Thursday, March 27, 2014

Grand Revelations

I've been out and about again.  This time, a return trip to Arizona, visiting my sister and her mom.  We did some more cooking and discussing of health and care taking, but I also got the opportunity to take a little vacation.  At the end of my time in Phoenix, Harry came for a visit.  Now, for him to leave Chicago, get on a  plane, and visit a completely new place is a big deal.  Luckily all went smoothly and I picked him up at the airport, knocked out, and woke up to 80 degree weather.  I really did cheat the terrible winter here in Chicago.  What a butt I am!  And so began our adventure!

Antelope Canyon, Page, AZ

Antelope Canyon "Monument Valley Sunrise" Page, AZ

Exiting Antelope Canyon

Hot Air Balloon ride!!

View from the top

Taking it all in
Pictures can never capture this place

That's a really big hole

When you stand in a majestic place like Antelope Canyon, or look out onto the vast expanse and mentally incomprehensible grandness of the Grand Canyon you feel alive.  Really alive.  And you have thoughts.  The existential side within all of us is beckoned to the forefront of our minds, and we consider our mortality.  Pair these beautiful places with a night out away from the lights looking at the truly unimaginable infinity of space and stars and other galaxies, and you have an inevitable dissatisfaction with the problems you've been having back home.  Imagine that, a dissatisfaction with our recent dissatisfaction.  Looking out into true nature, you realize how fabricated the city life is, in my case city, in your case maybe suburban or rural.

The society we choose to live in, or have been brought up in, affects us.  It is inevitable and part of being human.  As social creatures, we are made to adjust to our social surroundings, and our tribe or community culture is a huge part of crafting our thoughts, behaviors, and personalities.  The culture I have been raised on is East Coast American.  Now I'm in Chicago, which is more laid back than what I'm used to, but it still upholds most of the same cultural expectations, of which there are too many for me to name here in a post of reasonable length.  I'm sure you can get the gist of it though.  The stereotypical stuff: high efficiency, material beauty, possessing much stuff, being busy, working hard, being tight on time, chronic high stress, etc.  These are valued by my culture.  Happiness, not so much.  It's valued, but it falls below the above list.  Why?  It is told to us, through media etc. that happiness will come when we are better at the above list.

Some cultures, like Brazil, value time to relax and be with family and friends.  Even much of western Europe, our brother economies regarding efficiency and growth, encourage much more family time and vacation time than we do.  One might argue that Brazil's economy is not as strong as ours.  They don't have as much impact on the world as we do.  They are happier than us, but so what!  Our GDP is more impressive and eventually we will be happier than anyone!!  Welp, that's just not the case.  I'd rather be happy.  Would you?  I'd rather have more vacation time, more time with my family, less stress, and die with a smile on my face.

My options: leave this godforsaken place and move to a country that places greater value on happiness or stay and make a difference.  I have been on a constant hunt for a new home.  A country that will support the life I want to live.  That was my old plan.  Leave.  Ditch.  But my new plan, as I've grown up and learned more about how the world works. is to stay and fight the good fight.  Things don't change when people give up.  They change when people care.  I'm here to make the change I can make and teach people how to create a new culture in this community.  A culture where people value happiness and understand how to attain it in a positive way.

Are you planning to ditch, give up, or stop caring?  Complain your day away?  Or are you planning to do what YOU can do to make this culture a happier one.  Vote with your demands.  The more employees who demand more time off and more flexibility etc. the more businesses will HAVE to resect it.  It's already changing as my generation moves into the workforce.  If businesses want to retain their employees they are having to change their expectations of employee personal sacrifice.

Cheers to that!

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