Tag Archives: happiness

Millennials, Strive for that Perfect Selfie because You will Never get out of Debt and You Will Never own Your Own Home Responsibly

“The more he identifies with the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own life and his own desires. The spectacle’s estrangement from the acting subject is expressed by the fact that the individual’s gestures are no longer his own; they are the gestures of someone else who represents them to him.”
― Guy DebordThe Society of the Spectacle

“The spectacle is the nightmare of imprisoned modern society which ultimately expresses nothing more than its desire to sleep. The spectacle is the guardian of sleep.”
― Guy DebordThe Society of the Spectacle

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The headline you just read is what I think to myself when I realize I shouldn’t spend money and should save for my future interests, especially when my contemporaries scroll social media and see how others are living large and in charge and strive to be just like them.

(Firstly, social media is an affirmation to spend more money, and waste more time.  Do you have it in you?)

I am pretty sure the people around me are concerned about my one point of obsession, my now goal: paying off all of my debt. My motivation being: Because I am a slave to debtors, credit card companies own me, my student loans own me, I really don’t exist freely…  What keeps me going in this direction:  Good reasons.

Good reasons:  Some day I will own my own house, responsibly–not through some insane mortgage.  Some day I will be out of debt, entirely: zero debt.  Some day I won’t have to work every day to pay my bills, no worries.  I will retire with dignity.  And again, those around me will benefit from my now goals, from my relatively insane efforts, from sacrifices I make.

These sacrifices are easier than the alternative for me, of living in debt for the rest of my life, chipping away at what I one minimum payment, all that high interest at a time.  That is stupid.  That is something that could use distractions!

It’s hard and easy for me to imagine that there is a world out there stranded glaring into their phones at millions of other people acting out their fantasies–Millennials et al., taking photos, images of a luxury lifestyle that is nothing more than made up. IT DOES NOT EXIST.

Imagine if we could get paid for that time spent glaring at other people’s dreams… We’d all be as rich as Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Buffet, Steve Jobs, or Donald Trump.

I really shouldn’t care about the setting or the background or how long it took for another person to get that perfect photo, the perfect selfie, and all those likes, although it worries me. I care, imagine.  That is my philanthropy for the day: caring.

(Your debt is that train in the “perfect selfie” video above, maybe doing the same to you as you read.  Stay off of those tracks that lead you, or the future you, into imminent danger.)

The first thing I think about when I see pictures of people doing AMAZING things is, how much debt does that person actually have, credit cards, student loans, etc.? I know, it’s none of my business, but for science…  Then I wonder, does all that debt add up to contrived happiness, the happiness in that picture, imagines on a screen, unfocused a distracted ephemera of fleeting feeling… Does it come from that?

(A hobby of imagining your existence is entirely different from what it is?  Doing this doesn’t cause change, it avoids it.)

And we compare ourselves to those counterfeit images, those freewheeling fantasies, those nice narrative and salacious story lines… Am I as good as that other person’s selfie?  No, no, I am not… Should I be spending more money, should I be buying into this false pretense?  Do I give a shit?

Then I vanish from social media and that apathetic society that we all pay to join in some way or another. I vanish because we all should and walk back into the deep woods to find our inner animal selves, or into a deep sleep.  Beasts called gentlemen in suits and ties pretending to be anything other than ourselves.

(When we die our Facebook us’s keep on living.  Is that me?  For example, my father died four years ago in June and he unfriended me on Facebook a couple of years after that.  He is virtually still alive, however he is physically dead.  I don’t know if he sleeps anymore.  I cannot visit his grave because my reality does not understand this sort of paradox.  Social media creates dead and living zombies right now.  Imagine.)

So, yes, back to the beginning, you will never get out of debt or own your own home, responsibly–without insane lenders and bad deals, if you keep this up.  That is what I tell myself and then avoiding those distractions becomes very easy for me. You as in me.

Forget your likes, upvotes, retweets, highlights from whatever years ago, virtual memories, Facebook lives, and other people’s selfies, they evoke no artistic value whatsoever (or maybe they do: this mini-essay tho.).  Think about what you owe that credit card company, what you owe in student loans? Try to smile now, make that art, Picasso. Get that photo sing.  Real good job.  Create those American Dreams.

