The American Lifestyle

Once upon a time, we believed in something that we called “The American Dream.” Over the years, coupled with the internet and mainstream society, we now have the American “Do-Whatever-You Want.” We are cultivating a sense of entitlement and selfish behavior that negatively impacts those around us.

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We see it all around us in our daily lives. More so now than what we did ten or fifteen years ago, thanks in part to the internet and social media. We are growing more interconnected as a society enabling and tolerating behavior that would have been frowned upon, tactfully corrected, or ostracized before now.

You see it whenever you are waiting at a stoplight and the car next to you is making your windows rattle because their bass is turned up as far as it can go.

It happens when someone almost runs into you in the store because their nose was buried in their phone.

You don’t notice it when you are rocketing around in your metal box on rubber wheels, too selfish to yield the right-of-way to the crosswalk pedestrian to get to your destination while never fully arriving.

We post all of our pictures and selfies to social media, but are too afraid to make eye contact with those around us, as if we have something to be embarrassed about.

For far too long each of us has been moving at a steady max speed through our lives, trying to get to where we want to be as if what we have here and now is just something to get through. “I have to make it to retirement,” or “I need to save up to buy a house,” or “I need to earn that college degree…” We dare to dream but we never dream to live.

We say that we are modern and progressing as a nation but as long as everyone remains trapped in this overrated, arrogant, fuck-you, egotistical lifestyle that owns nothing but is entitled to everything, we will stagnate and vegetate were we currently are.

 

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Relationship with Yourself

The defining aspects of relationships are becoming frequently overlooked or forgotten. I have even fallen prey to this thus impacting the things that I enjoy most, to include writing. What I wished I had realized sooner is that in order for us to be in a healthy relationship we must first have the same with ourselves.

There are many different types of relationships, but here I will be talking primarily about committed relationships with your significant other. Whether you are only dating, have been in a committed relationship for a considerable amount of time, or if you are even married, this is what I will be talking about today.

I honestly did not know what having a relationship actually meant. Before, I saw it as companionship. Having someone to go through life together with and be able to share the fun with. This was supported by my perceptions of relationships when I first began learning about them in high school. My how naïve I was.

When I was in high school, everyone was getting into relationships. You weren’t technically someone unless you had a boyfriend/girlfriend, were going on dates and double dates, attending all the dances, holding hands in the hallway, and making out in the secluded corners of the school. It was yet another social convention that you had to buy into and conform with. Coupled with everyone being horny teenagers, you can see just how misguided this sort of mindset is. I grew up seeing that in order to actually be someone, you had to be in a relationship with someone else first.

Is this a Western problem? I don’t think it is that exclusive. Yes, I have met my fair share of people who had a better committed relationship in high school than the majority of adults out there today. Hell, even I can be placed into that category as well. Throughout my travels and all the people I have met there seems to be a growing impetus for discovery of someone else instead of the discovery of self. Maybe its in our genes, but I’m no geneticist.

Last night, before going to bed, I asked myself: “If I were someone else, would I want to be in a relationship with me?” My answer was a very resounding “No.” I don’t know what I want, where I am going necessarily, or who I really am for starters. All of these are self-awareness items that I would expect someone else to have pretty well figured out before being involved with them. The thing is though is that there is no expectation or emphasis placed on expecting the very same from ourselves. Hence, this is my current homework as of late…

Self-realization and actualization, I feel, needs to be more strongly emphasized over the pursuits of what you can offer to someone else. Granted, there always needs to be a balance but how can we give our best to someone else when we don’t have a grasp on ourselves in the first place? As contradictory as it may sound, the first step to any relationship is to have a relationship with yourself first.

Decay of the Family

Once upon a time, we placed valued the family. We would all gather for dinner together, visit places together, just do things together. It was rarely forced. It was enjoyable to spend time with the family. Now though we place value on everything but…

We look down on Generation-Y with a scowl of disapproval. They are lazy, entitled, and uneducated. We blame them for these faults but who taught them all of that in the first place? Better question: What lack of teaching happened?

The most important things today is sex, money, and looking good while doing it. Nobody’s parents are teaching them things. The dad walked out on them before they could remember. The mom, working overtime to make ends meet. Meanwhile, the kid is plugged into the TV at grandma’s while she knits. Who teaches the kids? TV, placing value on the materialistic things in life.

Instead of the hands-off parenting approach, be involved. Even though its easier, avoid resorting to technology to take care of the kids just so you can peruse your social media for the twentieth time that day. Value the family, not technology.