Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The I want/I need syndrome

For the umpteenth time in my life, I find myself disappointed..........with myself. In light of the less than favorable economy and with the constant fear of possibly losing what I thought was a secure government job, I reflect on my life and the "things" I think I have needed or wanted in my life.

I sit and watch the youth of this generation with their DS's, Playstations, iPods, TV's, cell phones, etc and I sit in awe of how much these things are "needed". I am almost in disgust until I realize, I too believe I "need" these things. The cell phones, the TV, the DVR's, cable, the computer, the HD service, the mighty putty, the oxyclean, you name it. I have fallen into that trap of believing I "need" all of this. Thanks to the wonderful world of media and marketing, we are made to believe that our lives will be easier, more fulfilling if we have these things. God bless Billy Mays, but he could be selling a five pound bag of crap and by the end of his pitch, I am running to the phone because I know if I call within the next fifteen minutes they will cut that last monthly payment of 29.95 and in addition I will get another five pound bag of crap absolutely free. Then I buy that five pound bag of crap and realize that it is acutally........ crap. And, not only do I have a five pound bag of crap, I have two five pound bags of crap. But, at least I only paid shipping and handling for the second one. Yes, I have fallen prey to more than one infomercial.

Did I really "need" Mighty Putty? Did I really need a solution that supposedly removes scratches from my vehicle? (by the way, none of them worked) Then I look at everything else I have that I believe are necessities. Oh how pathetic I have become. I remember as a kid, there were no cell phones, no internet, no HDTV or DVR's. The TV had a turn knob with the five local channels or so. I seem to remember that we got a long just fine. We played outside more, we rode our bikes more, we actually had neighborhood friends. Life was acutally a little simpler and I dare to say, more enjoyable. (now remember, as I write this, I am behind my computer, alone, I told you that there would be hypocricies throughout my blog).

Sometimes I wonder, if all of those "things" I think I need were taken away from me, would I be a little happier, a little less stressed, a little more active. I would think yes. Now don't get me wrong, at this point, I would rather not test this out. This shows my my pitiful dependency for these things. But, does my obsession for these things trickle down to my children and thus, make them "need" these things also? So, when I look at todays youth in disgust, I find disgust in myself for being that bad example. So, are we to blame for a generation of degenrate youth? I think we can share some of the blame.

I think back to the time I spent in Guatemala. I think of the children that were fortunate to have gone to school. There was no internet, no recess, no lunch, no school carnivals. They went to school, learned, then went home. But, as they went home, they were smiling and laughing. I didn't see them playing with video games, iPods, laptops. In fact, I would more often than not, see them playing with a one dollar plastic soccer ball, in the street, in the field, wherever they could. And, again, they were smiling and laughing. Could it be? Could it be that they did not need, or most likely didn't have the means to, acquire these things that children in the U.S. "need"? Could it be that they could still find happiness in their friends and enjoy and relish in that bond of friendship and not have their nose smashed in some electronic?

I'm not saying I want to take all electronics from children. But, I would like to see them, and us, become a little less dependant on these things and enjoy our families and friends more. Actually talk to people rather than yell at a TV because your video game cheated. And, sorry to break it to you, but as soon as you buy that 4th generation iPod, they already have the 5th generation made and they are just waiting to release it because they know you will "need" the newer version.

I would like to take my family to some small tropical place and rent a small one bedroom or studio (something small and cheap) for a month with no phone, tv, computer, not one electronic. (I know that tropical doesn't sound too humble, but come on, baby steps) And I would like to see how long it would take before they start missing those "necessities". After some time, hiking, swimming, actually cooking food, no take out, no microwaves.....( Who wouldn't love a fish fry on the beach? ), talking over dinner, enjoying life and each other, I am willing to bet that those "necessities" would end up taking a back seat. Then maybe we would ween ourselves from that "bottle".

So, in closing this drawn out entry, let's take a vacation, a vacation from those things that we feel will make our lives easier and supposedly more enjoyable. Those things we get so involved with and block out the outside world and all the beauties it has to offer. ( I will one day get my entire family scuba certified, can't bring cell phones and video games underwater ha ha ha)

Until next time my friends......"We are the music makers, We are the dreamers of dreams."

1 comment:

  1. Oh sir I can only say that I completely agree with every single statement you have written. I find myself thinking those things more often than not, and forcing a tv free day once every 6 months or so. During our trip to MI at the end of July, we did not watch one ounce of television, did not spend umpteen hours on the computer (they have ssslllloooowww dial up and it was driving us bananas), did not play any video games...and guess what? The kids had an amazing time! WE had an amazing time! Playing cards, going swimming, going for hikes, or just sitting together making good conversation. It didn't matter what we were doing, we were having fun as a family. But I am also chicken and not ready to give up these things at MY home. Maybe we can develop a 12 step program for the technologically obsessed? I am ready if you are!