I read an article in our local newspaper inviting highschool and college students to write in about relevant issues in today's society. And of course, I simply could not resist adding my two cents to the mix. So this is what I plan to submit, feel free to give your critique or share your opinion on the issue, or any other issue you feel needs to be recognized.
One of the greatest plagues to society today is the high regard given to social status and materialism. Many people have forgotten what it truly means to be alive. We expel all of our efforts into achieving financial success to raise our status and allow us to feel as though we are well off. But what does this mean exactly? Everyone wants to be able to meet their needs, to own a home, afford their groceries, have a car to drive to work. Somewhere along line however, these sensible wants shift into higher gears, based on the standards of others. Our home is not as nice as the neighbors, the other children have brand names on their snacks at lunch, our car is not equipped with the latest comfort features. Then we splurge, we hand over more than is stowed in our pockets in order to satisfy our desire to fit the mold.
We want to be American, we want to live the dream. In most cases, our dreams do not consist of disappointment, of settling for less than the best. We take pleasure in believing that we can have anything that we want, so long as we pay the price. The United States is primarily a mixed market economy, driven by profit. So consequently, consumers are motivated to buy. The more we are capable of affording, the more we appear to have, and the more successful we seem. If we think we have less than the people around us, then life is not fair. Something went wrong, or the other person simply has luck on their side. This is our dilemma, discovering a way to enjoy what we have already worked hard to attain. This is not to say we should always settle, never strive for the things that matter to us. Just maybe, from time to time, it would be in our best interest to move a step back and take a good look at what it is we are trying so hard to obtain. When did these tangible objects or positions of status become such significant factors in human life? Honestly, it is rather disheartening. The simple things are losing their appreciation little by little. People get so caught up in the currents of working and spending that eventually, it may be all that they know.
We tend to take moments for granted, losing fragments of time we can never have back.
Are our lives truly so busy that we cannot make the time? Time is a constant variable, ticking along at its steady pace. We cannot rightfully use it as a scapegoat for why we do not indulge in the things that bring us happiness. All we must do is find a way to organize it, forcing us to choose our priorities. Of course it is not reasonable or realistic to always choose the fun option. Work must be done, but like most things, there is a balance to be struck. If we ignore the role of status, instead focusing on what makes us feel alive, while working to the point where we can live comfortably, we might just find ourselves to be a little less overwhelmed. Another crucial part of life slowly slipping out of existence is the quest for knowledge. Obviously there are scientists, engineers, inventors, plenty of experts geared towards figuring things out. But what about learning on an individual scale for personal fulfillment? Our minds exist for a purpose, to be exercised and used. In conclusion, there are many components needed for our society to function suitably. We do need a stable economy, we need producers and consumers. However, these consumers should recognize the need for balance. Lost in the cycle of buying and selling, people miss out on healthy relationships with one another and themselves.