I’ve had something on my mind lately that I’d like to share. Maybe my opinion won’t be a popular one, but that’s the beauty of being an individual; we don’t all have to share the same opinion to get along. And no one is forcing you to read it.
I realize that life is not fair and it never has been and that there have always, since the beginning of time, been heartbreaking injustices that we cannot comprehend or explain. Unfairness seems to be a theme that everyone on earth can relate to because we’ve all faced it to some degree in different areas of our lives. Some much more so than others.
It breaks my heart to see the inequality among people; to see how we bicker and tear each other down over (mostly) meaningless, insignificant topics. Are the things we talk about and argue about really all that important in the bigger picture? Does it add anything at all to your life to spend your days depreciating people from behind the safety and anonymity of your computer? What do you gain from berating people or looking down your nose at them?
Is someone’s financial or social standing really all that important? Does it matter if they have a nice car or a junker as long as it gets them from Point A to Point B? Does it matter if they live in a huge mansion or a one-bedroom apartment or their car? I can’t stand it when I’m watching a show like The Voice and they play on people’s sympathies by sharing stories about people living in their cars so they can afford to pursue music. And those people are all teary-eyed talking like it’s some kind of tragedy. It’s like…really? THAT’S a tragedy to you? Um, no…how about the hungry, homeless, abused and neglected children in our own backyard? THAT is a real tragedy.
These people on these reality shows chose to live that way so why are we all feeling bad for them? I don’t ever go “awe! Poor _________” when I hear a story like that. I’m happy for them actually – they’re out there doing what they love and they’re choosing to sacrifice certain comforts for it. Why is that something to feel bad about? That sounds like freedom to me. They’re clothed and they aren’t going hungry. Hell, they even have a car! Too many people don’t have even the most basic things so why would I waste my energy feeling bad for someone who chose to live their life in their Toyota Celica?
And where do we get off judging other people about where they are in their lives when their lives aren’t ours to live? Unless how they’re living directly affects us (our relationships, our family, our finances) then I think we should keep our mouths shut about it.
For instance, my mom once said she wanted to buy one of these, put it on my uncle’s land where she was living at the time and live in it. Like a tiny little barn-house. A few members of the family had a problem with this, but I really didn’t care. She was happy about it and has lived with less so what’s the big deal? She’d have her own space to do as she pleases, her own bed to sleep in and she was going to pay for the thing so how in the world was this anyone else’s business to weigh in on? Plus, I thought it was pretty brilliant because think of the money she’d save? If she ended up being unhappy with it, that’s her business, too.
Of course we never got to find out how this big idea would pan out because she was approved for a Habitat for Humanity house; something she worked really hard for and I’m proud of her for working so hard to get it. But the point is, even if she hadn’t been approved by Habitat, I’d have been just as happy for her and just as proud if she had made a shed her home as long as she had what she needed and was happy with it herself.
People can survive – even thrive – on A LOT less than what today’s society views as “necessities.” So you don’t have an iPhone. Boo freakin’ hoo. Suck it up. You’re not going to die, I promise you. All you need to survive is sustenance and enough clothing to keep yourself from getting locked up for indecent exposure.
However, having said that – I think there’s also another side to the coin. If people DO happen to have things – a nice house, nice reliable cars, computers, TVs, phones, whatever – there’s no need to rub it in their faces that they have things you don’t just because you’re bitter or jealous. Most people generally work very hard and work their way up from nothing so that they can have these things or provide them for their families. For some unknown reason, other people (that maybe haven’t made it to that point in their lives yet for one reason or another) feel it’s their God-given duty to rub it in and make disdainful, condescending comments about “rich people” etc… just to make a successful person feel like a D-bag.
It really irks me because my husband and I are at a pretty decent place financially at the moment and I’ve had a few people – some intentionally and some unintentional – throw in their unwanted and unnecessary two cents about what they assume our financial situation is and some even downright make fun of us.
We are not “rich” people. We have a beautiful home and both my husband and I have our own vehicles, but we PAY for those things!!! My husband especially has worked amazingly hard to earn EVERY single thing he has and I don’t appreciate being made to feel ashamed of that. Get a clue people! All those people you think have money to burn more than likely don’t. Unless your best friend is Bill Gates; in that case, maybe he does.
