Time, or lack there of, fuels my perfectionism. We’re conditioned to believe we have less and less of it, which is driven into us over and over again by advertisements. I don’t own a TV because, frankly, advertisements make me feel like crap–and that’s the point. I avoid advertisements anyway I can, but this subtle reminder–that time is decreasing–is all around me.
For example, on my way to the library today, to work on schoolwork, I saw a delivery truck for McDonald’s, a man typing on his blackberry in the elevator, cars speeding everywhere–all reminders that I need to do more with less. Instead of wasting time cooking a meal, I should just pick up something quick at a fast-food restaurant. Instead of trying to relax on my commute, I should be sending an email or text or something from my blackberry. Instead of biking–a longer, more enjoyable form of commuting–I should get a car so I can get from point A to point B quicker.
All this is happening in my unconsciousness; I’m not consciously telling myself I should forfeit a healthy meal for a crappy one, in other words. But when I start craving lunch and all I can think about is grabbing something quick so I can get right back to work, it’s pretty clear to me how the actions and choices that we (society) make as a whole affect me, negatively.
What’s more, the people who are highly-revered in our society are those who do more with less. Those who make efficient decisions, sacrificing themselves and the world around them.
And it’s the people who try to live consciously who really suffer. I want to have time to make a healthy, home-cooked meal; I want leisure time; I want to commute to places responsibly. And yet, somewhere inside I’m telling myself that unless I work 60 hours a week and make $80K (so I can buy crap I don’t want or need) I’m inferior. Unless I sacrifice my ideals and beliefs for cultural norms, I’m a failure. No matter where I go or how much I try to shield myself from advertising and consumerism, it’s still there, all around me–and I have to be a part of it, even though I really don’t want to.
I went downtown the other day to people watch. I sat in the same spot for about an hour, watching the business professionals go about their day. It was stressful for me because everyone looked stressed–never quick enough, never good enough, never smart enough plastered on their faces. I felt sorry for them (in the same way that I feel sorry for myself).
At one point two men came out of an office and lit up cigarettes. They smoked in silence for awhile until a bum passed by and sat down next to them. The men moved away as the bum snickered at them. I could see them laughing at the bum–or what I perceived as laughter, at least. Anyway, right there in front of me were two extremes: the business professionals conformed to cultural norms while the bum rejected them; the business professionals educated, the bum not (presumably), etc. But how different are they?
I’m not convinced there is that much difference, but I’m positive that I don’t want to be either of them.
I love the awareness that some of us have. Sociological speaking, you are correct. Fit in or be an outcast, or to be somewhere in between. The looking glass self is a great work. I hope to get back to sociology when I go to graduate school. I love it!
It just seems like the only options given to use sometimes are those extremes: fit in or be an outcast. We have to go to school to learn how to fit in, and when we deviate from that in anyway we’re either given a label (like social anxiety or bipolar, etc) or thrown in jail. It’s absurd. I look at my dad who has had a steady job his whole life. Everyday he comes home and drinks and talks to himself, he’s still lost in his thoughts from the day. Somehow he’s deemed okay, though, while a bum who drinks and talks to himself is a menace to society. I know it’s not that simple, but I just can’t help but see the similarities.
I agree with you wholeheartedly. There is hope; where there is hope there can be change. Society is sick. As people we can rise above it or let it get the best of us and weigh us down. Life is too short for that. Embrace each emotion, just don’t hold it too tightly. 🙂
Each of us are more then mere labels or statistics. We are human–animal like creatures and adapt to our environments. We are all unique and worthy of respect and equality.