The pitfalls of comparison

I’m kinda old. So I’ve attained a perspective informed by chasing some false dreams. I also like to think there’s a little enlightenment mixed in there too.

We’ve been force fed a culture that serves the ends of the very wealthy. And not a whole lot of the rest of us. And that’s bad. But it’s nowhere near the worst part of the equation. The most depressing result of this hedonistic rocket ride is that we’ve abandoned any sense of purpose.

Yes, there are people who seek a higher plane of existence. And those who give their lives in service to others (thank you, BTW, you know who you are). But it’s a vanishingly small fraction of the population.

Most of us slog off to jobs we hate. Supporting, manufacturing or selling products nobody ever needed. All in the effort to earn a living so we can buy the things we need. But also a whole pile of those same sorts of things nobody needs.

Why do we do that? Because the neighbor just bought a brand new Mercedes? The best friend just bought a new condo in a much better part of town? A coworker just got a new ski boat? And we feel bad because we drive an old Toyota, live in a drafty old house and can’t afford to waterski.

The Toyota runs just fine. The house could use a little work but it’s paid for. And you don’t even know how to waterski! Yet you envy those who have more. Why? Because our entire culture has been manufactured to make you want what you don’t have. But only if someone can make money off that desire.

Try seeking peace. Spend a month buying only the food you need. Go outside and exercise, every single day. Shut off the devices. Go to the library. Read. Meet new friends. Maybe shoot some hoops. Seek out nature and spend some real time getting to know her. She’s your mother and you stopped talking to her years ago.

The unexpected result of all this slowing down? A marked decrease in your anxiety level. Better relationships. A more interesting you. Oh, and a fatter wallet.

We mostly have everything we need. Without spending a dime. Most of our time is spent trying to fill an emptiness that’s been artificially created by a culture that no longer knows how find joy. The real joy in life is found in connection with nature and other human beings. We all know this, we just seem to have forgotten. Oh, and all those people you’re comparing yourself to? Did you forget? You don’t even like them.

Thank you for reading.

Written by

father, motorcyclist, old retired guy who’s just a little lost on a blue marble corkscrewing its way to oblivion

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