But regular everyday, non-microsoft-owning people? They might have money to burn if they didn’t have car payments, mortgages, utility bills, insurance, kids etc., but the fact is that they do have to pay for those things. Generally, when we go job hunting, don’t we look for something that pays us enough to allow us to pay our bills? Nobody with a family goes out saying “I want to get a minimum wage job and pick and choose what bills I pay each month!” Maybe in this economy some people do say that because just having a job, no matter how much it pays or what it is, is a blessing, but still – you get my point, right? We strive to do better, to achieve more, to make more…And when someone finds a job making a pretty decent amount of money, instead of saying “great job!” and being happy that this person doesn’t have to struggle as much and scratch and claw to make ends meet, we make contemptuous comments to try to make them feel bad about something they have earned! What kind of sense does that make? If you’re upset that you don’t have that, get off your ass and go get it.
My husband and I have lived on $60-$100 worth of groceries for a family of 4 & I thought that was doing good considering the amount of starving kids we have in this country. We’ve lived in an apartment that should have been condemned (and was shortly after we moved out), 3 trailers, and then little military apartments after that. And those little military apartments were the nicest places I’ve ever lived until we bought our house and I was surrounded by people talking about how crappy they were when I didn’t think so at all. I even have some of my fondest memories in our first crap apartment and I literally begged my husband not to make me live there. But it was all we could afford. Since that time, my husband has had several other jobs, each a little better than the last, until he went into the military.
He served his country through two deployments and sacrificed his physical and mental health in the process. He was medically retired in October of 2011 and has been receiving VA benefits for about a year now. He doesn’t necessarily have to work, but he does – every single day. He has a regular job that he works on the weekends and during the week he’s running a landscaping business with my brother in law while I run my own photography business. He’s basically working himself to death so that we can afford to have our house and cars and pay all our other bills and afford our kids’ school uniforms as well as to send our kids on field trips, pay for extra curricular activities and still eat. And you know what I pay? My car payment, my gas, a loan I got for my business, any of my regular business expenses, dinner out sometimes and a few things here and there for the kids, but he doesn’t make me or even ask me to take care of those things; he leaves it up to me and takes most of the financial burden on himself. AND the man doesn’t even complain about it! I mean…every now and then he might say something because he’s stressed out, but for the most part he just DOES without whining and moaning about it. I’m not saying he’s perfect or anything because God knows the man can be an ass sometimes, lol, but he’s MY ass and I won’t tolerate people degrading his accomplishments whether it’s intentional or not.
And the other crap we have (TV, computer, etc…) we save up for. We don’t just go out and blow money on stupid crap we want before our bills are paid. We save up until we can afford those specific things. So yeah…it pisses me off when people assume we’re rich and frivolous. When you work your ass off for something and you’re happy where you’re at in your life, you just want people to be proud of you. But I guess that’s too much to ask, huh?
Possessions are not everything. They’re pretty much meaningless all by themselves. It’s the fact that you have to work for it that makes you proud of what you have. Even if all you have is a Toyota Celica and your closet is your trunk, if it’s yours – why not be proud of it? Be thankful for what you earn no matter how much or how little it is. And for the love of all that is holy, support your family and friends even if their lifestyle choices don’t make any sense to you – if you’re not the one paying their bills and providing them with a home, a phone, a car, gas etc. then it’s none of your business. If you are providing those things for someone that maybe isn’t necessarily your responsibility, then don’t be so bitter about it! I’m not saying to enable your loved ones to be bums and do everything for them to the point that they become handicapped, but everybody needs help sometimes and someday it’s going to be you needing the help. Give people a hand up – not a hand out. Stop keeping tabs of how much you think you give to other people or do for them. Stop expecting it back. Just do it because it’s the right thing to do; be genuine and benevolent.
People aren’t always going to make what you think is the “right” choice for their lives. We don’t always make the right choices for our own so maybe take it easy on the judgement? Mistakes are part of the journey. Now you’re about to get really pissed at me because I can sum this entire post up in four simple words.
Live and let live.