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Words of Motivation: You can’t do it

I was told by a career planning counselor in high school that I would never go to the University of Minnesota; I would never be accepted as a student, there was no chance, I wasn’t smart enough, impossible… Well, I went there, and now, I go there most days. You see, I used to hear it a lot: “you can’t” or “don’t try” or “you just don’t have it in you”, or some other rejection letter or email or comment or slight. I think getting that sort of motivation is great. The naysayers, the haters, they actually inspire more than anyone or anything else. Being told that you don’t have the ability makes a person want to find the ability. I was rejected 22 times before I found what I actually wanted to do, again, after doing it. This was over the span of two years. Three times out of the 22 times I made it initially to be rejected twice more. (This doesn’t include two community colleges, a degree, and seven years of endless tests, quizzes, applications, and papers.)  The last time I tried I knew it was the last time or else I try again. As they say, persistence beats out talent in time eventually. I’ll take that. Add in some sentiment about my inability to do something and it will happen sooner, guaranteed. I bet you can’t do it either. You shouldn’t event try, it’s not in you.

Things I notice when I think

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A refreshing beverage to help me unwind 

1.) Group think is much easier than having an individual abstract thought that is different than what the majority thinks.  If we all just agreed then there would be no argument, ever.  And making all of the arguments that we don’t agree with out to be wrong or bad or misguided makes our point more relevant and digestible to us.  I remember in elementary school where being different was unique or a good thing, now it’s just not falling in line.

2.)  Occupy Wall Street was a good movement, perhaps.  It included all the poor class(es) perhaps.  It was against the upper class perhaps.  It did not divide the poor individuals by race, gender, nationality, or creed, perhaps.  It was the 99% against the 1% perhaps.  That’s America mothertrucker!  Alas, the 1% own the media; the media stopped covering the Occupy Movement, now they tell us things like flamethrowers are for peace, so is punching, perhaps.

3.)  Most people have passionate feelings about Trump, though they have never met him in person… So they don’t know him from Adam, aside for what certain secondhand accounts paints him.  That is more weird than Trump himself.  I don’t know you, someone who doesn’t know describes you to me, I know everything about you apparently from what they tell me about you: same thing.  I don’t believe in polls.  I don’t believe in advertisements.  I believe in empirical experience.  Did I see it?  Most people have strong opinions of Trump and they have never met Trump.  He is an easy distraction.  He is easy to dislike, perhaps a group thought.

4.)  While all are fighting to protect everything they hold near and dear– identities, everyone else’s identities, rights, freedoms, livelihoods, neighborhoods, peace, and jobs, by fighting–demonstrators are out there doing what they say they are against.  Ideology is an important aspect of any movement, I once thought.  Not really sure.  These actions disenfranchise all of our rights.  These actions put our freedoms at more danger than anything.

5.)  People are crazy.  Ever watch a garden grow into a salad?  Ever mow the grass and see it come back again the same?  Ever watch a sun set on a Sunday?  The news should be on this stuff.  I have never been to North Korea, that place is fine with me.  I have never been to Russia–I have met a russian, all that is fine with me.  It’s all good.  Crazy people assume a stance given to them by the very people they dislike and go with it, even if it doesn’t work a million times over.

6.) These are just things I notice when I think.  I am defending and denouncing no one.  I am merely positing abstract thought to think about.  No need to take it as fact or persuasion.  I think thinking is good.  I think having different ideas and questioning conventional-now wisdom is a fantastic practice, and healthy.  Why not ask why the sky is blue, or why the earth is round, or why global warming is going to drown us all?  Think about it…  Texas Toast doesn’t have to be made in Texas to be called Texas Toast.

…actually, you “have” to…

If I told you you didn’t “have” to do anything,
would you believe me?

Submit your answers in the comment section below.

How to Not Tell Lies: Puff In The Land Of Living Lies

When I was little, my mother introduced me to the importance of Puff the Magic Dragon, and the what-now-seem-s0-obvious lessons he spoke about.  I will never forget what I learned from this animated series, and the narrator of it all, Puff the Magic Dragon.  Learn how to not tell lies in this wonderful children’s classic.  Enjoy.

