Friday, June 16, 2006

Greener Grass

I'm back! With another brilliant and incisive personal post.

I keep running into people, myself included (not that I actually run into myself, mind you), who say things along these lines: “I hate my life”; “my life sucks”; “I’ve got to get out of here!” Now, these people are not in what appear to be horrible situations – they have jobs, homes, clothing to wear, food to eat. Most of them also have some spending money for the occasional CD, movie, dinner out, new something-they-don’t-really-need-but-that-makes-them-momentarily-happier. So what gives? Why this miasma of misery? There’s no real reason that I know of that any one of these people (myself included) can’t do something to make themselves happier. And yet they (we) don’t. I wonder why.

Of course, I suspect that some of it is a generational funk. We of the Me Generation and after were not raised to have the stiff upper lip, “theirs not to reason why” attitude. We are, on the whole, soft. And we have the luxury of looking around to see what other people have and what they’re doing and now we have a whole generation trying to keep up with the Joneses. Which is, as we all know, a horrible downward spiral with no happy Disney ending in sight.

But it seems like we do work harder with less to show for it these days, and in some areas you practically have to bankrupt yourself to get your children a decent education (which is sooo not right). I don’t think this is all a keeping-up-with-the-J’s kind of thing. I think we’ve got some serious issues as a nation that no one is willing to address. Oh well, easy for me to say, I guess. I’m not exactly proposing solutions here.

I also think our increased globalization contributes to this free-floating wretchedness. Before TV, who knew that some inexcusable excrescence like Paris Hilton (Lindsay Lohan, Tara Reid, [insert drunken bimbo here]) even existed? Or if we did know, we could be fooled into thinking she actually deserved to live by clever stage managing. Now we have her publicly declaring herself unfit for any place in civilized society every time we turn around, whether it be out of her own mouth, by yet another slit-eyed drunken picture in yet another mimbo’s jet / limo / arms, or simply by the outfit she’s wearing. People like me, relatively normal people who work hard, are honest, and try to do good things, are well on our way to early strokes because of the unfairness of it all. And I think we have a point.

And yet.

I know I could do more with my life that would make me happier and more satisfied. But I feel like I can’t, for some reason. Am I paralyzed by the staggering array of choices I have today? Am I afraid that it wouldn’t be all I had cracked it up to be in my imaginings? Am I simply afraid of failure, that if I fail, I won’t have any money, and then no safety net for when I inevitably have a stray piano fall on my head or catch cancer from a passing public toilet seat?

Sigh. Okay, so I realize I’ve got a little problem here. (And I don't mean catching cancer from a toilet seat. I know that’s not possible. It’s gout from a toilet seat, cancer from burned hotdogs.) What I find interesting is that so many other people I know seem to have the same problem. Why so much dissatisfaction? Why so much anger?

I think we are overcrowded and in too much of a hurry and TV is ruining us all.


Amy said...

I totally know what you mean here, but I don't think it's TV that has ruined us, I think it's Wal-Mart! We have become the disposable generation.

I live overseas at the moment, and the contrast is staggering. People here actually save up and pay cash for cars. And guess what? They appreciate them!

Their clothes are well made, and in general they follow more 'classic' designs that can and will be worn well past what an American would consider the expiration date.

And I could go on...

We want more because we can get more at Wal-Mart. Before we could get so many things so cheaply, we didn't want them. And now, we can't live without our weekly spree.

sassymoll said...

I also hate Wal-Mart! And I was just thinking the other day that it is leading to our downfall as a nation (well, world, as it spreads). It completely lowers our expectations -- so what if it falls apart in a week or looks junky from the start, it's cheap! Very much a disposable generation. Well said!