I've had this thought for months now, and I need to get it down. A very high number of people in our culture and society are unhappy. Unhappiness and anxiety are the root of most habits of excess, including hoarding, overspending and overeating. I'm pretty sure I know why, and I'm going to explain.
First of all, have any of you seen the documentary "God Grew Tired of Us"? It follows a few of the Lost Boys of Sudan as they integrate into American culture, trying to get an opportunity at a new life. What's interesting about it is the guys experience that they have to work what seems like endless hours just to be able to feed themselves. Yes, they have food available to them. They no longer starve. But they are suddenly eating potato chips and then spending their earnings on transportation and other means to facilitate working MORE. And, they lose their quality of life. As a culture, we are losing our life balance. I've seen some recent gains: wellness is gaining more popularity. We are beginning to learn that unless we invest in balance, and wellness, we are living simply to work - and putting off the real "living" until we have lost our youth and are in our degenerating older age (degenerating from having spent our whole lives working!). Now, I don't really know exactly how to solve this problem. That is, capitalism. Because bosses and CEOs often become greedy and those who work underneath them don't really have any option but to work their butts off in order to afford the bills, etc.
It is difficult to balance the big and the small picture. In the big picture, younger people are beginning to learn that we are nothing without our wellness. You just aren't LIVING unless you are taking care of yourself. Lazing around and/or busting your ass off is just not experiencing LIVING. Time off with family (families of friends, families of co-workers, or blood family), time in the outdoors, physical exertion and a passion for REAL FOOD is the way to experience REAL living. The way it is supposed to be, for human beings.
I digress. The root problem of hoarding, over-shopping (debt) and overeating is a lack of happiness. And the lack of happiness more often than not comes from a lack of physical release, a lack of enjoyment in life. A lack of spending quality time with yourself, and others.
Look at our reality television: 'Til Debt Do Us Part, Hoarders, Intervention, The Biggest Loser... much of our society is restless, is out of ideas, and is accumulating stuff or abusing substances to cope with it. Do you know how many people have prescription anti-depressants?
Enough is enough - if you're feeling at a loss, that paycheck which will turn into that new barbecue is not going to solve your problems. Neither is your new fence, your new baby gate, your bigger house in the 'burbs. We need to get out and DO more to be able to look around at our lives and smile and stop feeling like it is never enough. It is enough. But what you're investing in yourself and your quality of life (physically, not materially), is where the gaping hole lies.
Now, obviously I'm not jabbing these comments out at everybody. Lots have caught on, I realize. Especially if you are reading this blog. But we need to help push the wave of recognition that life is about living and not getting. We will all benefit.
*featured image found at www.portagecu.mb.ca *internal images found at www.soberingconclusion.com www.guardian.co.uk