There’s a video on upworthy.com – well here, I’ll just make it easy for you. Watch, then read on.
I shared this on Facebook and as I mentioned on my accompanying post, I have seen this one a couple of times. My first reaction to it was, frankly, so what?! Why do I give a fuck? This information isn’t going to change what I’m doing with my life or how I choose to make my money (nor do I really believe I am hindered or capped in some way to the amount of money I can choose to make) so why do I care*? However, I was (and remain) really curious about how this information hits other people so I asked
- What are we supposed to do with this information and
- What are you inspired to do after watching this?
Then I wrote, if I may quote myself: “I’ll also point out that if you are living the “typical American Dream” and buying the “typical American crap” and eating the “typical American Diet”, you are contributing to the reality illustrated in the video. Does it piss you off that I say that? Good. I hope it wakes you up, too. There are choices and that is where you claim your power.”
What the hell did I mean by that?
Simple. There has been a myth called the “typical American Dream” floating around in this country for as long as I can remember that if you follow a certain path – go to school, get good grades, get a job, find a spouse, buy a house, sprout a couple of kids and go to church on Sundays, then you will be happy. More than a few Americans who followed that path would tell you that there’s a major flaw in that theory because they followed “the rules” and they are fucking miserable. To make themselves feel better, they go to Wal-Mart (or wherever – I picked Wal-Mart because I think they are particularly evil) and buy a bunch of “typical American crap” which consists of stuff they don’t really need or even really want but they saw on TV that it would be awesome for __________________ ??? and it gets hauled home or worse, stuffed into a storage unit. All that shopping makes people hungry but also tired so they don’t cook a descent meal for themselves. They go to McDonalds or some other drive-thru. Or they buy packaged food-like product from the grocery store and zap it to some form of edibility in the ‘nuker. Don’t even get me started about the “typical American diet” because I could go on and on and fucking on about the bullshit big food corporations are doing to make Americans sick as well as fat so they can make more money. Go check out www.foodbabe.com – she will set you straight.
I don’t understand why we aren’t happier, do you?!
Actually, I understand completely which is why I live the way that I live and make the choices I make. And listen to me carefully… I am not sitting here, writing this on my fancy MacBook Pro trying to sell you on the idea that I am some perfect little goody two shoes who never eats a hamburger. What I am trying to sell you on is the fact that you have choices. Choices that absolutely contribute to the bottom line of those 1percenters called out in the video.
When you buy a house that you can’t afford**, not because it feeds your soul** but because you’re trying to make your ego feel good or impress your ____________ (parents, girlfriend, boyfriend – insert appropriate human here), you’re making some banker richer than he or she already is.
When you pull up to the big box store of your choice and spend one thin dime in an unconscious, so-disconnected-from-yourself-you-would-not-recognize-your-own-ass-in-a-mirror fugue state brought on by the illusion that stuff will somehow distract you from the reality that you can’t remember the last time you laughed for real, you are making some corporate CEO richer than he or she already is.
When you “feed” yourself with fake food product that comes from a national chain and/or and large food distribution conglomerate, you are making some other corporate CEO richer than he or she already is.
When you drive some huge land yacht of vehicle, not because you actually haul something or because you have lots of humans who need to travel with you but because you think it makes you look “cool” you are making some oil executive richer than he or she already is.
Do I need to go on or are you catching my drift?
You have choices. If you don’t like what you learned in the video, do something about it.
I would argue that you tend to make better choices when you take the time to get to know yourself. When you do work (paid or otherwise) that makes you feel good and like you are useful or that simply makes you smile. When you feed your soul with real connection with other real humans in whatever ways turn you on (and let’s keep that private, shall we? I don’t need those details!). When you begin to see that happiness isn’t available as something you can buy off the shelf but instead a choice that you cultivate every day in word, thought and action – then your mind begins to quiet down and you can see… better.
*As someone who has lived through not having a pot to piss in much less a place to stick it, I DO understand that when you’re in the middle of a financial meltdown or when you had no finances to melt down in the first place, it can feel incredibly painful and incredibly permanent. As someone who has lived through that, I understand that the worst pain came from what I thought about my situation, not my situation and the fear that it was permanent came from thought to. Thought that feels incredibly real and so completely narrows your point of view that your ability to see your reality, creatively address your reality, much less take action to improve it is greatly diminished. That knowledge doesn’t make shit pretty and shiny. But at least you understand that if you’re dealing with shit, you know that more shit, i.e. any form of self-flagellation, fantasy thinking, excuse making, plugging your nose or any other avoidance behavior, won’t fix it. Taking responsibility for yourself and seeing yourself in loving clarity, while taking one step and then another, will. A water hose might help too.
**I used that word, afford. That’s a touchy one. Personally, I think “afford” means you have the money to pay cash for what you’re buying – cash being the plastic card tied directly to my bank balance. But there have been other times when “afford” meant using a credit card. I don’t recommend going into debt because it can cause a level of misery worse than hell. However, if you are awake to what you are doing, misery turns into choice. Actually, the misery gets skipped altogether. Yeah, I know that a lot of financial experts would argue with me but I’m not giving financial advice here. I’m telling you what works for me.