a peek in the comments section below this column, any column, any article on this or any news site whatsoever, to see just how mean and nasty we have become.
It does not matter what the piece might be about.
Obama’s speech. High speed rail. Popular dog breeds. Your grandmother’s cookies.
The anonymous comments section of any major media site or popular blog will be so crammed with bile and bickering, accusation and pule, hatred and sneer you can’t help but feel violently disappointed by the shocking lack of basic human kindness and respect, much less a sense of positivism or perspective.
Our disappointment begins to curdle, to turn back on itself, poison the heart, turn us nasty and low.
It shifts from merely being a national mood or general temperament, into a way of being.
A wiring, deep and harmful and permanent. It’s all very disappointing, really.
We want it all, and we want it all now for cheap
It made me think of when I was in college, taking a Sociology class which addressed the exact issue described above.
My professor basically said that we were all a discontented, disenchanted bunch, because we expect it all, for cheap, in bulk and aren’t willing to compromise for anything less because society has repeated to us at every step of the way: You deserve it all.
We learn in school we can be who we want to be, but there can only be 1 Prime Minister or President, and only a small percentage of us will actually become astronauts, models, actors, doctors, lawyers, or whatever else we dreamed of as children.
But we are being told that we just have to believe and it will come true. Like a Disney dream.
He went on to talk about how we were fostering a growing false sense of self-entitlement in our culture and younger generation, and I am even more sure of it being true.
We don’t want to wait for anything — This line is 5 minutes long? Eff this.
We don’t want to save for anything — Just charge it and pay it later.
We expected THIS, not THAT.
We’re always lusting after the latest, greatest whatever.
Or feeling green with envy with what our friends have, where they’re traveling, how much money they make or the shoes on their feet.
As a culture, we are quite disappointed when things don’t turn out our way because we have come to raise the bar so high, that when reality finally hits us… we turn into angry, demanding demons who have had our pie-in-the-sky dreams shattered.
Why isn’t there a White Knight or White Queen who can come along and save me from all of my money troubles?
Why can’t I be just like Suzy Smith? She seems to have it all!
We are all just so terribly unhappy and disappointed.
I’m NO exception!
I don’t know about you, but I have caught myself more than a few times with that exact, demanding, spoiled, envious attitude described above.
I am not proud to say that, but I am proud to say that I am aware of it & trying to change it.
I just keep in mind that there are people out there, living in my city, eking out a living who would LOVE to be in my position.
Did you know, the average salary of a Canadian is around $30,000 or less?
It really puts things into perspective when you hear that, and look at what can be purchased in a whole year for that salary.
It means you don’t get the fancy car, big mansion or newest gadgets.
It means you are just struggling to keep a roof over your head and to get some decent food on the table if you live in the city.
There is a time and a place to be jealous, frustrated, whiny and sad; but it certainly isn’t all the time.
I kid you not, I allow myself a little pity party once in a while, but after I think carefully about what it is I am bitching about, it usually helps me put things into perspective, and put it behind me.
There are people out there who are being crippled by debt either of their own choosing, bad decisions, or what have you.
But the past is in the past, and they are stuck with whatever cards they were dealt at the moment.
They’re struggling, and sometimes I need a good mental slap to realize that I am extremely lucky and privileged to have been born where I was, raised as I was and given the opportunities I’ve been given.
Sure, a lot of it was hard work for the most part, but luck played a small role in it as well.
I didn’t just fall into business school — I worked to get there.
But from each piece of hard work, came a certain amount of luck — in being offered the job; being in the right environment where companies wanted to hire new graduates, and so on.
I could have turned out the other way.
I could have made all the right decisions in life and ended up $100,000 in debt, working a minimum wage job that can barely make the rent and pay my loans, eating beans out of a can and lamenting the sad events of my life.
We don’t want to be happy with what we have
I don’t know where I first read that above sentence.
It may have been during that same class in college, but nevertheless, it made a big but slow impact on my life.
Over the past couple of years since graduating, I realized that I should shut up and just be happy.
In my situation, it was a choice that I was not taking advantage of.
I didn’t have anything holding me back, except myself.
I could choose to be unhappy, and be envious about everything and let the green-eyed monster suck me into trying to one-up Jane Jones…
…or I could choose to be happy with what I have, and work on my perspective.
It’s certainly the cheaper option, I’ll tell you that much!
But not the easiest.
It’s easier to spend money to make yourself feel great, beautiful and special… but a lot more difficult to reach that point by just reflecting on your life and changing your attitude.
Still, I am going to keep trying. Perspective really is everything.