What I learned in College (Fall Semester 2014)

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Day One of Winter Break, I look back and think on this past semester. Fall 2014 was nothing short of interesting, trying, and above all, eye opening/mind expanding (whatever cliché). There was copious reading and unfollowed syllabi. One comes into contact with fliers on the walls of buildings; peers, scholars, and professors. A person can see groups talking in the mall in the sun one moment, and then weeks later, few huddled bipedals running bundled for warmth on sidewalks, and into halls. Minneapolis is as diverse in weather as it is in people.

The classes were four in number, and somewhat different; each offering a unique perspective on relevant, and mostly interesting topics- though Hamlet is still ubiquitous and rampant at the U of M campus (I am not sure if this is good or bad). I took part in a Science Fiction course which focused on social critique, a Film course which focused on gender, a non-linear Deutsch course which focused on focusing on the syllabus, tentatively, and acting, and talking, and projects which come with that, and of course tangents. I found solace in reading, in its entirety, Moby-Dick. This American Literature 1 course was enduring, yet all the same rewarding. And again, this entire experience did not come without the most important part, the people one connects with.

University is great for connecting with people. I came into contact with real-life actors, monomaniacal professors obsessed with Melville, and their TAs who wear low-cut shirts and gave smiles over discussions of hangovers. I met a professor named Craig who was the most loving, and caring woman; more open and honest than the average person outside of their homes. Moreover, I had a professor who gave me 65 percent on a paper, a fucking D, the first since high school, and it was deservedly. Examples of people I connected with, there were a million: AV a boy who carried his works in a backgammon case, Theresa who was a non-traditional student and would tell you that fact numerous times, but was as youthful as anyone my age, K, B, and D and everyone in German (H,H,…) anyone I forgot; all of these people were special and amazing and scholars in their own right. We took something from one another; student from teacher, teacher from student; student from student, etc.

These people appreciated like wine; ever getting better, and more seasoned. I can see vividly the situation where a human being is that, a human being. At 8 am in the morning we are all the same; we crawl from the warm womb of our beds to look into the mirror and judge ourselves, as we hope others won’t. We all have to get outside today, things to do. Whenever a project, assignment, quiz, or test came up, as a thorough student, I realized that the person on the other end was actually a person indeed. Writing in small letters would make it more difficult to grade, same as showing late would fuck up the flow of the lecture. I learned that that person had shit days, and had good days too. I was shown that no one is perfect, or always on time, or always smiling every second of the day. College enlightens humanity by showing examples of humanity. My experience was more personal than a letter grade.

What college has done for me so far is opened my eyes to new and unknown concepts. Even if I am reading and writing on subjects which have been read and written on a millions times over, I am doing something unknown and new. No moment is exactly the same as the moment before, even with all of the same parts involved. These parts are the people. I met people of interest, people from different and varying backgrounds; those people who took the challenge of academia as I did. We became parts of this semester, of this time, of this progressive movement called education, this system of grades and titles, and hellos and handshakes.

I think back to sitting in Walter Library every Monday at around noon talking to a friend. I would eat Cheerios out of a repurposed Talenti jar. We would discuss language, relationships, and the week ahead. We met once a week, it almost reminded me of seeing a therapist, this real-life person, with real-life opinions, sharing an honest and open real-life discussion over the things, any, which came to mind. There was no agenda, there never has been. That’s life. We walk guided by invisible strings. I sat and munched Cheerios and smiled and tried to focus on the person directly in front of me. Even the ceiling and walls offered a story. I would say, see you next week, and without text, without call, without social media, no convolution, it was so, like clockwork.

Now, looking back, I see a tinge more clearly of everyday life. The mind is a camera which captures and records. After each semester at the University I take something away, and I have left a bit heavy-hearted, and less and more of myself. I wonder: would I see these people again? Would I ever sit in the same spot with the same group with the same ideas with the same professor, words, ideology, and mindset? No. I do not think so. But now I can look back and take with me what I’ve gained. What I have gained is experienced learned. What I have learned is that we must all learn from those around us, and teach others as if they are learning too.