My apologies to Messrs. Steinbeck and Shakespeare for my plagiarism of the title but it fit into my thinking over the past few days. I went for my four mile walk yesterday with the whole concept of discontent on my mind. What? In La La Land? Have you totally lost the last few brain cells you have? It was perfect. Knew the path well so I could just work through so many feelings and thoughts.
When we got back from Denver I had two copies of The Week to peruse. Flipping through pages and jamming all that mayhem and chaos into one place, you
are bound to ask, is anyone happy? Hong Kong,
San Juan, and even our own metropolises are full of people who are fed up and not going to take it anymore. Temporary malaise or unsolvable problems? Good question.
For the moment let’s just say discontent is a dislike of the way things are going. I think that is normal for those whom their life really sucks but is it rational for a country like ours? Things aren’t perfect but they are better than most. We don’t even have to look to DC but just our own burghs and dare I say homes. We have this irrepressible urge to change things all in the name of making them better but why?
Cars, golf clubs, kitchens, bath rooms etc have the same functionality they had fifty years ago. Government, schools, business…ditto. Have we made things better or more complex? Did you ever come upon a small town either here or abroad and find yourself saying what a cool place? These people gather for coffee, fish in the local stream and the kids play sports at the local sand lot. Do you say these people don’t know what they are missing or maybe we don’t know what we are?
Nirvanna is the latest and greatest, which would be wonderful if we could freeze it in time. Okay that is just perfect I don’t need any more. Then the seductive siren of innovation says you can have more. If you do this or that you will be much happier. Homes, clothes, technology, cars and all manner of food pronounce the ultimate experience..until next month. Aha!. Perchance this is a major part of our discontent. Is it an itch you can’t scratch or a rub that only gets worse?
Discontent equates with unhappiness of some sort. If you don’t like your life you want it to change. Got it. If someone is holding a knife to your neck in a super market looking for cash or raping you just for something to do I would say you are right on for thinking,”Get my ass outta here”. But today are you being talked out of something you love because it is heaven forbid “dated”?
Sounds crazy? Maybe not. There are some of us that are predisposed to to look on the dark side of things. It is estimated 35% of our populace thinks that way. Good for you. I honestly think that a good portion of us are talked into it. Acquaintances are hypercritical about every little thing. You think things are going along great and then wham you have no idea how backward and behind the times you are.
Add to all of this the insidious part of our media world. I got my Wall Street Journal yesterday with its slick monthly magazine. Page after page of gorgeous women in all sorts of seductive poses. What? My wife doesn’t look or act like that? Dinner? We are going to tell you about four must see restaurants throughout the US. Not in Palm City,FL or Cheyenne, WY? Well you just get yourself on a plane to San Francisco or Austin and make sure you staying the Ritz Carlton on your overnight jaunt.
I came away from all this wondering with more than a headache. The first conclusion I reached is that we set unreachable goals. I am the greatest dreamer in the world but I am also practical to a fault. Do I want to be a better golfer, husband and dad? Of course. Do I want to be in shape ? You bet, but the only six pack I am going to have is under my arm leaving a liquor store. Set goals but make them reachable.
Secondly we have to stop comparing ourselves and keeping score. I have told many of you before the biggest symptom of depression is a lack of self esteem. You can be successful beyond compare and still you don’t feel you measure up to others. Next time you watch or see an ad tell me if it doesn’t say, “If you don’t drive this car or drink this type of scotch you are a loser.” An ad exec told me once that it was his job to sell a lack of self esteem. And we and our young people today get thousand of messages on TV, radio and our phones telling us just that. Yikes!
Lastly we have to learn and have the guts to tune it out. We crave the latest and spend our spare time looking at our phone and I Pads. We have in a word become captive. It is not the phone or Facebook or You Tube that is doing this. It is us! We created its popularity and we feed it. There are fascinating things on the internet. There is also a bunch of crap.
Bottom line is how do you want to live? Is that great little town attractive or do you have to be the end all and be all? More importantly is how content are you in your own skin? Not someone else’s view but your own perception of you. Can you be discontent with the world but content with you? I think so. How about you?
Ted The Great
Post WWII people were grateful for an opportunity to do well. Now we consider it an entitlement whether you are rich or poor. It spans color as well as age.
We spend over $200 billion per annum remodeling our homes. Buy Home Depot and Loews
Companies advertising will spend over $210 billion this year getting us to but stuff!
In the United States, people spend an average of 444 minutes every day looking at screens, or 7.4 hours. That breaks down to 147 minutes spent watching TV, 103 minutes in front of a computer, 151 minutes on a smartphones and 43 minutes with a tablet. We are only ranked 7th in the world
“We don’t always know what our life purpose is or what our true path should be but we do get clues and that comes from our discontent.”