Life is For the Living

I became extremely inspired by something my coworker said today. She has a beautiful  daughter who I can tell she loves very much.

That’s who she seemed to have in mind when I randomly overheard her mention how she felt that she wasn’t fully living her life. She was commenting on how many hours she spends at work and how few hours she gets to spend at home with the people she loves.

And it made me wonder: Are we even living life?

I think not. I am pretty sure that life, with its most basic meaning in mind, has nothing to do with how many Facebook friends we have, how much money we have in the bank and our credit scores, the types of cars we drive, or what degrees we have. Those things are all made up. Those things are fake.

I, for one, have hundreds of “friends” on Facebook but only talk to about five regularly. I am not afraid to admit that money is a struggle in my life right now (but what regular 22-year-old American isn’t these days?) and what is credit anyway? My car is supposed to get my from A to B, but it also has Bluetooth so I can talk to my nonexistent friends hands free and a butt-warmer and power windows and a sunroof. And I have a great job without a degree, thank you very much.

Not a single one of those things are life and death. Actually, few of the things we, as Americans, concern ourselves with these days are matters of life and death.

However, the things that are available in abundance to us (food, water, clean air) are life and death. We never have to worry about these things, so we allow our attentions to wander elsewhere. But every once in a while, we are reminded by the people holding signs on street corners and by occasional television commercials (if any of us watch those anymore) that not everyone has these necessities readily available. And we look sad for a moment, we pretend to care for a minute, until the light turns green or until the ad is over, and then we go about our regular plush “lives”.

If I was given the choice, I would choose to “live” this way each time I was asked. It’s easier. It’s stressful, but far less stressful than having to worry about starving to death. I think most people would say the same, if they are being completely honest with themselves.

But this whole thing has gotten way too convoluted. The whole idea of consumerism has simply gone way too far.

A few days ago, I saw an ad for a site that gathers a bunch of sites that sell hotel rooms. Before there was the internet, one was expected to book a room with the hotel itself. Then another company got the bright idea to compare multiple hotels on one website. That was an amazing idea! But then here comes yet another company who compared the comparison sites prices. Too far!

Because we are an innovative species. I get that and I appreciate that, and I won’t get too far into the politics of the whole thing or we will be here all night.

I guess the point is this:

Since we don’t have the need to worry about life’s basic needs, we have gotten too wrapped up in the bullshit. At one point, humans have stooped so low as to own and sell other humans and it was completely acceptable. And it hasn’t gotten much better.

We are worker bees, using up all of our time and all of our energy working for other people. And those of us who have the strength and ambition to try to work for ourselves are still working for someone else and pretending not to know it. We are told it’s the right way to live and the best way to live.

But we aren’t really living. We come home to our families after a long day of work, spend a few hours with them, eat an fattening sugary meal, go to sleep if we can, and get back up before we get enough sleep to do the whole thing over again. We are working for the weekend but call it a joke. We are mindless zombies believing what we are told and thinking that we are the cream of the crop.

But throw us into the wild with no cell phones and we wouldn’t survive a moment.

And maybe that’s what we should go back to. The world has given us everything we need to live. There is food, water, and clean air to breath. We have opposable thumbs to create shelters from the weather and start fires for warmth. Anything beyond that is not a basic necessity.

Louie CK says it best:

I say all this as I sit in an air conditioned apartment with a spiked Arnold Palmer at the ready, typing all of this on a touch-screen laptop with Hulu running as background noise while my boyfriend plays his PlayStation. I can say I’m a hypocrite because I know how to be honest with myself.

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