Friday, June 30, 2006

Thoughts on Gas, Consumerism, and Society

First of all, my apology for the poor quality of the accompanying photo -- perhaps I was in SHOCK as I took it. It really happened! I never before dreamed of paying in excess of 3 bucks for a gallon of gas, but here's the proof of it. If you've read my previous posts on the price of gas, take that frustration and multiply it several times. As I thought about the helpless feeling I have regarding gas prices, my thoughts turned to other areas of life. My day started with the Today show. That's where I get most of my news and information (along with the web of course), so imagine my disappointment when the biggest segment I saw was Al Roker's interview with Star Jones-Reynolds, the recently terminated member of THE VIEW cast. My biggest response was somewhat below "Who cares?" Is THAT the most important matter before us? What about gas prices? What about terrorism? What about the hundreds of social issues that beguile us on a daily basis. So the woman lost her job -- big deal. Now she does the talk show circuit and will probably have a new job tomorrow! The homeless are still homeless; the unemployed still have no jobs or positive prospects; troops are still in Iraq; there's still racism, sexism, and homophobia, but we all are dying to know the juicy details of the departure of this poor soul that I've never heard of from a show that I don't watch. Ah, priorities!!

After that and the gas thing, I was sitting in the doctor's waiting room watching the TV. I was reminded about how we have to lose weight, fight wrinkles, smell good, drive the newest and best car (never mind that it only gets 12 miles to the gallon), have all the latest techno-gadgets, be the biggest, brightest, sexiest, best looking, have the smartest kids, and be able to retire with a huge retirement account. What a fantasy. The reality is that this "American dream" does not produce happiness, health, or harmony, but instead leads to disappointments, depression, and disunity. If I have the "best" and you don't, does that make me better or you worse? NO. There's nothing wrong with possessions, self care, and a bit of pampering, but it has to be kept in perspective. Relationships are more important than gadgets; self worth and appreciation of who we are is more important than the latest diet fad; self respect and dignity are more important than bank balances.

I know this has been a lengthy post, but the bottom line is this: Be happy in who you are, be all you can be, and take some time to smell the roses along the way. Here's hoping that my day becomes brighter.

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