Day after Monday, generally known as Tuesday. I’ve been pondering the meaning of our general lives and how we, North Americans, have this odd culture. We have such strange ideas about so many things, from what is popular and important to what we talk about and obsess about. We rarely question the things that are seemingly small and unimportant. Yet, I wonder, if pondering them and eventually acting upon those ponderings will ever “save” us.
Save us. From what? From ourselves. Some of the oddities I have seen….
Americans are always happy. If you’re not happy, you’re weird/wrong/unfriendly/rude/or just not worth the time. No one wants to be “brought down.” I’m not saying we shouldn’t have a positive attitude. I’m just questioning this insatiable desire to be happy all the time. We encourage children with all these wonderful encouragements and never really help them understand that most of the time, the world is harsh, rude, and doesn’t give a damn about them. We don’t teach them to find inner happiness; we teach them to be outwardly happy very well. We do not teach them to be positive in their thinking and find peaceful joy in their hearts.
Music in places of business and restaurants. Why? I’ve seen so many people, couples, sitting in restaurants and not talking. Do we play music so we don’t have to suffer our relations? Do we play music all the time because we’re afraid of our own thoughts? Music is NOT the norm in other places around the world for these everyday “things.” Music is special. It is art. I sometimes bemoan the relianace on “canned” musicians. Remember when music had to be made and created each and every time? Remember when music was not just “costume jewelery” but a ruby to be treasured and worn on special occasions? Music as creation. One of my fondest travel memories is being in Salzburg, and going to a small concert of chamber music in an 18th C. manor house. It seems when music is presented in its true form, in a place created for just such an occasion, it’s perfection. The rest of the time, it seems to be merely a distraction.
Abundance is money. Abundance is fiscal wealth. I find this cultural icon everywhere. It’s the basis for our capitalistic society. Yet, we’re all taking the time now to figure out what is really necessary in our lives. Do we really need a new car or do is the one we have just fine? Do we need to have the best of every restaurant or can we eat at home more? What happened to the simple pleasures of family, friends, and loved ones around the dinner table? What happened to home cooked meals, where everyone participates in preparing a meal and eating it together, with conversation and thought? Have we forgotten that abundance is really the connections in our life? It’s our health. It’s our talents. It’s our ability to continue to grow, to think, to create, and to love. I think our economic downturn is a good thing. I think we should all take the time, all the time, to examine our real needs in life and figure out what exactly it is that we need. Perhaps the Beatles were right.
Okay, maybe these aren’t oddities; perhaps, though, we should pay attention to them and see if they are necessary. Perhaps we should observe more, look around and figure out what it is really want to be as individuals, people, and a society. Sometimes, I am so tired that I wonder if looking around and being “me” is worth it. Sometimes, it’s hard to think differently. Sometimes, I just play the game, too. As I creep toward the second half of my life, I find myself speaking up far more about the things I think need to change. Perhaps that is a function of maturity; the ability to not only see what might be different but to also begin affecting its change.
Maybe today I’ll ask Starbucks to turn down their music. Maybe. After this next song…