I could not agree more with the sentiment communicated by this graphic, in fact this is EASILY the #1 thing about American culture that has never made any real sense to me. Ever.
Being a "stay at home" dad myself for the last couple years, for reasons I cannot control, I can vouch for how easily one is made to feel like a reject, a non-functioning part of "the system". Simply because you are not (currently) a well oiled cog: willing and able to be an indentured part of the machine every day of your life; just because you and your loved ones need food, clothing, and shelter simply to be able to exist.
In 21st century America, happiness, individuality, and family time proportionate to their importance in your life, are luxuries reserved for when you are old and retired and you have already spent the best years of your relatively short existence "paying the bills". American capitalism is backwards, broken, and utterly sucks. Yeah, I said it. Our priorities as a society are leading us straight to Miseryville, population: you.
As a member of the working lower/middle class, recently labeled "the 99%", do you feel like you are living "the American dream" every day when you drive to work? Do you feel like unfettered capitalism is working for YOU? If you can answer yes, then congratulations: you are (by far) the exception, not the rule.
For the vast majority of us who feel obligated, or even oppressed into following the beaten path, I say: be an individual! Don't let social pressure squeeze the humanity out of you like water out of a wet rag. Take an HONEST look at the culture you are surrounded by, and if it doesn't actually match your priorities, the priorities that live deep down in the center of your heart... exercise the power to CHOOSE what your life will be, and do it.
Be different. Be yourself. Be happy. THAT is the most meaningful legacy we can give our children, not a manilla folder full of pay stubs! Long after we are no longer around to support our loved ones financially, they will carry on living life, using the unique things about us for inspiration, the things that no 401k can buy.
Earn a living, support yourself and your family, these are a must in order to survive-- but PAY ATTENTION to the choices you are actually making along the way, and be careful not to sell your SOUL in the process. No faceless corporate machine, well-meaning community, or fleeting sum of money has the right to claim your spirit: the flame that gives you the passion for whatever it is you are truly passionate about.
For now, breathing the fresh air outside right after a summer rain is still free. The smell of a baby's hair right after a bath is still free. The smiles and giggles of your children when you make that funny face that they love, is still free. Time spent cuddling on the couch with your sweetheart is still free. Don't let the LIFE in your life pass you by. ;-)
I love, love, love this babe. Thanks for your thoughts. Thanks for sharing a well needed perspective.ReplyDelete