This one is not about running.

I think a lot during a morning run. I try to push work aside and hash out any other messes playing around in my brain. Lately, my thoughts have been on the material excess of humans. I try to leave all of this out on the run. Today, it just didn’t work out. Maybe it’s the photos of Sandy’s devastation in the northeast. Maybe it’s this article that I should not have opened highlighting the extravagance of the 1 percent. (It actually made me sick.) Or perhaps it’s something as simple as withdrawals from my cold turkey avoidance of sugar at the worst possible time of year to avoid sweets. Whatever the cause may be, something has put me in a glum mood toward the human condition. Feel free to stop reading here. You’ll probably be offended.

“Politics.”

A friend once mentioned that there are a lot of 30,000 dollar millionaires in our generation. I have to agree. Though, I don’t place this burden entirely on our generation. (For readers who do not know me personally, I was born in ’83.) It makes me nauseous to read and listen to people complaining about the state of the economy. People are so quick to blame A president. “A” refers to one, singular, one person causing all our problems. Is this a joke? Here’s a crazy news flash: The technical recession lasted from 2007-2009. That’s 2 presidential terms, 2 different houses, 2 different cabinets. So, let’s put politics aside. I have some questions for you:

Are you upset because you don’t have the most expensive designer bag this season?

Are you angry because Joe Schmo has a boat, pool, private jet, or ______ and you don’t?

Do you really need a room in your house for every kid, dog, ferret, and taxidermy giraffe?

One for me–>Do you wish you had a lap pool in your backyard?

Dreamy.

These items are all excessive–fun, arguably useful–EXCESSIVE. Do not get me wrong. If you work hard for your money, you have every right to spend it how you please. This is a blog containing my observations, my opinions. I have written it for my own self improvement more than anything else. I don’t appreciate greed. This is what bothers me. Industrial nations are wrought with excess. We are surrounded by too much food and foodlike products. We can borrow money to purchase anything, including, but not limited to, the aforementioned taxidermy giraffe. We pay for vacations, TVs, cars, alcohol, etc. with government subsidies. We mold technological advancements to meet our creature comforts rather than our survival needs.

Our goal with all of this spending is…I HAVE NOT A CLUE. What is our goal? This freaks me out. I can’t figure out the aim of industrialized human populations. It’s not survival. I’m sure my good friend, fellow triathlete, and life science historian has an eloquent counter to the previous statement. After all, I’m being a bit rash in stating that a portion of the human race is no longer concerned with survival. We are. We have to be. Primally, it’s all we know how to do.

But…

Stuff.

Why do we hoard material things? Are we hoarding hunting and foraging tools? Are we hoarding our winter’s supply of food? Are we hoarding books to implement and avoid the successes and follies of our ancestors, respectively. Nope. We collect diseases from improper nutrition. We collect prescriptions to treat the side effects of other prescriptions. We collect houses, cars, gadgets, gizmos, thingamabobs, “but who cares, no big deal, [we] want mooooooore.” (The Little Mermaid 1989).

We collect debt. We get mad. Then, we blame someone else. We have to start taking responsibility. We cannot take partial responsibility. That’s too easy. We have to take full responsibility. There are things we actually need and things that we want. I stand by the old saying, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”

“Help.”

In changing ourselves and our country to be a strong nation with minds bent toward preserving humanity, ask yourself a question:

‘What is it that I really need?’

I’ll give you a hint. You don’t need a taxidermy giraffe.

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5 thoughts on “This one is not about running.

  1. Sara says:

    Hmmm…I love this one. Where to start?

    First, the $30,000 millionaires of our generation infuriate me too. So you have the brand new LV bag and drive and Escalade…good for you, too bad you still owe $100,000 in student loans and you had to finance that spiffy car at 15% interest because your credit it so bad. BLOWS MY MIND.

    As far as our instinct or goal not to be geared toward survival, and whether you agree with his theory or not, can be shown in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Being in an industrialized nation provides that our Physiological and Safety needs have been met, so we focus on Love, Esteem, and Self-Actualization.

    Also, part this is exactly what fuels our economy. No, I don’t have a garden and can my own food, but I have a job in which I provide a service for someone, which in turn gives me the income to purchase the canned food from someone who is probably better and more efficient at it than I am. It should all go full circle. Yes, the taxidermy giraffe is stupid, but whoever purchased it gave money to someone for their service, and so on, and so on.

    For those reasons, it doesn’t necessarily bother me when wealthy people have “stuff”. My thought is, if you’ve worked your butt off for it, then by gosh, put in that lap pool…heck, have a special floaty built for the taxidermy giraffe so that it can be in the pool with you. The issue I take with it, however, is when wealth is seen as a reward, and not as a responsibility. I see wealth as a blessing that is to be shared to help bless others.

    But there in lies the entire problem, and basically my entire comment on your post. The reason our society has become what it has, is because we’ve lost focus on why we’re here…to serve God and others. The Hierarchy of Needs is probably correct, but pathetically so. The focus should not be on ourselves, but on Christ and what His purpose for us is in this world. We shouldn’t depend on the government to take care of us or others….we should be taking care of one another.

  2. . says:

    I like that…wealth is a responsibility not a reward. This is very true. And we should have compassion toward others. We should care for one another, not just as a responsibility, but because we are driven toward cooperation. We grew as a group and we will fall as a group too. I don’t think people realize this as much. Again, as I mention in the blog, greed bothers me. Greed drives people to madness. It is so empty.
    Loving others though, while it can get you down at times, will not leave you empty.
    Thanks for the thought-provoking comment.

  3. Gavin. says:

    Loved it loved it loved it!!!!! Well said!!!! What more can i say….Just came back from a 12k tempo run & I’m happy as Larry……But…….it wasn’t as fast as I would have liked….It was !@#$% fault………….Smirks :o)

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